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Social Well-being

It’s all very well to provide good physical and mental care for very elderly seniors, but who’s paying attention to their social well-being? And what’s the role for active young seniors and their communities, where frail and marginalized seniors live? No matter where an older adult lives, it seems to me that we as a society need to care not only about their bodies and minds, but also the social aspects of their being.

Even though we humans are social beings and genetically programmed to give and receive help, many of us are reluctant to ask for it when we need it. Why is this, and how can we get good at asking for assistance, whether caring for an aging parent or spouse, needing care ourselves, or tackling a difficult project.

I so enjoyed an afternoon of conversation recently. Four of us sat together at a small table at a community event and just talked and talked, for the pure pleasure of it. It didn’t matter that I was the relative newbie (the three of them already knew each other). By the end of the afternoon we had gotten to know each other better, and a warm sense of belonging filled my soul.  

Do you have fun and pleasure in your life? Something you look forward to? Gets rid of stress? Gives you joy and focus? Gets your mind off your troubles? If you do, you probably have a hobby! A very busy person once told me she was learning to play the violin in the evening to wind down, instead of having a drink and watching TV. That hobby suited her well, because she could do it on her own time and it fit her interest and personality.

I was shocked, then puzzled, and finally saddened when a young man lied to me. I was networking at a business function and was asking him about the kind of retirement readiness offered by the large business he worked for. I’m particularly interested in people having purpose and meaning in their lives after retirement, so I was curious to know if anything more than financial planning was offered.