The advantages of socially connecting before retirement

Friends enjoying a meal together

Image: monkeybusinessimages/

One of the issues some retirees face is lack of social contact when they retire. I say ‘some’ because there are always those gregarious souls who are the life-of-the-party types who seem to always have people hanging off them.

For those who are more reserved, the danger is there. It’s too easy to lock yourself away. And what we’re talking about here is face-to-face connections, not Facebook-to-Facebook. Having said that, Facebook can be helpful.

When you work you have to associate and socialise with those you work with. If you have no other connections, these are mostly gone when you retire.

While it’s possible to create or join new social networks in retirement, it may be difficult for those reserved types. That’s why it’s good to get involved before retirement so you have connections in place.

Why bother?

How about to stay alive?

A few years back, a huge research assessment of 148 studies involving 308,849 participants found that there was a 50% increased likelihood of survival for participants with stronger social relationships.

You don’t even have to understand that to recognise that a 50% increased likelihood of survival is healthy.

Other health benefits

And there is a whole range of other health benefits from social connections, including increasing your immune system, lowering rates of anxiety and depression, and building self-esteem.

And the evidence is that, without social connections, you are more likely to suffer the opposite to that list. Check out this Psychology Today site for more.

And then there’s your safety. When you’re socially connected, you have people who will look out for you, which can be important at times, particularly in a crisis.

What to do

If you need more social connections, here are some things you can do:

Join a club

Join a gym for exercise classes

Join a sport’s group—watching or participating

Talk to your neighbours

Volunteer for a cause in your community

Or—insert your own ideas here …………………………..

Whatever it looks like, being connected with others is good for you.

Bruce Manners: the author of Retirement Ready?, Refusing to Retire, and founder of

Category: Connecting, Emotional Health

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