Seven Ways to Maintain Friendships After Moving to Senior Living
One reason why an older individual may be reluctant to move into some type of senior living community is because of a perceived perception that he or she may have difficulties maintaining existing friendships. The fact is that a person in senior living, including assisted living, is able to maintain existing friendships. Senior living or assisted living is a change of address with added assistance with activities of daily living. It is not an abandonment of life as you know it.
There are seven ways in which you can effectively maintain friendships after moving to senior living:
- Arrange regular get-togethers with friends
- Schedule a specific get-together with friends
- Get involved with a cause with friends
- Takes advantage of technology to keep connected with friends
- Host a housewarming
- Reach out first
- Follow up last
Arrange Regular Get-Togethers
Having and maintaining close friendships is thought to benefit your overall health and wellness. In many ways, this becomes even more important as you grow older, when you move into some type of senior living environment like assisted living.
One important way in which you can maintain important friendships when you move into assisted living or some other senior living location is to take the initiative and arrange get-togethers. Your friends may be at least somewhat confused about what you can and cannot do when you reside somewhere like assisted living. The reality is that you certainly can do things with friends onsite and elsewhere. By taking the initiative and arranging get-togethers with friends will not only … get you together with friends … but it sends the message that you can … get together with friends.
Schedule a Specific Get-Together
Another way in which you can be better assured of maintaining friendships once you move to senior living is to schedule specific times and places for get-togethers. Don’t just make vague references to getting together at some unknown time. Put it on your calendar and have your friends do likewise.
We live in a very hectic day and age. People from all walks of life and of all ages are busy. Unless we really do put things on our calendars, time can pass and we won’t connect. The fact is that this admonition goes for everyone and not just a person who now lives in a senior living community of some type.
Get Involved With a Cause
Another idea is to get involved in some type of cause with your friends. It’s all well and good to donate money to an important cause (and that is important) but spending time assisting with a worthwhile endeavor is also vital.
You and your friends can select a cause, charity, or organization. You can make plans to get together and donate time towards working on behalf of that cause on a regular basis (perhaps once a week, perhaps once a month – whatever makes sense for your group).
Take Advantage of Technology
The Digital Communications Age provides resources to keep connected with friends no matter where you happen to live. We certainly all learned this during the COVID-19 pandemic. You and your friends can schedule group Zoom or Facetime calls – or some other equivalent type of digital get-together.
One suggestion is to set a specific time (perhaps on a weekly basis) when you and your friends can get together for a virtual gathering. Ideally, these virtual get-togethers are in addition to real world activities with those people who are important to you.
Host a Housewarming
Another way in which you can stay connected with friends after you make a move to a senior living community is to host a housewarming at your new place. For example, if you reside in some type of senior or assisted living apartment, you can host a housewarming in your own residence.
If you are in a community in which you have a room or suite, a housewarming is still absolutely a positive plan. Senior living communities have community spaces in which you can arrange to have a gathering of your friends.
As an aside, your senior living community is very likely to have ongoing events, programs, and activities, many of which you are welcome to invite family and friends to join in. For example, your community might have an outside entertainer coming in to perform. Odds are that many times you can invite others to join such a function.
Reach Out First
As is the case before you moved to a senior living community, there is value in taking the initiative when it comes to gather friends together. Of course, you should not always be the person who leads the way in this regard. Having said that, many of us are that person or have that friend who are particularly adept at getting folks together.
Yet another strategy to utilize to maintain friendships after moving to a senior community is to reach out and suggest an activity or get-together with your friends. This may particularly be important directly after you make the move to senior living. As mentioned previously, there may be some confusion among your friends (and family) as what you can and cannot do now that you life in assisted living or some other senior residential environment.
Follow Up Last
Finally, after spending time with friends, it is always a nice idea to follow up with a message that you had a good time and look forward to connecting again. In fact, this type of graciousness should be undertaken no matter where you happen to reside at the time.
In Closing: Benefits of a Friend
We mentioned a short time ago that friends can enhance our health and wellness, including when we are in our Golden Years. In closing, we provide a quick list that includes some of the key benefits of friendships:
- Having close friends can boost happiness and reduce stress
- Friends help improve our immune system
- Friends help secure our heart health
- Friends enhance our self-confidence
- Friends keep our mind sharp
- Friends help us improve our social habits
- Friends make us take better care of ourselves
- Friends help us recover more quickly from illness
- Friends increase our happiness quotient
- Friends allow us to be ourselves