If you have ever watched young children at the park, you know how quickly friendships are formed. A small group might be playing hide-and-seek, and a newcomer dashes over with a breathless, “Can I play?” More often than not, the reply is a resounding, “Yes!” and thus – instant friends.
If only it were that easy as adults! The benefits of senior friendships are numerous, and they are especially essential for seniors adhering to any type of COVID-related isolation protocols. So how are you able to help the older adults you love boost socialization and also make some new friends? Short of jumping into a pick-up game of tag, try these recommendations to make senior friendships:
Join a club. Brainstorm topics of interest along with your loved one: knitting, reading, gardening, fishing, sports. Then, search on the internet for groups in your area that meet to enjoy those activities together. The local senior center is likely to be a terrific resource as well. If you can’t find an already-established group, consider starting one of your own!
Take a class. Community colleges frequently offer reduced-cost (or no-cost) classes for seniors. Browse through an online list of courses to find one or more that spark the older adult’s curiosity and sign up. Don’t forget to check out health and fitness classes too! An assortment of fitness programs tailored specifically to older adults 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, religious organizations are a great option to both build friendships and faith, often offering weekday programs and study groups as well as worship services.
Get involved virtually. There are countless 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 difficult to figure out how to bridge the gap from an acquaintance to a friend. Help the senior remember that most likely, everyone else in the room is experiencing the same self-consciousness and trepidation to some extent. With those children from the park in mind, encourage the older adult to make the first move to start a friendly, welcoming conversation. Sometimes all it will take is one person brave enough to start the ball rolling to kick off an enduring friendship!
Our caregiving companions are fantastic friends for seniors too! With our companion care in Suffolk and the nearby areas, we carefully match every person with a caregiver who shares a comparable personality type and interests, leading to a quick and strong bond between the two. Contact Seniorcorp at 757-640-0557 for a complimentary in-home consultation and for additional information about our award-winning senior services in Suffolk, VA and nearby areas.