Chances are if you’re an older adult, you’ve had to cope with the loss of someone close to you. It may be the loss of a parent, the death of a spouse or the loss of dear friends. From graduations to honeymoons to nights full of joy and laughter, each left an indelible mark on your life and their absence can lead to feelings of profound sadness, grief and loneliness. The loved ones you surround yourself with give your life purpose. Without them, it can be much harder to find.
That’s why it’s so important, especially as an older adult, to be part of a community that provides meaning, deep connections and a sense of belonging. All are shown to have numerous physical and mental health benefits, especially when coping with the loss of a loved one. Living in community is also one the best ways to combat senior isolation and loneliness so you can live your fullest, most vibrant life. Struggling to find community and purpose after a recent loss of a loved one? These five tips can help.
1. Be creative
When grieving the loss of a loved one, there’s much satisfaction to be found in creating something from scratch, whether it be painting a watercolor or building a birdhouse. Even if you feel you don’t have the skill or talent, just the act of creation can help cultivate a curiosity and joy and keep your body and mind active. Creating can also be a powerful tool for expressing your grief and remembering the ones you love through activities like putting together a photo album of memories or cooking their favorite dishes.
2. Stay active
It can be difficult to imagine going about your regular activities without your loved one by your side. Yet, maintaining a routine of practices you enjoy like yoga, walking or gardening can give you a reason to get out of bed and out your front door each morning. Active living can also have many life-changing benefits that encompass the five dimensions of wellness—physical, intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual.
3. Explore hobbies
It can be easy to feel guilty for wanting to do the things that make you happy after a recent loss. It’s important to remember, though, that you can give yourself permission to pursue your passions. Grieving the loss of a loved one can hold you in place and keep you from the fulfilled life you deserve. Give yourself time and space to heal, but also explore your interests and find renewed purpose in enjoying the hobbies, old and new, that excite you.
4. Get involved
Losing a loved one can make you feel disoriented and like you’ve lost a sense of purpose. Serving others by volunteering your time to local organizations is a powerful way to find purpose by becoming a valuable member of your community. Consider your talents, experience and what you enjoy. Maybe after school tutors are needed at the local school or ushers at your favorite concert hall. Volunteering is a rewarding and fulfilling experience, and a great way to honor and contribute to the groups and organizations that were close to the hearts of loved ones you’ve lost.
5. Seek relationships
You’ve spent decades forming strong, deep relationships with the ones you love. That makes losing them that much more difficult to bear. As a senior, it can also feel like you’re past the time of starting new relationships and putting yourself out there wouldn’t be worth the trouble. Here’s the thing: there are many lonely older adults like you in need of a friend to lean on and celebrate life’s joys with. Invite your neighbor on a walk, join the local church choir or try dating after the loss of a spouse and you’ll soon discover that there’s no age limit on building genuine human connections.
Five Star Senior Living: Where Helping You Find Your Purpose is Our Passion
You shouldn’t have to cope with losing a loved one alone. At Five Star, you’re surrounded by friends and neighbors who have been through the same struggles and can help walk alongside you on the hard days, as well as celebrating the good ones. Our innovative LifeStyle360 wellness program also offers plenty of opportunities for residents to explore hobbies old and new, be creative, and keep their mind and body active. Find a community near you to learn more about Five Star offers a vibrant, fulfilled life full of friends who become family.