Making friends can be difficult at any stage of life, but as we get older responsibilities pile on, our routines and beliefs get more ingrained, and it can become even harder to make friends. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. In fact, retirement residences are one of the best places to foster new friendships. Yes, the transition from the family home to start over in a new place is daunting, but it’s also the beginning of an exciting new chapter with endless opportunities to make meaningful connections for your overall mind-body-spirit wellbeing.
We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite tips for seniors to make friends and help you navigate these new halls. Try one, or all, and just wait: Your calendar will be filled up before you know it!
1. We don’t serve chef-inspired meals just for their culinary excellence! Meals at Verve Senior Living are meant to be shared. Mealtime is the perfect time to sit down next to someone new, or that you’ve always wanted to connect with, and dig in—to the food and conversation. Bonus: a built-in conversation starter is on the table right in front of you.
2. Attend our monthly socials and Life Enrichment programs! With “social” built right into the name, these Verve Senior Living-led activities are designed to break the ice and connect our residents. Not only will they boost your physical and mental health, but the social connections you make will also lift your spirit. And the best part of attending socials and taking part in activities is, you’ll make friends with similar interests because you’re already doing something you love. Attending regularly will also help you feel more comfortable so that you come to know what to expect. That way, even if you don’t make a connection the first time, there’s always a next time!
3. Practice your intra-personal skills: Smile & Listen! Practicing a warm and welcoming demeanor will not only attract positive vibes back to you, but it’ll also help you feel more positive on the inside. Listening by showing active interest in what others are saying will encourage them to open up and help strengthen genuine bonds built on openness and empathy.
4. Make the first move. We know, that sounds terrifying! But guaranteed the other person is feeling just as nervous as you are. Even if it doesn’t amount to a continued friendship, regularly having the courage to talk to people you don’t know will strengthen that muscle and it’ll just keep getting easier!
5. Patience is key with anything in life. Give yourself grace if you’re not the life of the party or didn’t gather enough courage to say “hello” the first time. Routinely giving it a go will help you build confidence through practice.
The benefits of socializing impact your overall health; anything that’s endorphin boosting will help you feel energized and more inclined to make healthy choices from what you eat to how you choose to spend your time. Socializing can therefore boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, and help stave off feelings of depression—even help prevent dementia! Check out this “Better habits, better brain health” article from Harvard Health Publishing for a more in-depth look at that.
You can also always check in with your Life Enrichment manager at your Verve Senior Living residence for ideas on how to boost your social calendar.