13 Ways To Prevent Loneliness After Retirement

Take proactive steps to make your golden years socially and emotionally rewarding.

elderly woman looking out window longingly
Updated June 6, 2024
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As retirees exit the workforce, they also leave behind a sense of purpose and community.

Studies have found that older people often find it difficult to make new friends and connections — and leaving the workforce can be a large part of that.

But retirement doesn’t have to be full of isolation. As you prepare for retirement, keep in mind this list of ways you can prevent loneliness after you stop working.

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Take up a hobby

shurkin_son/Adobe senior retired woman painting at home

Retirement is the perfect time to get serious about hobbies. You can revisit an old hobby from your past or take up a new interest.

Hobby clubs are a great way to meet new people with your same interests. Sites such as Meetup or Senior Planet can help connect seniors by location or interest.

Volunteer

Halfpoint/Adobe cheerful senior female volunteer cleaning street

Research has found that volunteering can help you regulate emotions, decrease symptoms of depression, and ultimately improve your overall well-being by giving you a sense of purpose.

Organizations such as Just Serve and VolunteerMatch can help connect you with opportunities in your local community.

Enroll in a class

chika_milan/Adobe multi ethnic senior students attending class

Retirement gives you the time to learn something new. Colleges around the country offer free or reduced tuition to seniors who wish to attend classes.

You may or may not receive academic credit toward a degree, depending on the rules at the university you attend. But either way, this is a chance to explore new interests and meet people.

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Learn new tech skills

Seventyfour/Adobe african american nurse helping senior man

Technology can be intimidating for some, but taking the time to learn about new tech can help reduce your loneliness and increase your access to others.

Technology can give you access to information, video calls, online communities, and more. If you need some help learning the ins and outs of your personal devices, organizations such as Cyber-Seniors offer free one-on-one tech lessons to bring you up to speed.

Get active in a church group

Zoran Zeremski/Adobe volunteers working in community donation center

Whether or not you are a religious person, churches often provide a great opportunity to be part of a community. They organize group activities, service projects, fundraisers, and social events for their congregations.

Joining a local church group can provide you with a community and social connection during retirement.

Stay connected with family and friends

Seventyfour/Adobe senior friends walking in park

Make an effort to stay connected with family and friends, both near and far. With nearby friends or family, schedule regular activities together, even if it’s just meeting up at a coffee shop.

For loved ones who live far away, plan a time to video chat regularly to catch up. Scheduling visits can ensure you are getting regular social interaction and not waiting for someone else to reach out.

Travel more

Concept Island/Adobe stylish senior female tourists walking street

Many people look forward to being able to add more stamps to their passport during their golden years. However, retirees may have concerns about traveling far if they have health and mobility issues.

Even if you aren’t able to travel far away, you can explore your own backyard. Tour local historical sites, try a new restaurant, or visit a state park. Better yet, invite someone to go with you.

Pick up a part-time job

mapo/Adobe asian senior chef teaching junior chef

Part-time employment can be a great option for staying active and connected in your community. It can give you a sense of purpose and add some structure to your life. And a little extra income never hurts either.

If you haven’t reached full retirement age, know that working too much can impact the size of your monthly Social Security check. For those at full retirement age — typically 66 or 67, depending on when you were born — there is no impact on your Social Security benefits no matter how much you earn at a job.

Become a mentor

Monkey Business/Adobe Women Working on Computer at Office

Retirees make excellent mentors. They have a lifetime of experience that they can share with others.

If you want to become a mentor, reach out to local professors or professional organizations in your field of expertise. College students or newly graduated professionals often seek the advice of seasoned professionals to help them shape career choices.

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Participate in group exercise classes

Rido/Adobe Senior people stretching at gym

Exercise has been shown to provide a smorgasbord of benefits for retirees. Beyond boosting mental health, physical health, and cognitive function, group exercise also provides a boost to your social well-being.

Exercising with a group can increase your feelings of enjoyment and sense of achievement, all with an added social component.

Get to know your neighbors

ulza/Adobe relaxed senior women chatting from balcony

Immersing yourself in your community can help increase your social circle and sense of belonging.

You don’t have to be best friends with your neighbors, of course. But given your close proximity, both parties can mutually benefit from having a positive relationship. They can provide a friendly face to talk to when you get the mail, or a first point of contact if you need help.

Learn about in-home services

pikselstock/Adobe woman helping grandmother with paperwork

If getting out and about is challenging, you might benefit from having someone come into your home.

Organizations such as Visiting Angels provide a variety of in-home services, including companionship visits. They can also help you with tasks around the house or run errands on your behalf.

Find alternative transportation options

JackF/Adobe senior woman sitting inside tram

Retirees may find their independence limited if they are unable to drive. However, they can also take advantage of public transportation options if they want to get around.

Reducing isolation can help decrease feelings of loneliness. Discovering alternative transportation options helps you retain independence during your retirement years.

Bottom line

DC Studio/Adobe Happy senior man attending art workshop

As you retire and grow older, it's likely you will feel your social circle and opportunities for connection are shrinking. But things don’t have to stay that way.

As you craft your retirement plan, be proactive about making efforts to stay involved and connected. This can help keep loneliness at bay during your golden years. It’s even possible that your social life will improve once you leave work behind.

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Holly Humbert

Holly is a writer who recognizes that there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to personal finance. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, women in business, and financial literacy. With more than four years of experience, her work has been featured on MarketWatch and The Ways to Wealth.