10 Opportunities for Socialization

Socialization is important to your quality of you life, especially as we age. Here are 10 tips for socialization and new friendships for baby boomers.

10 Opportunities for Socialization

Socialization is important to your quality of life, especially as we age. Some studies say it’s important in our length of life as well as quality of life. Socialization is important  to your physical and mental well being.

We are not only talking about singles meeting people but couples also need socialization and outside friendships.  It is healthy for the marriage. You don’t have to be retired either to benefit from these socialization tips.

So you see the need for socialization, but how do you do it, especially if  you are not in the workplace anymore, the usual source of many friendships.

So I researched some ideas and then asked my Facebook friends to add to the list. Below is our group sourced list of socialization opportunities.

10 Socialization Opportunities

1. Churches – Phil, Betty Jane and a number of people mentioned church. Churches are a main source of socialization opportunities throughout life. Many churches have senior and single group  activities like pot luck dinners and  field trips. Betty Jane says: Bible Study Fellowship is a worldwide organization with classes that encourage discussions and participation.

2. Volunteering – my wife volunteers at the hospital and she has become friends with both the employees and other volunteers. She joined the auxiliary committee  and they started having lunch meetings to discuss activities and then continued with social lunches. Now she frequently has lunch with another lady volunteer she has become friends with.  Randy says: A lot of nonprofits and charities need all kinds of help. You can help out and make friends too. Kathy suggests volunteering too.  Resources: AARP Volunteer  and VolunteerMatch  are good places to start. Or your local hospital or senior center needs volunteers.

3. Senior Centers – They are absolutely great for socialization with all the programs and activities with friendly people.  There are a huge selection of activities for seniors that you can enjoy with others.  For the more active, try to find an “active adult” center.  Resources: See activities at senior centers.

4. Hobbies – Whatever hobby you  have or want to start, there is usually a local group of people who have a passion for the same hobby.  Attend local meetings,  shows and conventions.  The group  will need members to help with activities and this a great way to meet people.

5. Clubs – Donna says: Check to see if there is a club for your favorite activity in the area. You’ll automatically have something in common with the other members. Book clubs are popular.  Dance Clubs – Every larger metro area has people who like to dance. Take dance lessons and you will meet others who like dancing. Attend the dances and enjoy meeting the friendly people and you may turn into a regular dance club member. We are members of a dance club that meets every Saturday at 7pm. Resources: Meetup.com, just Goggle for your city + activity + club.

6. Sports

  • A.  Sports events – A group of us have attended the Petit LeMans Race at Road Atlanta every year for the last 5 years. We look forward to this very much and start talking about it a few months before, buying tickets, checking out web sites, discussing etc. This could be a football, basketball, soccer or other games.
  • B. Gym / Health Club – Phil says he has a group of regulars that he sees and visits with at the health club. A health club can be a social event as much as an exercise opportunity.
  • C. Sports team participation – Join a bowling team, bocce ball team, golf team, walking club, even Wii-games.
golden games
Golden Games

The senior games or senior Olympics are great because they have something for everyone and will assign you to a team if needed. I participated last year and went to the awards banquet. We had so much fun getting our gold medal for bocce ball in the beginners level.

7. Move to a Retirement Community – New friendships can easily be made at retirement communities which have programs and activities to  encourage socializing, especially at active adult communities.

8. Life long learning – classes of any type stimulate your mind as well as having interaction with fellow students and teachers. Betty Jane says continuing ed classes at your local college. Also I have taken classes at the senior center.

9. Breakfast meetings – senior groups meet at McDonalds or other local restaurants, even some grocery store cafes and other places.  Larry attends the morning meetings of regulars at McDonalds.

10. YMCA – Kaye suggest this. I think your local YMCA is worth a visit and tour what’s available. These days the YMCA is very modern and resourceful.

Bonus tip: Part time jobs – work has always been the number one provider of friendships and part time work can too.

If you have any additional socialization tips, please note in the comment section below.

Thanks to Facebook friends for their suggestions for this list: Donna Hull, Kathy Woods, Randy Mitchell, Betty Jane West Reese, Kaye Swain, Phil Miller, Ann Hearn, Robin Murray, Duane Lane Smith, Larry Wehunt

Originally posted 2014-01-05 16:48:12.

Cruising for Boomers

Baby boomers are replacing seniors on cruise ships as the cruising experience changes to suit their taste and they get more free time to travel. More and more my fellow cruise passengers are around my age 63. Ten years ago the cruisers were a lot older than me.

As boomers retire they have more time to take a cruise but most of the boomers I talked with on a recent cruise are repeat cruisers. The cruise lines have plenty of ships and would like to keep boomers cruising and attract new boomer cruisers. To do so they are making changes in the cruise experience that are attractive to boomers.

As a frequent cruiser here are some of the changes I have noticed.

Baby boomers are replacing seniors on cruise ships as the cruising experience changes to suit their taste and they get more free time to travel.  More and more my fellow cruise passengers are around my age 63.   Ten years ago the cruisers were a lot older than me.

As boomers retire they have more time to take a cruise but most of the boomers I talked with on a recent cruise are repeat cruisers.   The cruise lines have plenty of ships and would like to keep boomers cruising and attract new boomer cruisers.  To do so they are making changes in the cruise experience that are attractive to boomers.

As a frequent cruiser here are some of the changes I have noticed.

1. More Casual Dining – The buffet is more like traditional dining with drink waiters, white table cloths and a more settled feeling like in the formal dining.  Same food is severed as in the formal dining room.  But the big change is in the 24 hour international cafe in the piazza in the center ship that serves pastries, sandwiches and salads, soup for and quick but tasty lunch.  Alongside the cafe is the gourmet coffee shop.  Boomers like casual and fast.

2. More Learning Opportunities – Classes at Sea with lectures on several subjects from experienced people.   On a recent cruise we had a naturalist giving lectures each day on volcanoes, sea mapping and types of ocean waves.  Also a former U-2 pilot had a lot of interest in his talks about military intelligence history.   A cultural presentation by a museum director was given.

3.  More Active – On the ship the dance classes were well attended as well as Zumba and other exercise classes.  The Olympics drew a good crowd trying out a different activity each day.  Then there were yoga, massages and a walking club.

4.  Boomer Entertainment –  Street entertainment in the center ship Piazza was nice.  Movies under the stars and countless other activities.  The comdey was geared more toward boomers I noticed.

5. Active Off Ship Excursions –  Hikes in the rain forest,   snorkel trips, helicopter tours, and ATV riding were some of the move active ones.

Interesting that learning and staying active is becoming a mainstay of cruising just as with the active adult communities.  You have heard the idea of just retiring to a cruise ship; well that may not be such a far fetch idea after all.

Originally posted 2011-11-02 16:51:36.

Boomers Doing the Zumba Dance at Active Adult Centers

Zumba Gold is a fun workout for anyone, any age, any ability and Zumba Gold was created for the older active adult . It combines Latin and international music with a safe and effective workout system creating a dance workout with a party like atmosphere! Come check out the hottest fitness party in town!

I could see from my upstairs home office the UPS delivery truck was in the driveway when I heard our door bell ring.  I jumped up to get the door but my wife Mary Ann was already in the foyer.  I will get it, it is for me said Mary Ann enthusiastically.  This is not our normal deal, the one where Mary Ann answers the phone and I answer the door.

Later I come downstairs to have a cup of tea and see Mary Ann has unpacked the contents of the mystery package which was delivered.  It is  dance shoes.  She has tried them on and walking around to break them in.  She even does a little dance step routine on our new hardwood floor in the family room.  She is excited.  They fit good and look good (see photo).  I didn’t even know there was such a thing as dance shoes.

The week before we visited our new Johns Creek Active Adult Center and Mary Ann signed up for the Zumba Gold class, a six week session meeting every Tuesday.  Zumba, the brochure says, “is a fun workout for anyone, any age, any ability and Zumba Gold was created for the older active adult .  It combines Latin and international music with a safe and effective workout system creating a dance workout with a party like atmosphere!  Come check out the hottest fitness party in town!”

She attended the first class and came home pretty much exhausted and excited about the class. She said she couldn’t believe how stiff she was. (I think this class will remedy that!).   But this is going to be fun exercise that you look forward to doing.

There was about 10 other dance members. The age is 62 plus. She talked with another lady in the class who said she plans to come back next week also.  The instructor told the attendees about how “dance shoes” would make it so much better for them than using gym shoes, thus the package.

Mary Ann’s dance class is a good example of the purpose  of Active Adult Centers and that is to get you up and active and doing something fun with potentially new friends.  Meanwhile I am looking over the schedule of active adult programs and activities to see what interests me.  So far the walking club and the book club look good.

If you haven’t been to an Active Adult Center you need to find one in your neighborhood and check it out.  You may be glad you did, just like Mary Ann did.

Originally posted 2011-08-17 10:20:45.

Boomers: Have You Considered Doing Some Writing?

Have you considered doing some writing?

Baby Boomers are doing more writing these days.  Writing is good for the soul.  Remember as a kid how exciting it was to start a diary.  It can be just as exciting to start writing later in life, in fact I have noticed blogging is a favorite boomer activity.  Many people blog to speak from their heart and to get things off their chest.  It’s something therapeutic about setting down at the computer and letting your thoughts flow out into words.  Writing helps to organize your thoughts and you feel like you are building something.

Some boomers use writing to focus on their lives and experiences and to find their purpose.  WorkingBoomer developed the Boomer Story to do exactly that.

Web businesses are turning out to be a favorite of Boomers to earn some income while working from home and doing something they are passionate about for a change.  While web design and SEO are important, content is king.   Writing some or most of your content is a huge plus and is rewarding both emotionally and financially.   You can build a web site with your content and it will be seen and enjoyed by many for a long time.

You discover with a little research, you can write about almost any subject.  Writing often about a particular subject makes you a mini expert which can develop into the expert on the subject.  When you write about a subject, you find yourself reading about the subject.  You learn and then you share through your own writing.   Writing is a way of giving back.

Some people may be natural at writing but anyone can develop their writing skills.   Just start writing, reviewing and rewriting and that is a start.    Writing about something you are passionate about helps.   There are plenty of resources to help you with your writing.   Some books about writing are a big help.   I have acquired two of these books and will get more.  Reading the writing of others helps too.  You will know good writing when you read it.   There are web forums and on-line courses about writing.

I am just starting to write more and eagerly look forward to reading, writing, and sharing.

Originally posted 2011-02-11 17:48:38.

Boomers Turn Age 70

We baby boomers are turning age 70!! Can you believe it?

Boomers have never been this old. How do you act when you are 70?  I submit, just like we did in our 60’s.  No, not the 1960’s, even though I think that would be fun. Nothing has really changed by turning 70, right?

Well yes, a few things are changing. Not over night, but there are signs.

If you have delayed taking your social security, now finally you get to take your full social security check that has been growing.  We thought this day would never come.  Wow, that is going to be nice and well needed for many of us.

Also at age 70 1/2 we must take our RMD, required minimum distributions from our IRA’s.

So we start drawing our social security benefit and we must start taking annual distributions from our IRAs almost at the same time.  Well I think most of us at age 70 are ready for both and have no disagreements with those requirements.

Many boomers vowed never to retire or they couldn’t retire. Guess what, many were forced into retirement because of health reasons or maybe a job layoff.

If you retired in your 60s, then most likely you are now comfortable with your retirement. You have a comfortable routine and do the things you would like to do with your time. Many boomers that are retired, love spending time with their grand children. Some even move across the country to be closer to them.

Around this time (age 70) we or our spouses are dealing with some critical illnesses of some sort, be it diabetes, a stroke, heart attack, mobility problems etc. and we are most likely making room on our schedules for doctor visits.

Most likely a few of our friends have dementia problems starting or maybe advanced. We have two close friends in that boat.

A friend or two most likely has already lost their long time spouse to death.

More than a few of our high school or college school mates have died.

We spend some time on our medicare insurance don’t we.  Donut holes and open enrollments we know well.

Having been involved in recent years with a senior center and now living in a Del Webb Active Adult Community, I have a lot of friends that are in their 70s, thus are older than us older boomers.  Encouragingly lots of them are active, like to travel, have sharp minds and love to socialize.

We will be travelling through out our 70’s and dare I say 80’s. If we have the means, we don’t mind spending it on travel.

Racewalking
Racewalking

Some take up senior games and become senior athletes.

I have noticed now we don’t even mind being called a senior, even though we still don’t refer to ourselves with that title. We don’t mind the senior discounts, do we.

So another chapter in our lives is unfolding and for the most part we seem to be adjusting quite well.

So we have a lot to look forward to. Some of us are moving to active adult communities, or small towns or even to the city for retirement.

The future is not bleak as long as you have a positive attitude, your health and get out and participate in some activities with folks you like.

Even when you have some health problems, a can do positive attitude sure can go a long ways overcoming those obstacles.

They say at age 70 we only have 15 more years to live, on average. Let’s make the most of it.

Originally posted 2016-12-13 21:34:18.

Retirement Activities: Enjoying Your Deck

Great Retirement Activity: Fix up your deck or patio to spend some time enjoying the outdoors.

I know, there are many cliques’ about enjoying the outdoors in your retirement.  The oldest one is about sitting in your rocking chair on your front porch and watching the world go by.  Then there’s the one about stopping to smell the roses.  Well as it turns out, I think there is something to that.

First of all, you finally have the time to spend enjoying the outdoors without being rushed.  Then there’s something refreshing and relaxing about enjoying nature.

There are many wonderful national parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite,  Zion, Smoky Mountain and many others that you will find a good percentage of the visitors are retirees enjoying themselves.  There is even a National Parks Golden Age Passport for those of us age 62 or older. The Golden Age Passport is a lifetime entrance pass to national parks, monuments, historic sites, recreation areas, and national wildlife refuges that charge an entrance fee.  State parks and local parks are nice to visit too.

But today I would to talk about another place to enjoy nature: your deck or patio.  Almost everyone has one and they can be a great place to enjoy fresh air, experience early morning and sunsets, birds and small animals, smells, flowers and trees and all kinds of sounds.

We visited some friends who are renovating a home in Big Canoe, a resort community in the North Georgia mountain and loved their deck and screened porch. See top photo. Talk about wildlife!  We saw turkeys, birds, squirrels and the day before our visit there was a bear seen from the deck.

So lately I decided to fix up our deck a little and spend more time enjoying the outdoors.  First up I ordered some privacy screens off Ebay and put them up on both sides of the deck.  That’s one way to enjoy the deck is to do little projects yourself to fix it up and customize it like you want it.  It takes time but you are outside the whole time.

Next I picked up four patio chairs to replace those ones we have had a long time.

I researched the internet for deck plants and picked up a couple.  Got a plant caddy for the larger one so I can move it to the sun and back to the sitting area when I want to.

Got a bird feeder and installed it on a deck pole with a nice blue bird on top.  I got one with an extended arm that hangs out away from the deck so seeds will not mess things up.

In addition to my large natural gas grill, I have one of  the kettle charcoal types too.  It takes longer but nothing like the real thing.

I am refinishing my old patio chairs and putting them in a seating group at the other end of the deck.  Now one area is always in sun and the other in shade depending on time of day.

Projects still to come are:

I filled the woodpecker holes, hammered down the nails, then used the rest of the wood filler to cover nail holes and some bad knot holes.   This means I will need to stain the deck, but hey I am going to take my time.

A gate at the top of the stairs will be nice so I have been researching that on the Internet.  A gate will serve a few purposes like child safety when the great nephews and nieces visit.  Plus Coke our cat enjoys the deck too where she can sniff the air and watch the birds, but once in a while she decides to make a run for the stairs.  She doesn’t get too far because she only has 3 legs and I can catch her quickly, but I am hoping a gate may keep her on the deck.

I am sure other things will come to mind to keep me busy on the deck but I am learning to stop and take it all in with a fruit juice or cup of coffee in my hand while I learn to “stop and smell the roses”.  Maybe it’s time to venture out to your own deck or patio then do some Internet browsing to see how to improve and enjoy your deck or patio.

Originally posted 2012-07-29 11:17:43.