Now that we are getting into what some might call our advanced years, did you ever stop and think how boring our lives might be if we did not have friends or live in a community that was not socially active.

Every Wednesday evening a group of us – sometimes as many as fourteen individuals meet at our clubhouse around six pm and split into two or three groups to play a domino game called Mexican Train. It is sort of a ritual with many of us as it enables us to catch up on what is happening with our friends and neighbors. Usually each game is started at the same time and in many instances, ends at about the same time dependent upon how the plays go. When someone wins, a person at that table hollers “We have a winner” and hopefully one of the other tables has a winner too and then they switch places for the next game. It enables us to meet with various friends all throughout the evening and keep up with all that is going on in their lives as well as share with others what is happening in ours.

Other times during the week, different groups meet to either play a game of bridge or a card game known as “Hand and Foot”. This too allows different members of our community to share the comradery of friends and neighbors. Saturday mornings a different group of people from within the community also get together for coffee, donuts, and to share their happenings with others.

It is a great way to socialize and keep track of each other’s goings on. We share stories about our past lives, current lives, grandchildren, how one’s golf game is going (actually had one member of our community recently hit a hole-in-one and that individual is eighty years old), and so forth.

Why do I bring this up in this week’s article – because I am finding that the older we get, especially those of us with children living far away, this type of social activity is important. Not only is getting together socially at events/functions important from a social standpoint, it also serves the purpose of being aware when one of our friends or neighbors may be sick or home-bound for one reason or another. Knowing that will enable us to stop by and see how they are doing and possibly run an errand or two for them should they need it.

An example of what I am referring to just happened a few weeks ago. One of our residents failed to show up at coffee and doing a bit more research, it was learned that the individual had been taken to the Emergency Room the night before and was admitted to the hospital for observation. That knowledge enabled us via our Care and Condolence Committee (CCC) to check into the well-being of that individual. Once our CCC representative is aware that a member of the community is sick or in the hospital, not only does the representative contact that person to see if there is anything they need, but a note is placed on our community bulletin board so that the community as a whole also becomes aware of that persons status. Friends helping friends!

Having been in and out of the hospital for various things (years ago), I know how lonely it can be just lying in a hospital bed for any length of time with just the sight of a nurse or two to keep you company. Although I must admit – when I was in the hospital they could have given my wife a bed next to me because she was there from the beginning of visitor’s hours until visiting hours were over every day that I was there.

I think it is important as we age, especially if we are self-sufficient prior to being hospitalized, that others within our community know a bit about our lifestyles. Social activity, in my opinion, at our age is so important not only for the reasons mentioned above but also for our own mental health. By having friends we can socialize and converse with, we eliminate or at least cut down the amount of time we are sitting home all alone. Being alone as we age is a sure-fire way to become depressed and despondent.

So, next time you feel alone or don’t know what to do with yourself, find someone to play Mexican Train with or just call a friend or relative on the phone and invite them over for a cup of tea or a cup of coffee. Who knows, it may become a daily or weekly ritual giving you something positive to look forward to. Positive thinking is much better than negative thoughts as we age.  I know we (Dolly and I) enjoy our Saturday morning coffee and donut get-together. Although I must admit, when I leave I do feel a bit guilty about that Apple Fritter I had with the coffee. But then I also know that come Monday morning I will be back into walking two miles before breakfast and so I will walk it off.

But to be safe, next time I go for my walk after I have had my donut, I may walk two and one-half miles!

Until next time!

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