If you’re thinking about moving into a senior living community, you may feel a little nervous about meeting new people. While it’s true that you may not know anyone when you first move in, you can rest assured that your community will provide ample opportunities for socializing, and you’ll easily make new friends.
Socializing is good for your happiness, but it’s also good for your health. Research has found that having some close relationships benefits your emotional, physical and mental health. Social engagement is linked to many positive aspects of aging, like improved longevity and self-esteem, along with avoidance of isolation and depression.
In many ways, senior living communities are designed to help residents spend time with others as they enhance their own physical and mental well-being. What are some of the features of your senior living community that can help you make new friends and live a vibrant life?
Your senior living community is just that — a community. From the moment you walk in, you’ll find many areas buzzing with activity. In the spacious lobby, folks may gather in pairs or small groups to chat about the day’s news, play games or simply people-watch.
Take a walk through different neighborhoods, and you’ll find people enjoying themselves and making new friends in a variety of areas, including the dining rooms, activity rooms and computer center.
How do you meet people when you’re the ‘new kid on the block’? You simply go out of your individual residence and put yourself out there — walk around and say hello! If you’re feeling shy, other people probably are as well, and most are delighted for you to initiate a conversation and, quite possibly, a new friendship.
At first, you’ll be the new guy or gal, although that shouldn’t stop you from taking the initiative to meet people. After you’ve been in your community for a bit, you can introduce yourself to new residents so that they, too, can begin making friends.
Do you love helping others? If so, you’re sure to find other kindred spirits in your new community. You can participate in multiple local charitable pursuits – from making shareable crafts to spending a day hammering at a Habitat for Humanity house to spreading cheer in a local hospital. Keep in mind, however, volunteer opportunities may vary depending on your location, so do a little research to see what organizations need help within your community. In addition to helping others in need, volunteering is also an excellent way to strike up conversations with other participants. Volunteers often have a strong sense of empathy for others and strike up friendships easily. By giving of yourself, you may get even more in return.
You’ll find a variety of opportunities for continued learning in senior living. If you enjoy intellectual pursuits and conversation, you’re bound to come across others who share your passion.
In addition to classes offered through your community, many local centers, colleges and universities also provide special offerings for seniors. By becoming a student again, you open your mind to new information and your heart to meeting new people with a broad array of perspectives.
Dining With Others
Throughout the world, mealtime tends to be a staple for socialization – it’s a time when people are brought together to enjoy delicious meals together and it’s a perfect opportunity to strike up conversations. Although you can always choose to pick up food and take it back to your residence or have food delivered, if you’re looking to make new friends, it’s best to head down to the dining hall. If you see a fellow resident sitting by themselves or a full table with one empty chair, ask if you can take a seat.
Striking up a conversation over delicious food is a great way to get to know others, and you may find that you quickly form a pleasant habit of meeting up with your mealtime companions.
Wellness and Fitness
Do you have a commitment to maintaining good physical health? Most retirement communities offer a multitude of exercise classes, events or even club meet-ups on their activities calendar. From group classes to working out in the fitness center to nature walks, you’ll find a variety of planned activities centering on health and wellness. You also can ask a fitness-minded buddy to join you for a swim or a game of tennis.
For individuals who enjoy attending to their spiritual health, senior living communities often facilitate a variety of different types of worship services. Whether you attend spiritual activities within the community or join others to attend a church, synagogue, mosque or other spiritual center in the local area, you can get to know people who have an interest in your particular faith. You may also find that you enjoy getting to know people of different faiths or denominations and attending services with them.
Hobbies and Activities
Your senior living community will offer you opportunities to experience a dizzying array of activities, hobbies and outings. With each event you attend, you increase your chances of meeting new people and forming long-lasting and meaningful friendships.
You can choose among any number of types of activities, including:
- Lectures and performances
- Book groups
- Fitness classes, groups and clubs
- Arts and crafts
- Games and puzzles
- Visiting museums and other local attractions
- Discussion groups
- Educational classes
- Outdoor activities
Even if an event doesn’t seem to be something in which you have a strong interest, attend anyway! You may be surprised at the topics and activities that will grab your attention once you’re there, and you may meet interesting people.
Be sure to look at your community’s activities calendar on a regular basis to spot activities and events that might lend themselves to making new friends. No matter your personality, you’re likely to find something you’ll enjoy.
Once you’ve met a few birds of a feather, why not host a get-together in your residence? You can invite people over for cocktails, a movie, a full dinner or even a potluck. Chances are, your new friends would love to see your place and spend time together. You might even decide to make it a regular event!
Getting a Pet
If you’re an animal lover, you probably know that pets are one of the best icebreakers for meeting other people. Walking a friendly little dog will encourage just about everyone to stop and chat with you. Small pets are welcome in many senior living communities; by adopting a dog or cat, you gain a furry companion as you increase your chances of making new friends.
While chatting online can’t substitute for in-person interaction, it can be a great way to meet people and keep up with family members. Your senior living community may have an in-house network you can use for socializing with other residents, and you can connect on traditional social media platforms like Facebook. Once you strike up a friendship online, you also may get to know your friend’s friends as well.
Enjoy Making New Friends at Lake Park
Lake Park offers a variety of amenities and activities to make it easy for you to enjoy socializing with others. By taking advantage of our many services, including weekly housekeeping, you free up your time to participate in pursuits you love as you get to know kindred spirits. To learn more about the active and social retirement lifestyle at Lake Park, please contact us.