7 Ways to Conquer Loneliness Without Technology

If you’re feeling lonely these days, you’re not alone. Isolation is a big concern for older adults. 

​According to a University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging taken in January 2023, 1 in 3 adults between ages 50 and 80 reported feeling isolated from others in the past year. ​ ​

Research has found that chronic loneliness comes with a hefty price. A 2022 study published in Neurology found a threefold increased risk of dementia for lonely Americans younger than 80 who otherwise were expected to have a relatively low risk based on age and genetics.​

The problem is so acute across generations that U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy declared a loneliness “epidemic” earlier this year.

Technology is often touted as a way to bring people closer together, but Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook, texting and other high-tech options can sometimes be challenging to use. And in a social media era of heart and smiley-face emojis, online communication can feel less than authentic.​ ​

“Any social scientist will tell you we are wired for connection, but with technology, we [often] only have the illusion of connection,” says Bruce Wayne McLellan, 70, of Naples, New York, who hosts a podcast on the subject of kindness.​ ​

So what are some ways to connect with others that don’t involve our gadgets?​ ​

1. Share with others.​ ​

Clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly of Santa Rosa, California, offers these suggestions: If you buy a bag of apples and realize you can’t eat all of them before they spoil, leave a couple on a neighbor’s doorstep with a note that says, “I want to share these with you.” Do the same thing with a mason jar filled with flowers from your garden or with a recently finished book you want to lend (and propose that the neighbor pass it on when he or she is done).​“

In doing so, we create — we crochet — connection,” says Manly, author of Aging Joyfully. “Anything we do becomes part of who we are. We need to look at doing things that give our lives purpose. People who have a purpose in life are far happier.”​ ​

To learn about six additional ways to combat loneliness without technology, from AARP, CLICK HERE.