As children the more we learned the more we talked to people, we made friends with everyone who would play with us. As young adults we found out who our friends were and made our own social circles. As adults our families grew bigger, and we started to let our children take over the dinner plans, then they took over the holiday traditions and it was nice to not have to deal with it.
But what happens in the stage after that?
Most of us as seniors tend to withdraw as we get older. It’s not always on purpose, sometimes it’s just the ‘consequences’ of getting older; we may decrease or stop activities that become challenging, downsize homes to make it more manageable or stop going out on a regular basis because it’s tiring.
“I would argue that as each of us gets older, we shrink our environment to get better control of it,” says Dr. Eric Tangalos, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic who specializes in Alzheimer’s Disease research and other aging issues. Tangalos argues that our behaviors reflect a shifting balance between the levels of autonomy and risk in our lives and our desire for safety and security.
Some of the shrinking activities are:
1. Driving. Seniors tend to drive less or get rid of a car or two.
2. Home. Downsize to a smaller home with less maintenance or even a retirement village where there are less responsibilities.
3. Hobbies. Some of our pastimes require a lot of physical exertion like golf, gardening or other hobbies.
4. Travel. This can require a lot of energy, time, and can be tiring. As we get older we may take shorter vacations or no vacation at all.
5. Children. Some times as seniors, we relocate close to adult children and rely on them for errands and support activities.
6. Clothing. Downsize the wardrobe, particularly business attire.
7. Entertainment. We may stop going to restaurants and shows as we get older.
8. Learning. Reduce reading (active) in favor of television (passive); stop learning how to use new consumer technologies.
9. Food. This can require a lot of energy, so we will either stop cooking or eat the same things all the time.
10. Friends. As we get older, we may cut back on activities outside the home with friends.