Just by paying attention to small children interacting with each other at the park, you can see how quickly some friendships can form. A small group may be playing hide-and-seek, and a newcomer dashes over with a breathless, “Can I play?” By and large, the response is a resounding, “Sure!” and voila – instant friends.
If only it were that easy to make friends as a senior! There is a wealth of benefits that friendships bring, and these benefits can often be especially helpful for seniors following any sort of COVID-related isolation requirements. So how could you assist the older adults you love to boost socialization and make some new friends? Aside from joining a game of hide-and-seek, try these recommendations:
Take a class. Community colleges often offer reduced-cost (or no-cost) classes for older adults. Browse through an online listing of courses to find one or more that sparks the senior’s interest and sign up. Don’t forget to check out physical fitness classes too! A variety of exercise programs geared specifically to seniors can be found at the local gym or YMCA.
Join a club. Brainstorm topics of interest along with your loved one: reading, knitting, gardening, sports, fishing. Then, search on the internet for groups in your town that meet to enjoy those activities together. A nearby senior center may be a fantastic resource as well. In the event that you cannot find an already-established group, consider establishing one of your own!
Get involved virtually. There are a great number of opportunities to meet others remotely – even more so since the pandemic caused us to think outside of the box. From online games to yoga to learning new languages, no matter the interest, there’s likely a virtual version available!
Attend religious services. Many older adults stayed away from religious services during the pandemic. As it becomes safer to venture out, religious organizations are a good option to build faith and friendships, often offering weekday study groups and programs along with worship services.
Even after engaging in these new activities, it can still be challenging to make friends as a senior because it can be tricky to bridge the gap from an acquaintance to a friend. Help the senior remember that most likely, everyone else in the room is experiencing the exact same self-consciousness and trepidation to some extent. With those children from the park in mind, encourage the older adult to make the first move to start a friendly, welcoming conversation. You never know, sometimes, just one courageous person speaking up to break the ice can start a long-lasting friendship!
If an aging adult you know is having trouble trying to make friends as a senior, let our caregiving companions be their first step! We meticulously match each individual with a caregiver who shares a similar personality type and interests, resulting in a fast and strong bond between the two. Contact us online or at 404-228-0103 for a free of charge in-home consultation and to learn more about our Decatur home care and care in the surrounding areas!