Q: My wife of 43 years passed away some time ago, but I am still struggling with being alone. We had done so much together for so long, and I often don’t know what to do. I’m concerned I am becoming removed from my regular life. Do you have any suggestions for someone in my situation?
A: First, I’m so sorry for your loss. It can be bewildering and hard when you find yourself aging without your partner.
It takes time to adjust to living solo. Now, more than ever, you need the help of your support system of friends and family. It can be hard to ask for help, but just because you’re living alone doesn’t mean you are alone. There is a wide range of resources available and people who want to help you during this tough time.
Here are a few suggestions from a recent article in Next Avenue to help you feel connected.
1. Go toward others.
There’s great benefit in being social as we age. Health experts say it’s important to be the one to reach out, which may be hard for some men who might typically wait for others to make contact. Call a friend, reach out on social media or ask to stop for a visit. When activities are fun and meaningful, most people in the group will be engaged, making for easier companionship. Men need to be friendly to keep friends and make new connections. 2. Get busy and stay physically active.
The loss of a regular schedule is a big contributor to isolation, but keeping active can make you feel better.
Research confirms that when physical exercise and social activities are combined, overall psychological health is amplified. It could be as simple as taking a walk, checking out a class at the local YMCA or senior center, or finding an online class to enjoy at home.
3. Make plans while you are healthy.
Spell out personal wishes regarding medical treatment. Grant someone the power of attorney to handle legal and financial matters should the need arise, and tell those close to you about your plans in the event of a crisis or emergency.
Many single men feel anxious about their financial security to talk to a professional about making a plan for managing money and financial resources. If you don’t know where to start, contact your office for information and resources.
Some planning, reaching out to others, and finding activities you like can keep you connected during this new phase of life.
Are you caring for an older adult or need help locating healthy aging resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at www.agespan.org for more information. You can also call us at 800-892-0890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of AgeSpan.