It can be hard to make friends as we age, but did you know that having friends to lean on (or even gossip with!) is good for our overall health? Studies show that senior isolation and feelings of loneliness can result in health risks, with a potential impact on mental health and physical and cognitive abilities, too. So, if you’re moving into a retirement village or community, here are some tips to make the move less daunting, and more fun!
Go for regular walks or coffees.
Aside from being a great way to get some exercise into your day, being out and about is a good opportunity to meet new people along the way. A well-meaning smile or a quick chat may help you to cement friendships quicker than, say, waiting for a friendly face to knock on the door, sans an invitation. Once an acquaintance has turned into a friend, you can organise regular coffee catch ups (or gossip sessions – we don’t judge).
Participate in activities or themed events.
Retirement villages are incredibly social places, with plenty of social activities on the agenda! Of course, some days, you may just want some solitude. However, if you’re admittedly enjoying a little too much ‘me time’, why not sign up for a social activity, a walking group or a book club?
Dine with others.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying a solo lunch or dinner. (In fact, many of us consider this to be one of life’s greatest pleasures!) However, if you’re looking for companionship, arrange to sit and eat with others during meal times. Of course, you may get stuck with someone you don’t hit it off with, but socialising is a game of luck … and who knows? You might just meet your next best friend while enjoying the weekly pot roast special. (Yum.)
Organise a housewarming for yourself.
Take the party into your own hands and invite your new neighbours or other residents to your new place. You can play games, enjoy a catered meal or simply entertain some good conversation (bonus points for the drinks and snacks to keep your guests happy). Keep it small and invite a select few, or spread the word and plan the party of the season. It’s completely up to you.
Ask for help.
Remember that you’re never alone; help is always available for you. Your new routine may mean you have less time for cooking, cleaning or running errands, or your needs may change and you may require help with everyday tasks as time goes on. When the time comes that you need extra assistance, don’t be afraid to speak up. Help is always available.
If you’re feeling lonely, it’s worth noting that others in your new community are likely in the same boat – new to the aged care village and hoping to make some new friends in this exciting new life chapter. As a newcomer, you already have a leg up! There will likely be many welcoming residents keen to get to know you, and carers or coordinators there to check in on you and help with anything you need. Lastly, you may be missing your old friends or living further away from your family at this time. This is a good opportunity to arrange a weekly or monthly catch-up, to help curb any feelings of loneliness you may feel during this transitional period.
Moving to a new retirement community or village is a big life change. When you’re all settled in and ready to create or update your online Will, we’re here for you to get the ball rolling, together. Get in touch with our friendly team today.