At Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services, we know that fostering new friendships can be difficult as a senior. We also know the impacts of meaningful social connections are priceless for our care receivers. Studies show that seniors who are more social live longer, have a lower risk of developing dementia, and enjoy better mental health!
It’s a fact of life that as we age, our social circle naturally grows smaller. As adults, there’s simply less time to focus on nurturing friendships. The bonds that are kept, however, are often stronger and more satisfying than those formed when we’re young.
But what if you find yourself lacking a close group of pals as you enter your Golden Years?
First of all, understand that you’ve got company. According to a recent study from the AARP, one-third of adults over the age of 55 feel alone. Now, this is not exactly a “fun fact,” but it does go to show that there are LOTS of seniors looking to meet new people, just like you!
Making friends as a senior is often more difficult than when you were a child, but there are lots of ways to meet people and spread your social butterfly wings. Below, we dive into some of the ways Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services encourages those we serve to connect.
1. Join The Club!
Nowadays, there’s a social club for everything! These groups exist for anything your heart desires -- golfing, reading books, bird watching, painting, exercise classes, lunch groups, outings, shopping, sewing – the list goes on! Whether you join to advance a hobby or to learn something new, becoming a member is a great way to meet people who share similar interests.
For some of our Seniors Helping Seniors® care receivers, however, being the “new person” can be nerve-racking and uncomfortable. But with the right attitude, you can make a great first impression! Try these tips to start:
- Make eye contact. This shows that you’re paying attention and indicates you respect the other person.
- Smile! Showing off your pearly whites is welcoming and puts others at ease.
- Be sincere. Don’t force it if a connection doesn’t feel right or pretend to enjoy something you don’t.
Still feeling the nerves? Ask your Seniors Helping Seniors® companion to tag along! Having a friend in tow can put you at ease and help facilitate conversation with people you’ve just met.
2. Connect Online
Social media groups provide a space to meet like-minded seniors as well. Like in-person clubs, there’s a group for every niche you can think of. And if what you’re searching for doesn’t yet exist, start it up yourself! Online groups are a great place to chat about common interests, share photos and information, and might even spur a face-to-face get together!
Additionally, social media is a convenient way to learn about in-person events going on around the community. Keep an eye out for garage sales, live music in the park, or pickle ball league sign-ups!
If you struggle with using new technology or social media platforms, you’re not alone there either. Ask a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver to lend a hand. After all, two heads are better than one!
3. Find Your “Spot”
Explore places around town that interest you, like coffee shops, museums, or bookstores. When you find a spot you love, start going there regularly. There are likely other ‘regulars’ who frequent the establishment as well and may have hobbies similar to your own. Strike up a conversation by asking what they’re drinking or inquiring about the plot of their book. With time, you may find you both have a lot in common, turning this chance meeting into a “Same time next week?” kind of relationship.
Don’t forget -- our Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers make excellent companions too! They love trying new things and expanding on hobbies, so don’t hesitate to get them in on the fun. Because we spend time getting to know each caregiver through a detailed interview process, you and your caregiver likely have shared hobbies and interests that will make bonding a breeze!
The bottom line is, it’s never too late to make a new friend! Though this process can be uncomfortable and difficult at times, the rewards you’ll experience make it all worthwhile.