Just because you’re a senior doesn’t mean that you have to only socialize with seniors! Do you find yourself doing only activities that involve other like-minded seniors? Do you feel as though your social life and activity schedule is trapped in a certain age demographic? In fact, having an active social life that is more “intergenerational” can give your life an added boost and balance. Finding ways to involve individuals who are younger and older than your typical peer group may be just what you need to spice things up!
A great way to create some multi-generational energy in your life is to take a class-and not a class at your favorite senior center. Consider taking a college class or a community education class from your nearby community college. The great thing about community or junior colleges is that you can generally take classes at a really affordable price. If you are auditing, or not going for a grade, you may even be able to take it even cheaper (or possibly free). A class will give you a ready-made experience with a variety of individuals-many much younger than the people you may be used to “hanging with.” You may make some good friends, or at least find yourself exposed to some different energy.
Also, don’t overlook your family as a great resource for multi-generational socializing. When was the last time you went out to lunch with your grandchildren or went to a movie with a grandchild and one of their friends? Doing things in packs of 2 or 3 generations can be especially stimulating-it’s fun to see how different and how similar perspectives and attitudes are when you move outside a ten-year age range.
Consider doing some volunteer work. Volunteering is such a fabulous way to expand your social circle, while you’re doing something positive for your community. And, volunteering is a great way to meet and mingle with individuals from different backgrounds and age demographics. If you aren’t sure where you’d like to volunteer, try checking in with your local United Way. Most United Way offices maintain a volunteer database and help individuals and community organizations and agencies find matches.
Finally, read your local paper and look for interesting activities that are not necessarily geared toward a senior population-art gallery openings, book clubs and groups, poetry readings, musical performances. All of these offer the opportunity to mix and mingle with a variety of individuals and ages. You might take a friend (or child or grandchild) with you for moral support, but branching outside of your activity comfort zone is bound to bring a little multi-generational energy into your social life.