Friendship and Companionship in Your Silver Years – 5 Tips to Make Connections

May 20, 2021

For most senior citizens, their retirement is not merely a time to rest, relax, and devote their time to their hobbies and families, but also a good time to expand their social circle. While it might be a challenge to choose the right senior living for you at first, once you have settled in, why not make the most of your time there, surrounded by people of similar age and interests? The quality of your life in the years after you retire will depend to a great extent on the kind of connections you are able to build and maintain.

A rich, fulfilling social life is one crucial aspect of your wellbeing. Naturally, you want to stay close to your family and engage in all kinds of activities with them, but living in a retirement home or a dedicated senior care facility means that you will also get plenty of opportunities to meet new people. Establishing bonds with them, on the other hand, might be a tad more difficult. Here are a few ideas that can help you make new friends, find companions of similar interests and needs, and enjoy a thriving social life in your silver years!

Be proactive and invite people over

Once you move to a senior care home, you might need some time to get familiar with all the amenities, available facilities, and activities you can share with others. What’s more, not everyone is gregarious and eager to chat up the current occupants, so you should give yourself time, as much as you need it, to feel more at home.

Once you do, though, feel free to invite your neighbors over for a cup of coffee or tea, especially if you’re having one of your family members over, too. This is a simple, but effective way to kick-start new friendships on the spot, all the while having someone with you to help you keep the conversation going in case you’re shy.

Making connections online

Social media is far from reserved for the young, especially if you’re already familiar with the online world and you use Facebook and other social platforms to stay connected with your family members and friends around the world. Ideal for mature dating and getting to know people in your vicinity, some platforms are dedicated to seniors to make sure peer-to-peer companionship and opportunities to meet individuals with similar needs.

Whether you’re looking for intimacy, companionship, or new friends to share a cup of coffee with every now and then, senior-centric social platforms are a great place to safely meet others like yourself. Of course, you can mix and match different social platforms to make the most of different opportunities, and expand your social circle more easily.

Join community activities and events

Senior living has many advantages, one of them being the opportunity to discover shared activities and events available on the premises. The pandemic might have postponed some of these events for a certain period of time, but you can rest assured that you’ll be able to enjoy them soon enough, if they haven’t already become available once again.

Most senior living communities have all kinds of clubs, classes, and hobby groups, which are packed with people who are there for the very same reasons you are. It’s easier to make friends in such communities, so long as you give yourself enough time to settle in and find the people that make you feel comfortable around them.

Take on a group hobby

In addition to dating-focused events and environments, you can also put yourself in situations where meeting people of similar age and interests is spontaneous and natural. A great way to enrich your retirement is to keep on learning as you age, which will keep you sharp, active, and above all, it will put you in close proximity to people who are most likely interested in companionship and friendship, too.

Look into local dance classes for seniors, to see if there is a group for the kind of dances you find appealing. You can also attend local dance evenings, where you get to socialize beyond learning. Other group activities such as choir singing, hiking groups, art classes, and the like, are all wonderful for meeting people with similar mindsets and interests.

Find your role in volunteering

As a kind and compassionate person, you can make lifelong friends in shared activities beyond your senior community. One of the best ways to combine your values, stay active, and bring you closer to potential friends is to find exciting volunteering opportunities that will allow you to come across people who share your values.

Depending on the location and the type of volunteering you choose, you’ll get more comfortable around new people as you get to know them. Even if you’re shy by nature and you’re not certain how to kick-start new conversations, volunteering is the simplest, most rewarding way to find yourself around people who appreciate similar things in life.

There is no perfect solution for all seniors out there to make new friends or build fresh connections, find intimacy, and still maintain a sense of routine in life. Especially now that you’re retired, ditching your comfort zone is the best thing you can do for yourself, albeit the most challenging one, too. The listed ideas are simple and effective, and ideal to help you establish close connections in your community and beyond!

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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