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Our social network is moulded by our background, learning environment, workplace and personal character. We establish different social networks during different stages of life. When we were kids, our life was all about family and classmates. As we grow up, our social network is extended to friends and colleagues, and our exposure to society is also broadened. We eventually build our own families. When we retire, our connection with colleagues is weakened, our kids have their own lives, and our social network is somehow narrower. The population of solitary elders has grown, but if old couples or lone elders live their lives in a passive manner and lack interaction, their social network can only become less and less extensive. Boring and unmotivated lifestyles have negative impacts on one’s psychological well-being.

Retirement is in fact another stage of life, a golden era. When we no longer need to work, we can arrange our time in a more flexible way, open ourselves up to new stuff and expand our social network. We should engage in interesting activities, and make good use of technology and human connections in order to keep up with society. Going out with your family and friends is the best way to spend a long weekend or a long holiday.  Don’t forget that travelling with family, especially planning a trip together with your children and grandchildren, can be a great joy as it will enhance the relationship between each other.
We should not view retirement as a limitation; indeed, we should enjoy our lives and every single moment. Retirement life can be pleasant and exciting.

How to expand your social network
  1. Understand and improve interpersonal relationships.
  2. Make good use of new technologies (such as the internet and smartphones) to keep in touch with friends, or reconnect with old school friends.
  3. Be active, enjoy life, keep motivated, and engage in healthy functions, charity and volunteer work. Keep up with the trends and meet new friends.
  4. Elders are experienced and assets to the family and society. Take advantage of your expertise and experiences, continue to contribute to society, pass on and share your experiences with the new generation, and be interactive.
  5. A pet can be a good companion as well as an exercise buddy. You may also get to know people with pets and share with them their fun, joy and enthusiasm.