Finding Friendship in Senior Living
It’s good to have friends! Especially for seniors.
When you’re looking after a senior loved one, there is so much to think about, like meals, medications, doctor’s appointments, and household maintenance. Socializing can easily become an afterthought.
While socializing might not be the number one reason many families start looking toward senior living, having a group of peers – and potential friends – just steps away at all times can have real health benefits.
Read on for more about the health benefits of friendships for seniors, plus helpful tips for seniors and their families on finding friendship and fun in a senior living community.
Benefits of Friendship for Seniors
Whether your loved one is a social butterfly or prefers the confidence of one or two close friends, having friends and an active social life makes life better physically and mentally.
In fact, seniors with an active social life benefit from:
- Improved mental health and overall wellbeing
- Decreased stress levels
- Decreased blood pressure and improved cardiovascular health
- Better cognitive health, with later or reduced onset of dementia-related symptoms
The normal life changes that come with aging can make socializing more challenging (especially when those changes make leaving home more difficult). That’s why so many seniors thrive in a well-rounded senior living community.
How to Make New Friends in Senior Living
Many seniors wonder how they’ll make friends when they move to a senior living community. It’s normal to be nervous about being the “new kid!”
Here at Sunnyside Manor, we match new residents with a “buddy” who introduces them to other residents and acts as a guide during the first few days. That goes a long way toward helping them adjust to life in a senior living community.
When seniors are looking for new friends in senior living, our experts have these tips:
- Try different activities and programs, especially ones that reflect hobbies or interests. The activities provide built-in conversation starters.
- Keep a positive mindset. An activity that isn’t a “hit” is still an opportunity to try something new and meet new people.
- Make meals social. Mealtimes are a great opportunity to strike up a conversation. Plus, did you know that socializing during a meal is also connected to better health?
- Be patient. Even in a friendly community, building friendships and making meaningful connections can take a bit of time.
- Remember that wanting to connect with others is normal. There are others who want to connect with you, too!
How Families Can Help Loved Ones Find Friends in Senior Living
When your loved one moves to a senior living community, they have a built-in support system. Along with a lifetime of experiences meeting new people, they are part of a community of seniors who have also been the “new kid.” Plus, supportive staff are always just around the corner with reminders about activities and social events. But, there are ways you can help.
- When researching communities, focus on communities that feel right for your loved one. Could you see them among the people living there now? Which communities have their friends and acquaintances chosen to call home?
- Look for a community with a great activities program. A community should offer programs to suit a variety of interests and temperaments. Some people like structured activities that focus on completing a project or playing a game. Others prefer less structured time to talk, like a happy hour or themed party.
- If your parent is less social or gets overwhelmed by too many options, help them choose just a few well-matched activities each week. (And be sure to check in about how they went!)
- Encourage your loved to bring solitary activities, like a book or knitting, into a common area.
- Most importantly, let them get settled in. They’ve had plenty of experience and they will find their way!
Learn More About Why Families Rely On Sunnyside Manor
When you have questions about senior living, we are here to help. Sunnyside Manor offers assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing and rehabilitation. Learn more about Sunnyside Manor’s resources for caregivers. Whether you’re looking for short-term support or a longer-term plan, begin with our “Getting Started” guide. Please call us at 888-696-2052 to speak with a senior living expert.
Sunnyside Manor, located in Wall NJ, is the area’s premier family-owned senior living community. The community features three distinctive neighborhoods: Independence ‘Plus’ Assisted Living, Recollections Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation.