Are you concerned that it will be hard to make friends in senior living? Moving to senior living is a great way to enjoy a lifestyle that emphasizes the personal wellness, happiness and fulfillment that comes with being part of a close thriving community. But like any big change, it can be daunting, causing many seniors to worry they won’t have any friends and will be even more lonely than if they were at home. In reality, however, it’s pretty easy to make friends in senior living with just a little effort and these expert tips.
5 Ways to Make Friends in Senior Living
#1 – Let the staff help
When you’re the “newbie” one of the easiest ways to make friends in senior living is to embrace the help of staff. Senior living staff know it can be a difficult time for new residents and they are happy to help introduce you around to other residents, show you the communal area and help you to feel at home. Even if you’re an introvert, staff will understand and work with you to make new friends in senior living at your own pace. Keep in mind that staff are themselves experts at making friends and have forged strong relationships with residents so they know the drill and are eager to help. Also, remember that everyone was a newbie once so they are more likely to empathize and welcome you aboard!
#2 – Smile and say “Hi!”
Nothing works better than a smile and greeting to begin to make friends in senior living. Smiling is the universal expression that everyone understands and that instantly relays to others that you are happy to see them, even if you have never met them before. But according to the psychologytoday.com blog, “The 9 Superpowers of Your Smile” smiling can not only help you make friends, it has other benefits as well including stimulating the brain to make you feel better, helping you look younger and thinner, and making you appear more likable. Most importantly, smiling is contagious so everyone benefits from your one smiling face!
#3 – Stroll around the community
Another way to make friends in senior living is to get out in the community and be available to meet others. It may be tempting to stay in your apartment and hope for the best, but just taking a daily walk can open new doors and help you find others who enjoy the same. Maybe you just walk out to the patio and listen to the morning bird songs before breakfast or stroll around the grounds on the walking paths to enjoy nature. No matter where you go you will likely find a way to make friends in senior living and get a little exercise too! In fact, the forbes.com article “A Guide To The Best Exercises For Seniors,” notes that walking is one of the best ways to reap cardiovascular benefits even if walking slowly or using a cane or walker.
#4 – Join in activities
One of the greatest assets of senior living is the number of things to do every day. Organized activities like card and board games, cooking classes, workshops, entertainment, and trips to local venues are all designed to be engaging, fun and fulfilling for all residents, so all you have to do is choose. Once you do you can start to create a routine that will help you make friends in senior living simply by showing up and taking part. When compared to life at home with just a television and tablet for company, it’s easy to see why senior living is a great choice. To get an idea of what to expect in senior living check out our blog, “Top Qualities of the Best Retirement Communities in Michigan.”
#5 – Volunteer
Another way to make friends in senior living is to volunteer. Many communities offer volunteer opportunities right on campus and/or can help you locate local organizations looking for volunteer help. Not only can volunteering help you make friends in senior living and expand your social circle, but it is also a great way to feel good about yourself, prevent isolation and its related health problems, and keep you active physically and mentally. Of course, the personal gratification that comes from helping others is one more benefit of volunteering that can really make life worth living. Learn more about what volunteering has to offer in our blog, “Volunteering Benefits and Ideas for Older Adults.”
Moving to a top-tier senior community like Ganton’s Countryside is an excellent way to expand your world and make friends in senior living. For more information about Countryside, please call Margaret Nagel at (517) 206-5000 or download our brochure to learn about our care levels, cost, and amenities.