For many, the idea of making friends brings back memories of childhood, playing with the other children at school or in the neighborhood. Making friends seemed simpler then, finding common interests, games and activities to share. However, as we get older, it might seem like making new friends is more complicated.
At Astral at Franklin, we believe that building friendships is easier than you might think and an important way to maintain good physical and mental health. Below, we are looking at strategies for building friendships in senior living and how these connections can enhance your quality of life.
By following some of these tips, you can ensure that your senior living experience is full of fun, laughter, and most importantly, friends!
Developing and maintaining friendships is vital at any age, but it becomes particularly important for older adults. There are many benefits to social engagement, including unexpected health benefits, such as a reduced risk for depression and increased longevity.
Create happiness: A Michigan State study of over 200,000 participants revealed that older adults connect their friendships with greater health and happiness. Spending time with friends can dramatically reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure and keep your mind sharp.
Reduce risk of depression: Lacking a sense of purpose and community can dramatically affect an older adult’s connection to the world and overall feeling of happiness. Making and keeping friends can greatly reduce these risks. “No matter what unites you with your group of friends, simply feeling included — like you belong to a particular group — is beneficial. A sense of belonging fulfills an important emotional health need and helps decreases feelings of depression and hopelessness (everydayhealth.com).”
Longer life: Because of the wide-ranging health benefits of friendship, older adults who build friendships as they age typically enjoy a longer, healthier life – which will give you more time to enjoy with your friends.
For some older adults, making new friends might be easy – but for others, understanding how and where to make those connections can be a learning process. Fortunately, Astral at Franklin provides opportunities for residents to meet and enjoy time together. With our beautiful, shared spaces and robust social events calendar, residents always have an opportunity to build new friendships.
Here are a few examples of ways you can not only engage in meaningful activities but build friendships with people who share similar interests.
Whether you are interested in pursuing art, music or cooking, taking a class and learning a new skill is a great way to engage with other people in a fun and supportive environment. Best of all, you will be improving your own skill set while making friends. As you become more comfortable with the learning environment, you will gain confidence in yourself, a key attribute that carries over into other areas of your life – like making friends.
Do you have a particular interest you would like to share with others? Creating or joining a group is another strategy for making new friends. For example, consider starting a daily walking club, which will help you and your new friends maintain your physical fitness and health while enjoying time together. For a relaxing indoor activity, a book club offers the chance to read and discuss great literature, learning more about books, authors and each other.
Whether you choose to do this within your community or branch out into the local area and neighborhoods, volunteering is an excellent way to make friends and give back to others. In addition, when you engage in meaningful, generous work for others, you make yourself open to forming connections with other volunteers and the people you serve.
Making new friends is not an activity that is limited to the young. You can find opportunities to build connections and foster positive relationships in your life at any age.
Building friendships in senior living starts with putting yourself out there. Attend a class, invite a neighbor for coffee or just be willing to say hello to someone you don’t know. Through our amenities and community offerings, Astral at Franklin creates opportunities for residents to form and maintain strong friendships. We believe that relationships are one of the keys to a happy and healthy life, and we invite you to make new friends today!
Visit our website to learn more about our independent living, assisted living and memory care community in Franklin, Indiana.