If you ask senior living professionals, current residents or their family members, they’ll likely tell you that the social opportunities available in senior living are life-changing.
In fact, before moving to a community, many older adults experience different degrees of loneliness and isolation. Everything changes when they make the move to a senior living community filled with neighbors of the same age-group and friendly, compassionate staff members who build meaningful relationships with residents.
Although the opportunities for engaging in an active social life and making friends are plentiful, that doesn’t always mean the process is easy for everyone.
Many older adults, in fact, may find they’re out of practice in making friends. By the time we reach retirement or decide on a maintenance-free lifestyle, we often assume that our most meaningful relationships have already been made. New residents sometimes go into senior living with the mindset that other residents will be nothing more than neighbors, friendly folks to say good morning to and chat with at the barbershop or hair salon.
However, at Diakon Senior Living, we find that residents often form strong, long-lasting friendships with fellow residents. In our communities, residents truly share life together. They share meals, attend events together and take on leading roles in one another’s lives.
So how can you embrace new friendships in your senior living community? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
● Pursue your interests and passions – When you do what you love in a community setting, you’ll quickly find others who enjoy the same things. Whether you attend a lecture on early-American history or are knitting on the patio, you’re setting yourself up to meet like-minded people. It’s often easy to start a conversation or form a friendship with someone new when you share some common ground.
● Try new things – Senior living communities create regular opportunities for residents to step outside their comfort zone or partake in something they’ve never tried before. You’ll discover that when you try new experiences, there are often several others trying it for the first time, too. Doing new things together can help you bond and provide a shared experience on which to build a friendship.
● Volunteer – Community service is another great way to make friends in a senior living community. Many organizations offer volunteer opportunities that involve teamwork and lead to meeting other people. Plus, the people you meet are likely to share similar values and priorities. Friendships made while giving back to your community can quickly become meaningful relationships.
● Be confident – Senior living creates countless opportunities to make new friends, but it can still be difficult if you aren’t confident about the effort. As we grow older, it can be easy to imagine that people won’t be interested in us, or that everyone already has enough friends and isn’t looking for more. But this perspective often tends to be a sad misconception. No matter our age, we always want to be known and loved by other people, to belong to the community in which we live.
Chances are, the neighbors you meet in senior living also want to form new friendships and have genuine intentions of building relationships with other residents. Be confident in your endeavor of meeting new people and making new friends. You’re more likely to succeed in finding wonderful people to share your retirement with if you approach the occasion positively.
If you or a loved one has recently made the move or is anticipating the move to senior living, we hope you’ll take these ideas to heart.
At Diakon Senior Living, we understand the value of meaningful relationships in experiencing a great quality of life. If you’d like to talk to someone about embracing all the social opportunities of a new senior living lifestyle, the team at Diakon Senior Living would love to talk to you. To learn more about the senior lifestyles and services available, contact us today!
By Melissa Kindall
Manager, Social Media and Digital Communications
Diakon Corporate Communications & Public Relations