What gives you joy and satisfaction

Low-energy activities with others

Education and social entertainment

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Avocations you pursue that are relatively low-energy (as opposed to competitive sports, for example) and that you pursue with others generally fall into three categories: volunteering, education, and social entertainment. Volunteering is covered elsewhere in detail, so this page focuses on educational options for those of us in the second half of life, and social entertainment, whether you do this at home (online, or with visitors), in someone else’s home, or out someplace else.

Most of us can maintain these activities at a significant level even when we become quite elderly, provided we continue to reach out to other people - both to make new friends and to keep the ones we already have.

Low-Energy Activities with Others relate to other areas of Avocation:

Low-Energy Activities with Others relate to other areas besides Avocation:

Low-Energy Activities with Others Sub-Topics and Resources

“Lifelong learning” is the current catchphrase for a goal that suits many people in the second half of their lives. We seek learning, at times, for specific purposes, and at other times just to explore, to expand our horizons, to keep our minds sharp, to challenge ourselves, and to introduce us to new and interesting people as well as to new areas of interest that might unexpectedly catch hold of our imagination.

You should consider learning opportunities that are not “just for seniors,” because this will help keep you connected to a more diverse range of individuals. In particular it will connect you with younger people whose attitudes and insights, and possibly even whose friendship, can help keep you young.

But you should also consider opportunities for learning with others just in your own age group, because it will be easier to make friends there, and because sometimes people who share, to some degree, your history and outlook make more supportive partners in learning.

You probably also have enough knowledge in more than one area to consider teaching. You may not have the formal qualifications to teach in an accredited academic program, but there are plenty of afternoon or evening classes being offered through schools and colleges, libraries, and other community organizations, or you could become the leader, instructor or coach, in a club that you form yourself, or perhaps one that already exists. Watch local advertising for programs in your area, and see if they need a teacher with your expertise (but keep in mind, if you have not been a teacher before, it’s a lot harder than it looks!).

Even if you are relatively immobile, and even if you are alone, you can get out and enjoy public entertainments. But of course, such excursions are the most fun when you do them with friends or family.

For the most part, local newspapers (and their websites) will give you the most up-to-date information about what’s going on in your area, and often will provide reviews for many of them, so you have some idea what you’re in for. With a computer, you can probably get automatic updates from your favorite locales, or follow them on Facebook, or Twitter or other social websites. If you have a smart phone, you can check things out even when you're already on the go. But we list some other resources that work on a national basis to help you find enjoyable entertainment in your own locality.

Socializing isn’t just fun – it can improve how your brain works, and help fend off dementia. “Socializing Can Help Elderly Women Stay Sharp,” an article on the Medical News Today website, reports on a study from the American Journal of Public Health that indicates these results.

Of course, socializing also solidifies your relations with friends and family, as well as offering you the opportunity to make new friends. And these relationships, in turn, are not only enjoyable but further increase opportunities to be active, to meet even more new people, to be drawn into new shared interests, to exchange encouragement and other positive sentiments, and sometimes to have someone be there for you when you need a hand.

If you are unable to get around well on your own, invite people in to see you. If you are not a natural host or hostess, then arrange to meet them at a neutral place that you can get to and that can accommodate any special requirements you have. This might mean wheelchair access, or at least an absence of crowds and clutter if your mobility is impaired, a minimum of background noise if your hearing is impaired, a willingness for a restaurant to prepare meals to order if you have dietary restrictions, and so on. Many businesses cater to older customers, offering senior discounts, a menu of foods that are less spicy or easier to chew, and other accommodations – so if you have special requirements or preferences, just ask.

Some cities have been promoting use of “Elder Friendly Certification” for businesses that best accommodate older patrons, but this is not yet widespread enough to be helpful in all areas.

As helpful as the internet can be as a way to communicate with family and friends, it is also a place where you can interact with all kinds of people in other ways that are informative, challenging, and just plain fun. Such opportunities are, in fact, innumerable, and expanding all the time. So here we will aim mostly to give you a sense of the categories of opportunities that are out there, and links to a few specific places that can get you started.

Although internet experience is not the same thing, of course, as face-to-face interaction, it can be close to that. If you like, you can equip your computer with a camera and/or a microphone, so that with some internet services (though not most of them), you can actually have live communication. But even without those extra features, the internet has many advantages. For one thing, there are always other people out there, so no matter when you’re in the mood for interaction, it’s available. For another thing, there are many different ways you can interact, so no matter what you’re in the mood for, you can find it. And since you don’t have to leave home, you don’t have to make yourself presentable (yes, if you have a camera attached, you can turn it off!), and if you have trouble getting around, well, you don’t need to worry about that. If you are vision- or hearing-impaired, you can get appropriate modifications to your computer.

These days, it's not hard (though it might be moderately expensive) to interact online even when you're away from home, using mobile devices such as tablet computers and smart phones.

If computers and other electronics are foreign territory to you, you can take classes in the basics (another excuse to get out and connect with people). Or just ask around – these days, moderate familiarity with computers is commonplace enough so that a lot of people (including most young people) can help you out. Computer retailers are also happy to help you, though they are likely to charge you something for their time.