Today, the issue of social isolation in aging adults is becoming more prevalent and poses serious public health risks to this growing population in the United States. Many studies have shown that social isolation can have a detrimental impact on our emotional, mental, and physical health and can even increase the risk of premature death. Therefore, as we get advanced in years, the need for us to stay connected with our family, friends and community becomes more critical.
The move to an assisted living community can be a drastic change in your life. Chances are, you might be feeling anxious and uncertain about your future or be plagued by a sense of unfamiliarity. However, it is important to remember that everyone living in your community has been in your shoes and has experienced the same emotions that you might have.
In this time of transition, it is crucial to reach out to others and start forming new friendships so that you get sufficient social interaction for a better emotional, mental, and physical health. Here are some helpful tips and tricks you can use to begin making friends in your assisted living community.
Participate in Events for New Residents
While you may be feeling overwhelmed by your big move, partaking in activities and events organized for new residents is a great way to meet your new neighbors, strike up fresh conversations, and build new relationships while learning more about the available activities that your assisted living community offers.
This is also an opportune time to ask any questions you have, get insider information on meals and activities, and even discover some helpful tips and secrets from long-time residents for a happier and healthier way of life!
Spend Time in Your Community Common Areas
Spending more time in the community’s common areas is already half the battle won. Since many of the community’s residents will utilize these areas daily, your very presence will provide plenty of great opportunities for your new neighbors to strike up conversations with you. Just by being present, you will naturally get to meet new people and build new friendships.
One great idea that works to build new friendships is to have your meals in the common dining areas. Instead of eating your meals alone, having a meal together with the other residents is a good way to foster connections. Having something common to do while being in a comfortable environment can often lead to great conversations.
Get to Know the Staff
Many excellent senior living communities are staffed with experienced and caring employees who spend time with their new residents. In your new abode, it is important to acquaint yourself with your community’s team as they will be assisting you on a frequent basis. You should also try to connect with an employee whom you can trust so you will have someone to confide in when you have any issues to address.
Familiarizing yourself with the staff could also present more opportunities to foster companionships. As the staff get to know you, they will learn of your hobbies and interests. They might then be able to connect you to another resident with similar diversions who could end up as your new bosom friend!
To smoothen your transition in your new home, you can also talk to the activities director at your assisted living community. By sharing with them about your interests and hobbies, you can help them to organize more events and activities that you will be keen to participate in, thus creating more opportunities for you to foster new connections with other residents.
Stay Open-Minded and Make the First Move
Making the first move can be difficult in a new environment. Adapting to life in an assisted living community does not happen overnight and you will need time to cultivate new relationships too. Be patient with yourself and expect the integration process to take time. Take the leap of faith to start conversations with the other residents at your community’s activities and social events.
Step out of your comfort zone and push yourself to make connections with others by arranging to have a meal with someone new. You can also find new activities to participate in and make the first move to introduce yourself to the residents at the event.
Stay Connected with the People outside Your Community
Living in a new assisted living community does not mean that you have to limit your social circle to the friends you have within your community. Staying in touch with your long-time friends and family members is equally important.
Plan outings or have meetings over lunch with your friends. Invite your family to visit you. You can even visit local attractions with other like-minded residents! While building friendships within your senior living community is vital, having a diversity in your social interactions can also improve your overall quality of life.
If you are looking for an assisted living community, we welcome you to visit us at Discovery Village At Tampa Palms. You can explore your options while learning about the range of activities our community offers. We will ensure that your every moment with us is never dull. To learn more about our Exclusive Senior Living Programs, please feel free to get in touch with us.