Thousands of Americans make the move to senior living each year, seeking new experiences in a relaxed and simplified way. However, moving to senior living is not an easy decision to make. There are many factors to consider and many different emotions to process. Even so, with the right preparations and through new friendships and meaningful connections, the transition can be made so much easier. Here are some tips for making friends in senior living to help you start over in a new place from the right foot.
Socializing in Senior Living
Friends make our lives even more fun and meaningful. However, it has also been shown that meaningful friendships can support our overall health and improve our self-esteem while also potentially preventing dementia. Studies have reported that socialization has had a positive impact on the immune system, with people having lower blood pressure, fewer colds, and a better ability to combat illnesses. It can also boost mental health while reducing feelings of depression. Improvements in mental health have been shown to be substantial even within only hours of social contact.
Making Friends in Senior Living
Aging can often make socializing a lot tougher as older adults may experience mobility and health limitations. This in turn causes them to stay isolated at home most of their days. Senior living can help prevent such a situation and effectively fight off feelings of loneliness and isolation.
- Participate in Community Activities
Senior living activities not just enable residents to pursue their personal interests and explore new hobbies, they also provide socialization opportunities. When residents take part in group activities, they meet new people who share the same interests, with whom they can interact and forge new, meaningful relationships. This makes community activities even more engaging.
- Socialize Over Meals
You can treat your daily meals as a social event. Have a conversation during every meal time to get to know your fellow neighbors better. During the initial period of moving in, you may still be adjusting to the new environment, hence you may feel that eating alone in your apartment is more comfortable. However, try getting out of your comfort zone and meet new people in the grand dining hall. Make small talks to break the awkwardness.
- Interact with New Residents
Just like how you felt, new residents tend to keep to themselves as they try to settle in to the new environment. Approach them and offer to take them around the community. Let them know about the different activities and events that you can participate together. This will let them feel less shy and now you have made a new friend to have fun with.
- Invite Friends and Family
If you feel that making new friends is intimidating, you can invite your friends or family over during meal times. Your loved ones can start a conversation with the other residents at your table and you can chime in to continue the conversation.
- Practice Patience
It takes time to make new friends. If you feel that initial interactions with others do not bear any results, you can always try again in the next few social events.