Seniors residing in assisted living deserve to have an enriching social life. Social isolation can have hugely negative impacts on our physical, emotional, and mental well-being, ultimately heightening the risks of early death.
On the other hand, those who build better social connections can experience a lesser risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, cancer, and obesity.
While you might not move far for your assisted living, the move can be a huge transition. It can leave you feeling uncomfortable with unfamiliar faces, new routines, and environments to get used to.
The transition can be much easier if you find your own support system of friends to help. So, if you’re not sure how to start, here are our tips for making friends in an assisted living community.
Choose the right community
Before the big move, it’s important to book visitations to several different communities to find the one that feels right for you. Residents at Brightview assisted living in Bethesda, for example, say the community feel and ability to connect to other residents was one of the biggest factors they considered when choosing their new home.
Events for new residents
Many communities will host new resident events so that everyone has the opportunity to find like-minded people. The best thing about these events is that you can see you’re not alone.
If you’re feeling anxious and uncomfortable in your new surroundings, rest assured you’re not the only one. You can make strong connections with other people going through the same things.
These events are also great for getting the lowdown from older residents. They’ll know everything you need to know about activities, the nurses, and the food.
Take advantage of communal dining
While you’re just settling in, it can seem easier to sit in the background or dine in your room. But this isn’t the way to make friends.
Put yourself out there and take advantage of the communal dining space to find your own friendship group. Sit at a random table and get talking to other residents, for example. If they’re not quite your people, try again at the next meal.
Other communal spaces
Assisted living communities often have communal spaces other than the dining room. Activity rooms, gardens, and gyms are great places to find people who are interested in the same things.
Make friends with the activity coordinator
The activities coordinator is your key to becoming a social butterfly. Whether you suggest new activities to add to the schedule that suits your interests or just find out about upcoming events, they’re a great person to connect with.
Just because you’ve moved doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep the friends you have out of the community. Make sure to stay in touch over the phone or meet up in town when you’re free as part of keeping your spirit young.
Making friends can be difficult at any age, but there are plenty of ways to make the first move. You never know what type of characters you’ll come across. You might make a brand-new best friend within minutes.