Thousands of Americans make the move to senior living each year, searching for a more relaxed and simple lifestyle, not only seeking quality care and comfort but new friendship and meaningful connections. However, moving to senior living is no small feat. Packing up a lifetime of belongings and starting over in a new place, with new people in a new culture can be intimidating. Learn how moving to senior living increases socialization and overall health and get tips for making friends fast in your new senior living community.
Socializing in Senior Living
We know that friends make our lives more fun and meaningful, but did you know that it has also been shown to improve overall health, boost self-esteem, and even may potentially prevent dementia?
Socialization has been shown to positively impact the immune system, with more social people having fewer colds, lower blood pressure, and an improved ability to fight off illness. It can also improve mental health, decreasing feelings of depression. Mental health improvements have been shown to be significant within just hours of social contact. Furthermore, studies have shown that people who have some level of companionship and emotional support are less likely to develop dementia than those who are more isolated.
Tips for Making Friends in Senior Living
Aging can often make socializing more difficult as health limitations and mobility can keep seniors more isolated at home. A move to senior living is a great way to fight off loneliness and the dangers of social isolation. But, for many seniors, moving to a new place can be intimidating and the thought of forming new friendships can be overwhelming. So how do you make friends in senior living? Here are 5 tips to ease the transition and make new friends quickly.
1. Be active in community activities
Your senior living community will have a varied and dynamic calendar that will have several things going on each day. Find a couple of activities or events that interest you and make it a priority to attend regularly. This will also help you to make friends that have similar interests.
2. Make meals a social event
Invite people that you meet throughout the day to enjoy a meal together in the dining room. Set a time and a meeting place and make it a social event. This is a great way to bring people together from various activities at one time.
3. Find other new residents
Chances are that you are not the only new resident. Seek out other new residents or make an effort to meet those who have moved in after you. You can learn the ropes together, offer each other advice, and join each other in new activities.
4. Ask a family member or a trusted friend to join you for an activity or a meal
If attending any of the socials or groups alone feels too intimidating, ask a trusted friend or a family member to accompany you. This will give you someone to talk to before events start and give you confidence in starting new conversations.
5. Be patient
Give yourself grace and be patient as you adjust to your new environment. Making friends takes time but regular interaction and a kind smile can go a long way. Before you know it, you will fit right in and make friends that quickly become family!
How did you make new friends in senior living? What tips would you share for someone just moving into your senior living community? Share them with us here. We’d love to hear from you!