If you’ve ever watched children on the playground, you know how effortlessly friendships are formed. A small group might be playing tag, and a newcomer rushes over with a breathless, “Can I play?” By and large, the reply is a resounding, “Sure!” and thus – instant friends.
If only it were that simple as adults! Friendships offer a wealth of benefits, and they are particularly essential for older adults following any type of COVID-related isolation protocols. So how are you able to help the older adults you love to boost socialization and make some new friends? Short of jumping into a pick-up game of hide-and-seek, try these recommendations:
- Join a club. Brainstorm topics of interest with your loved one: reading, knitting, gardening, sports, fishing. Next, search online for groups in your neighborhood that meet up to enjoy those activities together. The neighborhood senior center might be a fantastic resource as well. In the event that you cannot find an already-established group, consider starting one of your own!
- Take a class. Community colleges often offer reduced-cost (or no-cost) classes for seniors. Browse through an online listing of courses to locate one or more that trigger the senior’s curiosity and sign up. Don’t forget to check out physical fitness classes too! Many fitness programs geared especially to older adults can be found at the local gym or YMCA.
- Attend religious services. Many older adults stayed away from religious services during the pandemic. As it becomes safer to venture out, religious organizations are a great option to both build friendships and faith, frequently offering weekday programs and study groups as well as worship services.
- Get involved virtually. There are a great number of opportunities to meet others remotely – even more so since the pandemic caused us to think outside of the box. From learning new languages to online games to yoga, whatever the interest, there is likely a virtual version available!
Once participating in new activities such as these, it can still be difficult to know how to bridge the gap from an acquaintance to a friend. Help the older adult keep in mind that more than likely, everyone else in the room is experiencing the exact same self-consciousness and trepidation to some extent. With those playground children in mind, encourage the senior to make the first move to start a friendly, welcoming conversation. Sometimes all it takes is just one person fearless enough to start the ball rolling to kick off a lifelong friendship!
Still wondering how to make friends as a senior? At Home Sweet Home In-Home Care, a provider of home care in Dowagiac and nearby communities, our caregiving companions are wonderful friends for seniors too! We meticulously match every person with a caregiver who shares a similar personality type and interests, resulting in a fast and strong bond between the two. Call us at (866) 229-2505 for free of charge in-home assessment to get started!