It can be hard for many senior citizens to reach out to people. You may be isolated from your friends and family, and it may be physically difficult to get around. That's a big problem, because social activity provides numerous health benefits. It can help you live longer, strengthen your immune system, ward off depression, and improve brain function, just to name a few. Besides, isn't this the period in your life where, having left the world of the working stiffs behind, it's time to focus on fun? But that's a real catch-22: Without a workplace to offer built-in camaraderie, and possibly with health concerns that limit your activity, how do you find people to socialize with? Fortunately, there are a number of clubs and organizations dedicated to answering that very question. In fact, there are so many, you may not know where to start. There are groups out there who cater to people with every interest you could possibly have, but it might be helpful to start with the ones the most people have found the most fulfilling. Through these groups, you're bound to meet a wide variety of people from all walks of life who share your interests.
The Most Popular Organizations and Social Clubs for Seniors
If you have an age-specific need, it's always a good idea to check with AARP. Aside from offering financial benefits and information, they provide a built-in community of exclusively senior citizens, including an active web community. Whether your mobility is limited or you need to know what's available in your local community, it's a great place to start.
One of the world's most popular social clubs, including among senior citizens, is Toastmasters International. Wherever you live, it's likely the Toastmasters have a chapter near you. They meet weekly to practice public speaking, learn leadership skills, and have a good time doing it. It's fun for gregarious seniors who haven't lost their spark and the shy but hopeful alike.
For women, the Red Hat Society is the club of choice, and with good reason. Describing itself as a "play group," members don red hats and purple clothing before heading out on the town, whether it's to enjoy a meal, indulge in a shopping spree, or take a fabulous vacation. They have chapters across the globe, and you're sure to find a vivacious group of women to bring you out of your shell and help you empower yourself.
For the senior who is more focused on others than themselves, there's Senior Corps. Senior Corps offers a variety of volunteer opportunities where seniors can put their experience and expertise to good use in their local community. Do you find yourself missing the laughter of children? Try the "foster grandparent" program. Concerned about other seniors in your community? The "senior companion" program connects you with another senior in need. You can make a new friend and do good at the same time.
For the more adventurous, a travel club like Road Scholars may be just the thing. They offer a variety of getaway options that you can choose based on activity level, and even special grandparent/grandchild trips. Whatever the case, you're sure to forge a connection with your group.
Popular groups always cater to the largest number of people, and you may have more niche interests. Whether it's gardening, knitting, or anything else under the sun, check with your local senior center. They often provide a meeting space for a number of different types of groups who might share your interests.
Questions and Answers
Q: Do these clubs cost money?
A: Some require membership fees, some charge for specific activities, and others are completely free. When in doubt, check with the club you're interested in.
Q: Are these clubs exclusively for senior citizens?
A: Some, like Senior Corps, are for senior citizens only. Others, like the Toastmasters, welcome all ages. Even the Red Hat Society welcomes women under 50, but they have to wear different colors.
Q: What if my mobility is limited?
A: If leaving home is a challenge for you, don't fret. Many clubs, such as the Red Hat Society, feature a thriving online community that's available 24/7 in the comfort of your home.
Q: How do I join these clubs?
A: The easiest way to find your local chapter is through the organization's website. There, you'll find instructions for meeting up and diving in!