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Making New Friends as a Senior

As we age, it is common to find ourselves less connected to the friendships that once brought us so much joy and comfort. But this does not have to be the case. February is International Friendship Month—a celebration designed to honor those relationships not bound by blood, but by choice. Whether lifetime friends or recent acquaintances, these relationships are there for the good times and help get us through the worst.

That’s why it’s important that we make an effort to continue expanding our social circles for the sake of both our mental and physical health. Many find making new friends as a senior quite a challenge—so what are the best ways to do so?

Making New Friends as a Senior

Why is a healthy social life so important?

A number of studies have shown the importance of quality friendships, especially for seniors. Loneliness and isolation can lead to depression, which can exacerbate problems for those with lower immune systems and other chronic illnesses.

Here are some of the negative effects of not having friends:

  • Heightened risk for heart disease. Loneliness and isolation is said to cause seniors to be 29% more likely to develop coronary heart disease and 32% more likely to have a stroke.
  • Higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia. When we’re lonely, we are naturally less cognitively engaged. Seniors who experience high rates of loneliness are at a higher risk of dementia by more than 60%.
  • Increased likelihood of long-term illness. Those without social support are more likely to suffer from serious chronic conditions, such as arthritis, lung disease, impaired mobility, and more.

On the other hand, having friends can lead to many positive outcomes:

  • Better mental health. Friendship boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression. Seniors may also experience higher self-esteem and feelings of fulfillment—all of which may slow cognitive decline.
  • Better physical health. Seniors with richer social lives have a lower risk of conditions like cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, and more. They usually get more sleep, eat better, and have more success quitting habits like smoking or drinking.

So, understanding the importance of making new friends, how can you go about making friends as a senior? Though doing so might involve you stepping out of your comfort zone, following these tips will make the process far easier.

Join a club

You can’t form bonds with a person if you don’t have anything to bond over. Social clubs are the perfect way to find like-minded people. Head to your local community center or public library to look through club listings. If you’re comfortable with your technology, you can research groups of interest online or ask a family member to lend a hand.

There are social clubs for just about any interests you can think of. From avid baseball fans to craft aficionados, you may be surprised by the diversity of clubs near you.

Join an online community

You might find that your interests don’t extend to an in-person community near you, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on finding one. There are plenty of online communities that can fit whatever your niche is. In addition to message boards and direct messaging, many of these organizations have video chat sessions.

A great place to start your search for an online community is Facebook. Look up your niche in the search bar, and you’ll be certain to find a group of something you like.

Join a class

In a similar vein, if there is a hobby you’ve always wanted to try, sign up for a class exploring it. You’re certain to find other older adults who joined for fun and friends as well. Together, you’ll enjoy building your skills together in class and may find that you’d like to continue doing so outside of normal class hours.

Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to do some good in the world while still connecting with people who have a similar belief system to you. In one quick Google search, you’ll find dozens of organizations worth donating your time. A few great places to start are soup kitchens, animal shelters, or community theaters.

Though you’ll be spending your time working, you’ll also have the opportunity to speak with your fellow volunteers. As you get to know one another, you may find that you would like to spend time together outside volunteer hours.

Keep in touch

Once you’ve met individuals you would like to continue spending time with, you need to put in the work. Just like any other relationship in your life, you need to make a conscious effort to maintain your friendships. This means regularly reaching out via phone calls or messaging services between when you spend time with one another.

These little gestures will go a long way in helping your friends feel that you genuinely care about them. In seeing you make an effort, they will be certain to do the same.

An at-home caregiver can make life easier

For some seniors, troubles with bathing and dressing can discourage them from leaving the house to make new friends. When you hire an at-home caregiver, however, you don’t have to worry about this being a problem. These professionals offer the compassionate, dignified care you need to look and feel your best.

In addition to aiding with your personal care needs, at-home caregivers provide assistance with any activities of daily living you require. Between medication reminders, meal preparation, and light housekeeping, you never have to worry about your needs going unattended.

To learn whether or not a caregiver would be right for you, give us a call at (623) 526-6367. We would be happy to help.

About Us

You have come to the right place if you are looking for in-home care for elderly loved ones or yourself in the Phoenix area. Our team of experts provides quality services to senior citizens in the comfort of their own homes. We understand that each individual is unique. We have a vast team of experts carefully detailing every care plan with years of experience-backed care knowledge.

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