8 Tips on Building Friendships in Senior Living

Posted By on October 15, 2021

When we’re younger, making friends seems so easy. We connect with our classmates, our neighbors, our teammates, and eventually, our coworkers. As we get older, though, it becomes more challenging to build and maintain friendships.

However, we can not emphasize the importance of socialization enough. Having quality friendships when we’re older is crucial for mental, physical, and emotional health. And while it’s true that it can be more difficult to build friendships after retirement, if you’re considering moving to an independent or assisted living community, you’re already taking the necessary steps! 

Senior living communities, like HarborChase, are perfect places to create relationships and grow your social circle. It can be intimidating, though, so we’re sharing some tips on building relationships in senior living.

1. Be Open-Minded

The first and arguably most important step in building friendships in senior living is to consider updating your current beliefs about friendships, yourself, and senior living. 

Going into a new senior living community with negative opinions can make you close-minded to opportunities. By going in with optimistic thoughts and self-encouragement, you open yourself to any new possibilities and friendships!

2. Find Other New Residents

If you’ve just moved to a senior living community, the chances are that you are not the only one. Find and get to know others who moved in around the same time as yourself. Together, you can learn the ropes—eating meals and attending activities together to feel more comfortable.

3. Be a Regular

One way to meet people and make friends (backed by studies) is to be a regular. It’s been shown that interacting with someone over and over can be an easy way to form a friendship. Luckily, being a regular is easy in senior living communities. You can head to Tai Chi every Tuesday morning, show up for Thursday night poker, or never miss a Saturday afternoon happy hour! 

If you keep going to the same events weekly, chances are you will meet others who are doing the same. Plus, you will most likely meet people who share similar interests as yourself if they attend the same activities!

4. Be Bold

Going up to someone and starting a conversation can be intimidating for anyone, regardless of how confident they are. But, sometimes, building friendships begin by going out of your comfort zone! All it takes is a little boldness and a friendly smile. The good news is that individuals in retirement and independent living communities have a whole lifetime of stories to share, so there will be plenty to talk about!

5. Get to Know the Staff

When you move into an independent or assisted living community, getting to know the staff can help you in many ways. You will be seeing these people on a regular basis, so it’s essential to get to know them and become comfortable around them. Additionally, once they get to know you, your interests, and your personality, they may be able to introduce you to another resident with similar values.

6. Be The Host

Moving into a senior apartment can be emotional, and you may miss the bustle and liveliness of your old house. Inviting other residents to your new apartment can not only help you get to know them but can make the space feel more like home. 

If you love to cook, you can invite others to join you for a meal; if you love friendly competition, you can have them over for a game night. Most senior living communities also have inviting common areas, and you can invite people to join you there, as well.

7. Make Mealtimes Social

Eating with others can be an easy, low-pressure way to get to know others. Plus, studies show that eating in the company of others is associated with healthier eating habits! (If you are worried about joining someone for a meal, go back to step 4: be bold! Chances are no one will turn you down). 

8. Be Patient

It’s important to remember that building friendships don’t happen overnight and be sure to give yourself patience and grace as you adjust to your new environment. There may be days where you feel lonely, but they won’t last forever. Soon enough, you will fit into your new community, and your friends will eventually become more than friends; they’ll become family! 

HarborChase Encourages Friendships

At HarborChase Senior Living, we encourage friendships and relationships in our communities—whether in independent living, assisted living, or memory care. We host daily events and activities where residents can get to know each other and do so in a fun and active way! And of course, our dedicated associates are always there to support our residents and ensure they feel welcome and included.

To learn more about life at HarborChase Senior Living and our senior care services, visit our website