Growing older can open up possibilities that may have been placed on hold over the years– such as finally having the time to reawaken your artistic side, volunteer for a passionate cause or commit to setting, and meeting, new wellness goals.
Yet one area that might be more of a challenge is making friends. Although companionship brings great joy and fulfillment, you may find yourself with fewer friends – whether due to loss, people moving away or no longer having as many opportunities to meet new people.
But did you know that one of the many advantages of moving into a senior living community is how easy it can be to make friends?
Community life offers everything you need to enrich your life, including meaningful activities and social opportunities, but perhaps most importantly is the chance to get to know others and begin forming genuine friendships.
If you’re considering senior living, take a look at these tips to discover why it’s so much easier to find others to share your life with when you make a community your home.
Tip #1 Take advantage of the activities
Communities that offer a wide variety of activities that appeal to many interests are the perfect place to begin making friends. Not only will you meet the other residents but participating in an activity together is also a great conversation icebreaker.
Tip #2 Join in the social events
Do you like to dance? Is a trip to a museum a favorite way to spend the day? Is there a concert you’d love to attend? Take advantage of any social events that interest you in the community and you’ll find yourself surrounded by others who share similar interests.
Tip #3 Interact in the common areas
Wherever you cross paths with others is a great opportunity to begin getting to know your future friends. A friendly greeting, asking others how they’re doing or stopping to chat while taking a walk are perfect first steps.
Tip #4 Invite others to lunch or dinner
Take the initiative and ask others to join you for lunch or dinner. You can either arrange to meet them in the restaurant or café or invite them to your home. Sharing a meal is one of the nicest ways to begin getting to know someone.
Tip #5 Be a good listener
We all have a story to tell and most of us enjoy having the opportunity to tell it. When you’re first meeting others, ask them about a few of their life experiences. You’ll likely discover how much you have in common.
Tip #6 Be a good friend yourself
Making friends in senior living is no different than anywhere else. Show interest in others’ lives and ask questions about their family, past careers and personal interests. A kind word or genuine compliment goes a long way in creating a relationship.
Tip #7 Search out other new residents
It’s very likely you won’t be the only new resident in your community. One of the easiest ways to make a new friend is to discover similarities. Meeting the other new residents is a great way to support each other in becoming familiar and comfortable in your new home.
Tip #8 Ask the staff for help
If you find yourself a little overwhelmed or not sure how to make a connection, the staff can often point you in the right direction. They may know of common interests you have with other residents or a certain event or activity that you might want to try.
Tip #9 Ask a family member to help
It’s OK – and natural – to feel a little shy or intimidated by being the new resident in the community. If you find it difficult to start a conversation or participate, ask a trusted friend or family member to join you for a meal or activity. This can often give you the confidence to start connecting with others.
Tip #10 Give yourself time
Be patient with yourself. Moving to a community is a big transition. So is creating new relationships. Give yourself time. Push yourself a little each day to join in activities or have a short but pleasant conversation with a resident. But know that you’ll soon find yourself enjoying the enriching experiences of sharing life with new friends.
If you’re considering whether a senior living community could be the perfect support for you or your parents to live the highest quality of life, we hope you found these tips helpful.
We also invite you to visit one of our Ingleside communities. We believe it’s even easier to enjoy life with the benefits that we offer, including:
For information on Ingleside’s Westminster at Lake Ridge senior living community located in Lake Ridge, Virginia, please call (703) 420-7105 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.
For information on Ingleside at King Farm senior living community located in Rockville, Maryland, please call (240) 414-8557 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.
For information on Ingleside at Rock Creek senior living community located in Washington, DC, please call (202) 846-2651 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.