If you have ever observed young children at the park, you know how effortlessly friendships are formed. A small group can be playing tag, and a newcomer rushes over with a breathless, “Can I play?” More often than not, the response is a resounding, “Sure!” and thus – instant friends.
If only it were that simple as adults! Friendships offer a great deal of benefits, and are particularly essential for seniors following any sort of COVID-related isolation protocols. So how could you assist the older adults you love to boost socialization and also to make some new friends? Short of jumping into a pick-up game of hide-and-seek, try these recommendations to make friends as a senior adult:
Join a club. Discuss topics of interest along with your family member: knitting, reading, gardening, fishing, sports. Next, search on the internet for groups in your community that meet up to enjoy those activities together. The local senior center is likely to be a fantastic resource as well. If you cannot find an already-established group, consider starting up one of your own!
Take a class. Community colleges often offer reduced-cost (or no-cost) classes for older adults. Browse through an online list of courses to find one or more that spark the older adult's interest, and sign up. Don’t forget to consider health and fitness classes too! An assortment of fitness programs tailored especially to seniors can be found at the YMCA or local gym.
Attend religious services. Many seniors stayed away from religious services during the pandemic. As it becomes safer to venture out, a good option to build both friendships and faith is through religious organizations. Many frequently offer weekday study groups and programs in addition to 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’s likely a virtual version available!
Once participating in new activities such as these, it can still be challenging to learn how to bridge the gap from an acquaintance to a friend. Help the senior remember that more than likely, everyone else in the room is experiencing exactly the same self-consciousness and trepidation to some extent. With those playground children in mind, encourage the older adult to make the first move to start a friendly, pleasant conversation. Sometimes all it takes is just one individual brave enough to start the ball rolling to kick off an enduring friendship! It might seem a bit scary to make friends as a senior adult, but the rewards will be worth it.
Our caregiving companions are excellent friends for older adults too! We carefully match each person with a caregiver who shares a comparable personality type and interests, resulting in an easy and strong bond between the two. Contact us online or at (416) 422-2273 for a free in-home assessment to find out more information about our personal senior care in Toronto and the surrounding areas.