How to Build New Senior Friendships

Senior friendships can make the days a little brighter.

If you’ve ever observed 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?” In most cases, the response is a resounding, “Sure!” and thus – instant friends.

If only it were that simple as adults! Friendships offer an abundance of benefits, and they are particularly essential for seniors following any sort of COVID-related isolation protocols. So how are you able to help the older adults you love to boost socialization and make some new friends? Short of jumping into a pick-up game of hide-and-seek, try these strategies for encouraging new senior friendships:

  • Join a club. Brainstorm topics of interest together with your family member: reading, knitting, gardening, fishing, or sports. Then, search on the internet for groups in your community that meet to enjoy those activities together. A nearby senior center might be a good resource as well. If you can’t find an already-established group, consider starting up one of your own!
  • Take a class. Community colleges frequently offer reduced-cost (or no-cost) classes for seniors. Browse through an online listing of courses to find several that spark the senior’s curiosity and sign up. Don’t forget to check out physical fitness classes too! A range of exercise programs tailored specifically to older adults can be found at the local gym or YMCA.
  • Attend religious services. Many older adults stayed away from religious services during the pandemic. As it becomes safer to venture out, religious organizations are a good way to both build friendships and faith. Many frequently offer weekday programs and study groups along with 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 online games to yoga to learning new languages, whatever the interest, there is likely a virtual version available!

Once participating in new activities such as these, it may still be challenging to learn how to bridge the gap from an acquaintance to a friend. Help the senior keep in mind that most likely, everyone else in the room is experiencing the exact same self-consciousness and trepidation to varying degrees. With those children from the park in mind, encourage the senior to make the first move to start a friendly, welcoming conversation. Sometimes all it will take is just one person courageous enough to break the ice to kick off an enduring friendship! Once established, senior friendships can make the days more enjoyable through laughter, fun outings, and sharing interests together.

Our caregiving companions are fantastic friends for seniors too! We meticulously match each individual with a caregiver who shares a similar personality type and interests, resulting in an easy and strong bond between the two. Call us at (954) 486-6440 for a free in-home consultation and for additional information about our Fort Lauderdale elderly care and services in nearby areas!