Do you remember your very first friend? Remember the feeling, the courage it takes to gather, reach out and make a new friend, especially at a young age? When we get older, we often find ourselves in unknown atmospheres looking for ways to connect with others. We look for something or someone, and we look to build meaningful relationships.
That’s how it is for many seniors, especially after retirement, and more so in retirement communities. So, scary as it may be, let’s talk about why and how retirement communities are the best place to meet new people and form new, long-lasting friendships.
Why does a new social life matter?
Making friends in college was one thing. But after retirement, you can find a bit of difficulty making friends. Nevertheless, social life at any age matters. It doesn’t matter if you are in your 20s, 30, or even edging toward your retirement phase. A social life keeps us active. Great friends who are a keeper will always be at your side, no matter which corner of the Earth you are in. And the ones you make during retirement in senior living will be even more rewarding.
Say you want to retire to a place with plenty of sun and water, where social gathering thrives! There are retirement communities in Florida that give you exactly that. So you want to move to Florida, or you live there, naturally, for the reasons you want to retire there, which is why someone like-minded is also there.
Social life is important not just for communication but also for your mental health. Finding new people and friends to share your life stories with can make you feel young again!
The challenges of making new friends after retirement
While retirement communities offer many benefits, making new friends as a senior can be challenging. One of seniors’ biggest hurdles is the fear of being rejected or ignored. Believe it or not, it is true. This fear can creep up for seniors new to the community or with limited social skills.
Another challenge seniors face finding a group with similar interests and hobbies. Many seniors have unique interests or hobbies that may not be widely shared among others in the community. This can make it challenging to find like-minded individuals to connect with.
Finally, some seniors may also struggle with mobility or health issues like dementia, limiting their ability to participate in activities or social events. This can also make meeting new people and making new friends harder.
How to start your new friendship?
Retirement communities offer incredible benefits, not just for assistance with daily activities but a life-changing one: new friendships! Even though it may be challenging (or relatively easy), the friends you make in retirement communities are the ones you must have through and through!
With the following steps, you can start building meaningful relationships with others and enjoy all the benefits of retirement communities.
Get out of your comfort zone
The best things are always what comes out of the box. So get out of your comfort zone. Remember when you had to make a new friend back in school? How did it feel? A bit awkward, maybe a bit strange. When you are retired and moving into a senior living facility, it can feel the same way. But that is okay because remember, your next friend is also wearing the show you are wearing!
Join clubs for activities
Retirement communities offer a wide range of activities and clubs, such as fitness classes, book clubs, movie nights, and so much more. Join these groups. Instead, start your own little club for games or activities within the retirement community to draw in more crowd!
Participating in these activities is a great way to meet new people who share similar interests and hobbies. Attend as many events and activities as you can, and by the time you are done, you will have a new list of retirement buddies to hang with!
Volunteer as much as you can
If you have never done it, now is the time. We can tell you participating in this can give you a sense of accomplishment!
Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and make new friends in retirement communities. Look for volunteer opportunities within the retirement community or in the surrounding area. It is an act of positive reinforcement, and you can expand your social circle by meeting new people.
Volunteering is essentially your way of making friends after college life, no matter what age you are treading. But it goes a long way, especially during retirement.
Be friendly and approachable
Nothing will draw in the crowd more than putting on a friendly face. And a smile goes a long way when making friends in your 40s especially. At this age, you have gathered up as many skills in a lifetime as most people younger than you.
Now is the time to be approachable. Making new friends requires being friendly, open, and approachable. Smile, make eye contact, communicate, and be willing to listen, which will open the doors for new friendships to walk through. Always remember that everyone in your retirement community also wants to socialize and connect.
Attend social gatherings
If anyone asks you for a dance or drink, you say ‘Yes’! Retirement communities often host social events like dances, potlucks, and holiday parties. These events are an excellent opportunity to meet new people and form new friendships. Attend as many social events as you can, and don’t be afraid to ask others to dance or sit with you at a table.
Social media communities are a thing!
Many retirement communities now have social media groups or other online forums where residents can connect and communicate. You can be in the retirement community itself and still be active in these groups. Imagine these groups as a way of keeping in touch with your new friends, even if you leave a retirement home.
At the same time, you can have pen pals in the digital age through such online social groups and maintain a connection.
The right friends at the right place
In order to make new friends after retirement, you need to be in the right place! So yes, the retirement community matters a lot! There are literally thousands of retirement communities across the US in different states, cities, and even towns!
Say, for example, you are looking for a well-known senior living community. The Country Meadows retirement communities are available in many regions across the US. So naturally, your next friend can be thinking in line with your thoughts about retiring to a big chain of senior living community because you both know what they offer!
And that is where your friends will begin. You can also find LGBTQ retirement communities if that is what you are looking for specifically. If you really want to find the right place, get in touch with BoomersHub to find the right retirement community that can be your new home!
A final summary:
- Making friends in retirement can feel a bit scary, but it is worthwhile!
- Be friendly, be socially active.
- You can find seniors in social media groups and make an online community of your own.
Making friends in your 50s or even later can seem scary, but once you step over that fear, the new bonds you create will live beyond your memories. Despite such obstacles, you need to remain positive and persistent in your efforts to make new friends.
By attending activities and social events, volunteering, and using social media to connect with others, you can turn around and define your senior living experience by making friends; what can be more important than building new relationships at your new home?
What is the best way to make friends in retirement?
Firstly, making friends after retirement in senior living communities can be easy because everyone is essentially in the same age group as you. So yes, aside from joining clubs, doing group activities, or just being a friendly ear, seniors being in retirement is the common ground that friendships are built on with like-minded people.
How have you found new friendships in your retirement?
If you search the internet, particularly Twitter or other public posts in Facebook groups, you can actually see people have made or shared stories about friendships in retirement communities.
How do 60-year-olds make friends in a new city?
The best way for someone over the age of 60 to make friends in a new city is to go out and become socially active. Join some clubs, visit the park, and go out of your way and start a conversation with other seniors nearby.
Why are friendships even more important in retirement?
Some common topics seniors can discuss with their new friends, especially in retirement communities. For example, talking about finances or other relevant life experiences can be engaging for the senses but also a great way to further deepen the bonds of friendship.
Can people be lonely in retirement communities?
Not if they are making friends. It can be difficult for some people to make friends when they first move into retirement communities like assisted or independent living. But with the right conversation, mindset, and body language, making friends with other retirees can be easy.