Social Activities for Elderly People

Written by raina ando, m. a.
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Social Activities for Elderly People
Taking a walk can be a social activity if it's done with a friend. (elderly men enjoying life during pension image by L. Shat from

It is very important to have a social support system of friends and family as we age. The lack of social ties can make elderly people more susceptible to disease, illness and ultimately death. According to the research in the American Journal of Epidemiology, social ties significantly affect the mortality rate of the elderly. Keeping active in the community, a church or another group helps the elderly enjoy retirement and avoid social isolation.

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Many sports are strenuous and cannot easily be done into old age, like skiing or football. Golf is less strenuous than other sports and allows senior citizens to keep active and to play in a group. Golf is a sport that involves seniors at the professional level, as in the PGA. Before beginning to play golf, consult your physician.

Social Activities for Elderly People
Not only is golf a social activity, but it is also a fitness activity for seniors. (Playing Golf image by Chad McDermott from

Church or Temple Membership

Membership in a church or temple creates social ties to the community for seniors. Research in the American Journal of Epidemiology has shown that participation in a church group significantly lowers mortality for the elderly. Regardless of religion, belonging to a group alleviates isolation for the elderly, at a time in their lives during which they may be widowed or have lost close friends and family.

Social Activities for Elderly People
Church provides consistent social contact for senior citizens. (church image by pearlguy from


The popular hobby of collecting can also be a social activity for seniors. Serious collectors will collect anything from pins to old farm tractors. Most collectors enjoy sharing their collections with others. Collections can be a source of personal pride as well as a social event for some collectors. Collectors meet at conventions to socialize about their particular collection interests.

An old cowboy shows a boy his antique gun collection.
An old cowboy shows a boy his antique gun collection. (old cowboy image by michael langley from


Hobbies of all kinds, including physical hobbies like tennis or yoga, can be a source of social interaction for seniors. Intellectual hobbies include playing chess or participation in book clubs. Games like bridge or bingo also provide an opportunity for the elderly to socialize regularly.

Social Activities for Elderly People
Getting together once per week for a card game can alleviate loneliness in seniors. (elderly people playing cards image by agno_agnus from

Tai Chi

Tai chi is a form of martial art that originated in China and utilizes the body's natural energy (chi). Tai chi has successfully helped many seniors increase their overall feelings of "well-being." According to the Mayo Clinic, the consistent practice of "tai chi may offer numerous benefits beyond stress reduction, including anxiety and depression reduction, gaining balance, flexibility and strength, a decrease in sleeping problems, blood pressure, chronic pain, and a decrease in falling among the elderly." The Mayo Clinic also reports that tai chi improves "energy, endurance and agility" as well as "improving cardiovascular fitness in older adults." Most major cities have tai chi classes, which are usually held outside at a beach or park. See the "Resources" section for more information. The Mayo Clinic warns that "although tai chi is generally safe, consider talking with your doctor before starting a new program. This is particularly important if you have any problems with your joints, spine or heart, if you are pregnant, if you have any fractures, or if you have severe osteoporosis."

Social Activities for Elderly People
Tai chi is a gentle exercise with powerful results. (Tai chi image by Charles Jacques from

Knitting Circles

Those who like to knit or just want to learn can join a meeting of local knitters. See the "Resources" section for a link to find or start a knitting group in your area. Knitting is relaxing and knitting meetings are a way for many seniors to talk to peers and develop lasting friendships.

Social Activities for Elderly People
Knitting circles (meetings) have been around for hundreds of years in America. (hand and knitting image by hazel proudlove from

Professional Sporting Events

Attending sporting events can alleviate loneliness in many seniors and create a social support system if they frequently attend. Fans in sports arenas all over the U.S. develop a camaraderie by buying season tickets and sitting in the same seats each season. They cheer and mourn together over the team's victories and losses.

Social Activities for Elderly People
Going to a professional football or baseball game can be enjoyable for many seniors. (Baseball in the front... image by Saskia Massink from

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