When we are kids, making new friends seems so easy. Almost every social interaction wrapped up with a new best friend. Things get a little tougher as we move into adulthood when we are busy raising a family, advancing in our career, and maintaining the household. However, now that you are retired and have more time, social opportunities such as happy hours after work and children’s soccer games are no longer there.
As these interpersonal relationships fade away, creating new ones seems far-fetched. But that doesn’t mean you should submit to loneliness and isolation. The rewards of friendships are too great to be neglected.
Why Friends Matter
We all know that having a nutritious diet, exercising and quality sleep is vital for the well-being of aging adults. However, another key to enjoying retirement is friendships. The elderly with a supportive circle network often enjoy a healthier and happier life. Having friends helps to fortify our immune system, sharpen our memory and recover more quickly when we are sick.
Friends make impactful influences in the elderly’s life. They motivate your loved ones to exercise and adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Having friends who exercise regularly inspires our loved ones to hit the gym too.
Sometimes, the elderly do not realize or even avoid addressing any health changes. It’s concerned friends and family who notice these changes and send caring reminders, helping the elderly to keep track of their health. Socially active elderly are also generally more receptive to doctors’ advice and routine check-ups.
Most importantly, having friends help to boost our loved one’s confidence and can help to combat depression.
Making New Connections
Forging new friendships during your retirement years may need a little extra effort. Here are some ways to make new friends:
- Enroll in a class to learn something new and meet other enthusiastic learners.
- Volunteer at your favorite charity organization and enjoy face-to-face interactions while you help others.
- Participate in social activities such as bingo nights or yoga sessions at a senior citizen center.
- Join a group focused on an activity you enjoy, for instance, book club or gardening club, to meet others with common interests.
- Explore fitness programs for the elderly at your local sports club and forge fitness buddies.
- Get involved in your faith community. Check out social gatherings and events happening at your place of worship.
- Play a group sport like croquet, bocce ball or golf.
- Make use of social media to find and reconnect with friends.
- Become a mentor for the younger generation to share your wisdom and engage in a meaningful way.
Another way to expand your social circle is to consider moving to a senior living community. Whether it‘s memory care, assisted living, or an independent living community, there are plenty of varied enriching social activities for our loved ones. The elderly can easily connect with neighbors who share similar interests and nurture strong friendships.