Remember how easy it was to make friends as a kid? All you had to do was ask, “Want to play baseball with us?” or “Can I play hide-and-go-seek with you?” or the sincere, direct classic: “Do you want to be friends?” As we grow older, social interactions become laden with politeness, judgment, and anxiety. No longer able to rely on our schooldays for friendships, we find friends through work, our spouses, and interests. So what happens when we reach retirement? Suddenly we can’t rely on work for friendships either, and sadly, some of our friends might have passed away or moved away. This is where assisted living becomes incredibly beneficial. You see, making friends in assisted living is easy, so long as you make an effort.
Making Friends in Assisted Living
The key to making friends in assisted living is simple: embrace the opportunities available to you. If you have ever lived in a college dormitory, you’ll recognize the instant feeling of community you get when you live, eat, and engage with a group of people who are similar to you in age and situation. As long as you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone and take part in the scheduled activities and outings, you’re sure to find some new buddies. As Woody Allen once said, “Eighty percent of life is showing up.”
If you’re concerned about making friends in assisted living, we recommend the following tips:
1. Learn about the facility’s activities beforehand. If you know what you’re getting into ahead of time, you can mentally prepare yourself for the potential challenges. Visit the facility, take a tour, and ask a lot of questions.
2. Start slow. This is a big change, so don’t expect to be surrounded by friends straightaway. If the adjustment is difficult for you, spend some time alone in your apartment and slowly dip your toes into the social scene.
3. Sit with the other residents at meal times. Although most facilities will bring your food to your room at meal times (for an additional charge in most facilities), this convenience should only be used when necessary. Most days, you should be sitting with the other residents and enjoying your meals together. This is a great way for introverts to meet new people because you have something to do (eat) and something to talk about (the food).
4. Join in on activities and events. Retirement facilities offer a wide variety of activities and events. Everything from aerobics and book clubs to talent shows, movie nights, and holiday parties. If you show up and throw yourself into the activity, you’re sure to make some new friends.
5. Hang out in the lounges and other common areas. Making friends in assisted living will be a struggle if you never leave your apartment. Try working on a puzzle in a common area or playing a game of solitaire. If someone stops by, say hello, ask how their day is going, and invite them to join you.
6. Say hello to new residents. When you’re comfortable with the social scene at your retirement facility, share the love! Introduce yourself to new residents and invite them to join you for dinner, exercise class, or bridge club.
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Looking for a fantastic assisted living facility in the Midwest? Try Hearthside Senior Living Place. Our eight locations are scattered throughout Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee, and if you’re wondering how easy making friends in assisted living will be at Hearthside Senior Living Place, schedule a tour during an activity or mealtime. You can get a glimpse of the wide variety of activities we offer, meet some of the other residents, and ask any questions you might have. We look forward to meeting you!