Making Friends as a Senior: How Assisted Living Can Help

Jun 29, 2023

As we age, our circle of friends often becomes smaller, whether due to losses or changes in health and lifestyle. But there is always the possibility of making more friends. 

Through personal care communities like Chestnut Ridge, you can enjoy regular monthly activities to help you meet like-minded people to add to your circle of friends. 

The Problem with Loneliness 

Chronic loneliness has been shown by researchers to be associated with adverse impacts on mental, cognitive, and physical health, general well-being, and even longevity. 

In January 2023, a poll by AARP demonstrated that 34% of adults between the ages of 50–80 suffered from acute loneliness. Those who lived alone often went over a week without having meaningful interaction with others. 

Preeti Malani, M.D., the poll’s senior advisor and former director, said: “If anything, the pandemic has shown us just how important social interaction is for overall mental and physical health and how much more attention we need to pay to this from a clinical, policy, and personal perspective.”

Potential Antidotes to Loneliness

There is no precise cure for loneliness, but with a little effort, there are many ways you can invite others into your life for socializing. You can make time to give back to the community, see the world (even if it’s just the neighborhood), learn a new skill alongside others, or simply relax with friends around a fireplace. 

Create a Video Family or Friend Reunion

If you have access to a computer or device, you can set up video chats with family and friends. It provides you with a way to see each other and laugh together in real time. It’s one of the most uplifting activities you can do to strengthen the bonds with your kin and friends around the world. 

There are even programs that connect seniors with young students virtually, and you can read stories to each other once or twice a week. Fostering bonds between young people and seniors helps broaden the future of everyone involved.

Volunteer

Is there a charity or other cause that you believe in? Whether it is helping the homeless or saving species from becoming extinct, find a way to give back. You might even harness your existing skills to make blankets, hats, and mittens for those in need during the colder months. 

Or involve the local Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts groups to help raise money for an environmental cause. There are a million ways to give back, no matter your age or disability, and you might even make a new friend or 2 along the way.

Attend Spiritual Ceremonies & Gatherings

No matter your spiritual beliefs, arrangements can be made to bring you to a church, synagogue, or temple. Many churches and spiritual communities now host online meetings and sermons that can be attended via television or on a computer or tablet. Strike up a conversation with someone watching with you, or if you attend in person, invite a fellow attendee to tea or coffee. 

Open Up to Strangers

Visit a park at the same time each day, and note the other people in the area. If you are comfortable, strike up a conversation with people who appear approachable. 

Or if there is a member of your personal care community you haven’t spoken to before, watch for hints of things you may have in common. For example, if they are carrying a book, you can inquire about it. You may have just made a new friend!

Attend a Class

Create a list of the things you’re interested in learning more about. You may be able to find a free class online or at a local community college or university. When attending, smile and make space for anyone who may need a spot in the class. That way, you’ll learn a new skill and potentially meet people interested in the same topics at the same time.

Arrange a Watch Party

A group of senior people watching a movie on a tablet in a comfy couch.

If you live in a personal care community, arrange for a special event or movie night and invite people you want to get to know. You may find some friends who have the same interests or taste in movies as you. 

Join a Book Club

Do you have a passion for fantasy fiction or biographies? Check out your local library and see if they have any book clubs. Some meet weekly or monthly, and not only will you find some quality reading material, but you may also find a quality friend as well.

How Assisted Living Communities Can Help You Make Friends

51% of those who have a disability or health condition that they say limits their activity also say they experience a lack of companionship, compared with 30% of those without such conditions. 

At Chestnut Ridge, we make an effort to help our community members create strong personal connections. We do this by providing activities to promote gathering together and conversing with other members of the community. 

We arrange activities that our care team can assist members with and without physical infirmities to attend. Book a tour with us at Chestnut Ridge in Wallingford to explore all the possibilities and banish the blues.