Many aging adults feel lonely and isolated, as their lives have changed and friendships have been lost due to distance, changing life circumstances, and sometimes loss. The cost of growing old can be painful and starting new friendships may feel intimidating and overwhelming. However, making new friends doesn’t have to end because life changes.
If you find yourself in a place where you would like to build real and genuine friendships, here are some tips to get you started on making new friendships in your older years.
Sometimes friendships begin by simply saying yes to opportunities you might not normally be inclined to participate in. Be aware of the opportunities around you and shake up your routine by saying, “yes!” when you might normally say “no.”
Perhaps it is saying yes to a neighbor’s invitation. Or if you live in a retirement community and they are having a bingo event, choose to join in on the fun, even if Bingo isn’t your cup of tea. Regardless of your circumstances, choose to put aside your preferences to engage in social activities with other seniors and people around you.
Extend an Invitation
Keep in mind that the other seniors in your life may also be feeling lonely and isolated. Be the first to extend an invitation to have a cup of tea together. While planning and hosting events can be complicated, keep things simple and find something that works with your life and abilities.
Consider starting a book club to chat about new books with other seniors. If you are living in a retirement community, ask your community events director whether they would host a book club for the seniors in your retirement community.
You may need to get creative with what you have energy for, but never believe that you are too old to pursue new friendships. Friendships come in every shape, color, and age, so jump in right where you are and extend invitations to old and new friends alike. You may be amazed at how appreciative people feel to be invited into your life, even if it is in simple and uncomplicated ways.
Find a Local Senior Center
If extending an invitation and planning events sounds too complicated and challenging, look into getting involved with a local senior center. Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation has a ton of opportunities for seniors in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area. If you aren’t a senior in Fort Wayne, Indiana, look up local senior centers in your region. They often have fitness classes, bingo nights, social activities for seniors, and more.
Find a way to get involved with a local senior center and you’ll be amazed at the friendships that begin to blossom as you discover things you have in common and the differences that keep friendships interesting! Remember our advice from earlier, say yes! Don’t turn down opportunities to get social with other seniors just because the activities don’t sound interesting. Be willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone and meet new people and try new experiences, or even try old experiences one more time.
Get Active Online
As seniors become more tech savvy, the internet opens up a world of relational opportunities to connect with people of every age and interest. There are numerous online groups, forums, and social media websites like Facebook that allow seniors to stay connected with family, friends, and even make new connections.
Ask your 15 year old grandson (or a tech-savvy friend) to set up a facebook account and add your family members as “friends.” This is a great way to see photos of your family members and stay connected! Consider joining a facebook group for seniors and laugh about the challenges and joys of growing old. The internet has become a wonderful way to stay connected even when your physical location makes that more challenging.
Embrace this New Season
The only thing constant about life is change. Growing old may not be how you imagined or anticipated, and you may find the challenge to adapt more difficult than you ever expected.
However, each new season comes with new joys and possibilities. Try to embrace this season with hope and anticipation and throw yourself into living it as fully as possible. Learning to be a friend again in this new phase of life may take some work and effort, but new friendships are worth pursuing at every age.
The Cedars Retirement Community
If participating in social events out in your community begins to feel too challenging, it may be time to consider moving into a retirement center. The Cedars Retirement Community is located just outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and offers numerous activities and social opportunities for aging adults. We believe in providing the highest quality of life and opportunity for seniors and want to ensure that your latter years are lived with joy, enthusiasm, and relational connections. Please contact us with any questions or to schedule a tour of our extensive lakeside retirement community.