Lifestyle changes that come with getting older often shrink your circle of friends. If you’re no longer working or recently have moved, you may feel more cut off than ever.
Aside from feeling lonely, social isolation can also affect your physical and cognitive health, medical research has found.
But there are also advantages to being a senior you may have overlooked. Whether it’s in your new independent living community or various organizations geared toward older folks, there are many opportunities to socialize and make friends. Here are some tried-and-true methods to make friends after 50.
Look for “Activity Soulmates”
Sometimes it’s hard to search for friends simply by listing personality traits you usually look for in a friend or sweetheart. But by searching for activity “matches” on Facebook, the AARP website, or an organization like Meetup.com, you can find like-minded people.
Whether you’re looking to stuff envelopes for your favorite candidate, travel to exotic locales, or simply discuss books online, you can find in-person and virtual spaces to meet friends with common interests.
Mix “Heart-Healthy” with “Heart-Warming”
Have you meant to become more active or just need to find a new fitness opportunity after moving? Exercise groups offer the bonus of community spirit, along with all the cardio and flexibility benefits.
Hiking groups, water aerobics classes, yoga sessions, biking excursions – they’re all out there, and nearly all are structured for group interaction. If nothing else, few things bond people more quickly than complaining about the number of reps the fitness instructor is putting you through!
Be More Productive
Along with opportunities to meet new people, working and volunteering also help you feel more productive while getting you out of your home more often.
When you’re seeking to give back to the community, you can either contact the nonprofit directly or look for a service organization to play “matchmaker.” Don’t hesitate to let them know you’d prefer to help out at a place where you can meet new people.
Visit Places of Worship
Attending religious services is another way to find both comfort and community, even if you need to find a new place of worship after a move. Faith communities are known for their welcoming spirit, and you’re likely to make new friends in no time.
Keep in mind, too, that most places of worship have a broader focus than the services alone. You’ll likely find a fellowship hour after the worship service, offering members a chance to mingle, and probably sample some tasty goodies! Look for bulletin boards and listen to announcements before services, because you’ll probably hear about additional activities, from religious discussions to game nights.
Few of us reach our golden years without suffering loss and challenges. Too often, those negative experiences close us off from the world or make us feel alienated from those who can’t understand what we’re going through. Support groups offer a chance to not only improve social wellness, but also heal emotional scars.
Along with your place of worship or independent living community, a basic online search or toll-free line, check out those offered by United Way and AARP. These sources can help you find a local place to share your struggles, whether that involves grief, illness, addiction, or other challenges. Some support groups are geared toward individuals, while others connect couples with others facing the same problems.
Explore Your New Community
When you live in a retirement community, friendships can begin at home. Residents of senior living neighborhoods can count on comfort, safety, and socializing opportunities.
At Deupree House, for example, we know when it comes to activities and events – not to mention socializing preferences – one size doesn’t fit all. Our events and wellness calendars are packed with a wide range of cultural, social, and fitness opportunities. Take a tai chi or a “chair zoom” class workout, or check out the wealth of lectures, art classes, field trips, and movie experiences Deupree House has going on every month. Contact us at your convenience to learn more about living and social opportunities at Deupree House.