Open Accessibility Menu
How to Combat Isolation in Retirement

How to Combat Isolation in Retirement

Silver Ridge Recovery

Retirement is the result of decades of work, and many Americans count down the days until they can retire and spend their time doing the things they’ve always wanted to do. But retirement isn’t always the bed of roses retirees dream of. In fact, the American Institute of Stress ranks retirement as number 10 among the 43 most stressful life events.

For some people, retirement marks the beginning of a decline in health and negative changes in self-identity. Losing daily contact with co-workers and the sense of purpose and meaning that comes with working can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. This seclusion puts seniors at a higher risk for substance abuse and substance use disorders.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, isolation and loneliness can interfere with a person’s ability to regulate emotions, and it can lead to distorted self-perception. Isolation can make it more difficult to control habits and behaviors. Isolation and loneliness often lead to self-destructive habits, including substance abuse, an unhealthy diet and poor sleep habits.

It’s critical to combat isolation and loneliness in retirement for health, happiness and well-being.

Four Key Elements of an Enjoyable Retirement

A 40-year study of aging issues by Harvard Medical School has led researchers to identify four key factors that make retirement enjoyable and rewarding.

  1. A new social network: When you retire from a job, you also retire from daily interactions with colleagues and friends, and this can lead to loneliness. Establishing a new social network is essential to combat isolation in retirement and increase your happiness and enjoyment in life. One of the best ways to develop a new social network is to get involved in the community through hobbies, volunteering and other activities.

  2. Hobbies: Engaging in hobbies is important to combat isolation and loneliness in retirement. Hobbies improve your life satisfaction and help you establish new friendships. Activities like golfing, ballroom dancing, art making and exercise classes open the door to new relationships and keep retirees active and engaged in the community.

  3. Creativity: Nurturing creativity has been shown to improve brain health, social functioning, self-awareness, and overall life satisfaction. Taking up painting, sewing, photography, writing, gardening, music, dance or any of the other endless possibilities for creative expression can go a long way to combat isolation and loneliness. Nurturing your creativity improves your mood, increases self-esteem and helps you develop a new social network.

  4. Learning: Ongoing learning in retirement keeps your brain healthy and active, and it can help to stave off memory loss, depression and dementia. It also provides opportunities for meeting new people. Consider taking a language course, music lessons, or classes that interest you at the local university or community college.

Retirement is a Process

Retirement, according to the Harvard study, is less an event and more a process. It’s a major life transition that brings about environmental changes that affect health behaviors, social interactions and identity. Filling your time with old and new activities that you enjoy and actively pursuing a new social network will promote good health and a higher quality of life as well as dramatically reduce your risk of developing a substance use disorder down the road.

References:

  1. https://www.stress.org/holmes-rahe-stress-inventory/
  2. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/the_lonely_society_report.pdf
  3. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/is-retirement-good-for-health-or-bad-for-it-201212105625
    Categories:

    Focus, Healing, and Recovery

    Life at Silver Ridge is purposely designed to provide the safest and most restorative healing environment on the East Coast. If you would like to learn more about Silver Ridge or begin addiction treatment today, please call (855) 945-7788 or fill out the form and one of our admissions staff will be in touch with you soon.

    • Please enter your First Name.
    • Please enter your Last Name.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
      Please enter your phone number.
      You entered an invalid number.
    • This isn't a valid email address.
      Please enter your email address.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Sivermist
      Sivermist Sivermist

      Offering luxury residential treatment at a private residence in rural southwestern Pennsylvania.

    • REAL Recovery
      REAL Recovery REAL Recovery

      Providing high-quality, adventure-based and personalized care with four sober homes for men ages 18-28 in Asheville, North Carolina.

    • High Focus Centers
      High Focus Centers High Focus Centers

      The premier provider of structured outpatient behavioral health and addiction treatment programs in New Jersey.

    • Rehab After Work
      Rehab After Work Rehab After Work

      The leading provider of outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs in Pennsylvania.

    • Pyramid Healthcare Inc
      Pyramid Healthcare Inc Pyramid Healthcare Inc

      A premier provider of behavioral healthcare founded in 1999 offering a full continuum of recovery services for adults and teens at 24 locations in PA.

    • The light program
      The light program The light program

      Treating individuals in crisis or struggling to function through mental health Intensive Outpatient programs at locations in southeastern Pennsylvania.

    • Seeds of hope
      Seeds of hope Seeds of hope

      Providing specialized Intensive Outpatient eating disorder treatment for teens and adults in southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

    • Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP
      Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP

      Providing comprehensive Employee Assistance Program services to employers nationwide.

    • Mazzitti & Sullivan
      Mazzitti & Sullivan Mazzitti & Sullivan

      Providing behavioral health services in central Pennsylvania since 1983, now operating five different locations.

    • Tapestry
      Tapestry Tapestry

      Tapestry Eating Disorder Treatment Centers

    • Pyramid Family Behavioral Healthcare
      Pyramid Family Behavioral Healthcare Pyramid Family Behavioral Healthcare

      Serving the Atlanta, Georgia area adolescents and adults suffering from Mood Disorders.

    • October Road Inc
      October Road Inc October Road Inc

      Serving the Asheville, North Carolina area with high-quality mental health and substance abuse treatment since 2006.

    • Walden
      Walden Walden

      Offering treatment & support options in Southern Maryland for those struggling with addiction and mental health.