Socializing with friends and building meaningful relationships is important and enjoyable for people of all ages, but it’s especially vital for individuals in entering into their golden years of retirement. Oftentimes, most of our social interaction happens at the workplace. Thus as we age, continuing to make friendships and rewarding social connections is especially important for many reasons. In fact, many studies show forming and solidifying these relationships makes us all happier and healthier in many ways.
How Seniors Benefit from Making Friends
As seniors enter life’s next chapter, it is increasingly important to continue to strengthen friendships and build new, worthwhile social connections for a multitude of reasons.
● Socializing with positive friends improves one’s overall mood.
● Stimulating conversation increases memory skills. Talking keeps one’s mind more alert, especially when it involves discussing current events.
● Even if it’s just a walk around the neighborhood or a local park, physical activity improves muscle tone, balance, and heart health, and it helps you maintain a healthy body weight.
● Very little can take the place of the touch of a loving hand, as it stimulates the mind and makes you feel a connection with someone else.
● Seniors can rely on each other for physical and mental support, or even for something like transportation.
● Friends in similar age groups can understand each other’s experiences like no one else can.
Transitioning into a senior living community is a great way for seniors to establish an active, social lifestyle filled with many rich relationships. In addition to having friends and other like-minded people nearby, residents of senior living communities have the added benefit of many social opportunities organized by the team at the community. These offerings can include senior enrichment programs, exercise classes, and special events such as dances and movie nights.
Residents can take advantage of scheduled events, or be spontaneous and do their own thing, such as:
1. Volunteering time to charitable organizations, such as by knitting blankets for the homeless or crafting wooden canes for veterans.
2. Forming their own book club. Reading expands the minds of people of all ages, and having a conversation about the books complements the experience.
3. Organizing their own trivia night, and inviting neighbors at the senior living community to attend. If the event is held weekly, it can be turned into a tournament for a prize at the end of the set season. It can be fun, funny, and educational while providing an opportunity for friendly competition all at the same time.
4. Getting a group of friends together to walk around the senior living grounds several times a week. These can be considered “walking workouts,” wherein you walk in different ways every few days in order to strengthen muscles that wouldn’t normally be used as much when walking normally. And it’s simply more fun to do, which means they’re likely to do it more often. They might decide to toss a small rubber ball to each other as they’re walking, for example, or walk very slowly while focusing on the muscles that they’re using. Talking to each other during the walk will further stimulate the senses. (Seniors should consult with their doctors before beginning any exercise routine.)
Share Your Ideas With Us!
These are only a handful of things you can do to maintain or form quality relationships with your peers. If you’re a resident of one of our Waltonwood locations or a relative of a resident and have ideas you think we should implement for your whole community, let us know! Our trained teams thoroughly understand the importance of making friends within the senior living community, so we provide our residents with plenty of options and are open to your suggestions.