Although not spring chickens anymore, mom and dad still have it in them to form new connections and make new friends. All it takes is a little effort! Check out the three helpful tips below to give your older loved ones the “push” needed to branch out during their retirement years.
Before you ask, no, they won’t get a participation trophy for this one…
Keeping and maintaining relationships sets older adults up for a successful retirement; however, the fact remains that making such connections is easier said than done. Loved ones may feel that they no longer have the energy or motivation to go out and make new friends, but the reality is that the opportunities are often closer and easier than they think! Community events are a great way to meet new people and explore newfound hobbies – two aspects that often naturally come with conversation and connection.
Some classic examples of community events are bingo nights, which can be found using a Bingo Hall locator, or farmer’s markets, which offer social interactions and exercise. Both of these events are widespread in every county and offer excellent relationship-making opportunities!
If your loved one’s retirement is at a senior living community, like the upcoming Lumia in Mequon, WI, scheduled resident social activities and inviting community gathering spaces will be readily available for your loved one’s use. Lumia’s club room and Bocce court will provide social and recreational opportunities to participate in and make new friends.
No, we aren’t talking about money…
As we increase in age, our social outlets and efforts decrease as well.1 The more time older adults spend alone, the more adverse mental health effects impact them. Considering that it usually takes at least forty hours to make a friendly connection with someone,2 your older loved ones are a bit justified in their hesitation! However, research proves that investing time into making new friendships is well worth the effort.3
Did you ever have a “talk” from your parents about practicing good habits? Now it’s your turn to give it right back to them! Whether an email, phone call, or a simple conversation in the hallway, investing some time out of the day to build connections quickly adds up over time. Even better, of course, is making a habit of getting face-to-face with someone throughout the week. Using the outdoor paths at senior living communities like Lumia, or meeting up for a card game with a neighbor once a week, develops routine social habits that add consistent connection and interaction to your loved one’s life. Little things, if practiced consistently, go a long way!
Participating in local social activities and developing social habits are great ways for your loved ones to make meaningful connections; however, maintaining these connections requires a similar amount of effort. Along with keeping in contact with new friends via good social habits, nurturing and caring for them helps keep those friends around, and benefits your loved ones all the more!
Is there a neighbor who is going through a rough time? Encourage your older loved one to reach out and be a face to talk to. The old phrase, “The more you give, the more you get back,” especially in the context of a senior living community, rings true. Taking the extra few minutes to inquire about a fellow retiree shows that the connection is more than the level of an acquaintance, and instead, bears the weight of true friendship. With close connections, comes closer friendships – something that equals a much happier retirement.4
Having friendships during retirement are healthy and beneficial for all involved. As the above tips show, the greatest factor in these friendships is making sure your older loved ones put in the effort to build and maintain connections. Using the convenient social centers in senior living communities like Lumia, or searching for social events from the comfort of your loved one’s family home, the ability to make and maintain friendships, even in retirement, are more than doable. Mom and dad are no strangers to meeting new people, sometimes they just need a little push in the right direction! Remember these three basic tips when discussing social life with your older loved ones. Reach out to Koru Health if you would like to learn more about social connections for older loved ones and the opportunities available to them at senior living communities.