Research shows that seniors with strong friendships have better immune systems, better mental outlooks, lower blood pressure, lower stress and overall better health than counterparts who are less socially active. One of the benefits of moving to a retirement community is making new friends who share your interests.
Whether you’re a pro at meeting new people or it’s been a while since you’ve flexed your friendship-making muscles, here are five tips to help you connect with others in your new community.
1. Take part in new-resident events.
Senior living communities often have events for new residents to help them get to know the community, learn about services and amenities, and meet fellow residents. These events can range from educational sessions to volunteer opportunities to themed social mixers. Attending these gives you the chance to meet other newbies and potentially find a buddy to help you explore your new home.
2. Get involved.
What are your hobbies? Passions? Favorite activities? Chances are, you can meet people with similar interests through community activities. Check the events calendar to see what classes are being offered. If there’s something you really enjoy that isn’t on the calendar, talk to the Activities Director and see if they have suggestions or if you can form a new group to attract other like-minded individuals.
Another way to get involved is by volunteering within your senior living community, especially if you live in a place where different levels of care are offered. Many times, independent living residents can volunteer in their community’s assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing areas. Putting yourself out there for other residents will automatically connect you to others and help you make new friends.
3. Get to know the staff.
Look outside your fellow residents and get to know the staff members of your community. They are great resources for helping connect you to other residents they think you’d click with. Plus, you and your family members can form great friendships with the staff.
4. Spend time in the community’s common areas.
Communities have a variety of spaces where residents meet, mingle and pass through on a daily basis. These are great places to meet new people! Head to the community lounge for a cocktail before dinner. Sign up for a game in the billiards room. Or simply people-watch in the lounge. You’re sure to meet someone with whom you can strike up a conversation.
5. Don’t be afraid to make the first move.
The best way to form new friendships is by simply taking initiative. If someone has an empty chair at dinner, ask if you can join them. If you have an empty chair at dinner, offer it. Introduce yourself to someone in your gym class and see if they’d like to attend an activity together. Knock on your neighbors’ door and invite them over for a drink and conversation.
The beautiful thing about senior living is that it’s filled with others who are also looking to make new friends and enjoy new experiences. You’ll be amazed at how many people are eager to meet you, too, and say “yes” to forming new friendships.
Come See Us at The Grand Royale
Here at The Grand Royale, we offer a calendar packed with activities in Independent Living, Assisted Living and Short-Term Rehabilitation services. Visit us in Gladstone to learn more about our living options and experience our fun, active and vibrant lifestyle for active seniors living in Kansas City.