Although most older adults look forward to retirement as a phase of life marked by freedom and excitement, many don’t realize how easy it is to feel lonely during retirement. Retirees no longer have daily interactions with coworkers, their kids are probably grown and gone from the home and older neighbors move to be closer to family or find a senior living community. If seniors aren’t careful, retirement can quickly be enveloped in a season of isolation.

Alison Wall, Senior Living Consultant at TreVista Antioch, an assisted living and memory care community in Antioch, CA, says, “Avoiding isolation and loneliness is one of the many reasons our residents chose to make the move to our community. The retirement years can be extremely lonely if seniors aren’t naturally social, especially if they live alone and friends have moved on. To avoid this kind of lifestyle, seniors often have to relearn how to make friends.

“Making new friends doesn’t come as easily to older adults as it does for children. Our inhibitions keep us from opening up to others, or our lifelong habits convince us that we don’t need any more relationships. However, making friends might be one of the most valuable skills seniors can develop during their retirement years.”

Benefits of making new friends

Staying social and fostering healthy relationships is a vital part of our overall well-being. For seniors, maintaining an active social life not only wards off loneliness, but it can boost emotional health, keep the brain sharp and promote physical wellness through activity and accountability.

Many older adults think they have enough people in their lives between extended family members and their list of lifetime friends. Yet, on a daily basis, the number of people who seniors actually interact with may be very limited. Many of our lifelong friendships were formed in a past phase of our lives under circumstances that no longer exist. It’s important to form friendships during retirement to enjoy the company of peers who are going through similar life experiences.

How to form new friendships during retirement

“Perhaps the hardest part about making new friends during the retirement years is knowing how to find people,” says Alison. “Then, we have to open ourselves up to the social and emotional work involved in maintaining friendships.”

These steps that seemed natural during our younger years can become difficult with age. Here are a few ways seniors can meet new people and form meaningful friendships to enhance their quality of life:

  1. Do what you love. One way to find people who share common interests is to pursue the things you’re passionate about. Check out local opportunities for your favorite hobbies, such as a book club, church group, fisherman’s club or golf league. Attend community events that you enjoy or join an organization like a community band or choir. Not only will you spend your time pursuing the activities you love, but you’ll also set yourself up to meet people who like the same things. Forming friendships on common ground gives you something to talk about and do together.
  2. Try something new. If your community doesn’t offer social opportunities for the hobbies you enjoy, maybe it’s time to try something new. Going outside your comfort zone is a great way to meet new people. Trying new things also opens us up to vulnerability, which helps us creating meaningful connections with others. For example, if you join a painting class, asking other members for help can create opportunities to share with others around you and allow others to invest in you. This might not always be natural or comfortable at first, but the friendships you could gain are worth the risk.
  3. Volunteer. When you volunteer in your community, you’re bound to meet others who share similar interests and values. Many organizations that need volunteers utilize teamwork, which makes it convenient for meeting new people. Additionally, doing meaningful work together forms a great foundation for building relationships with others.
  4. Be open-minded. Many of us might have to adjust our mindset when it comes to making friends during retirement. If you’re skeptical of others or how you might get along, it’s unlikely that any positive relationships will take root. However, if you’re open to the possibility of friendship and view others as unique, valuable individuals, friendships tend to form naturally. Keep yourself open to new possibilities and viewpoints and stay confident in your endeavor to make friends.
  5. Explore senior living. For seniors who may have difficulty getting out of the house or live in rural areas, an effective way to make new friends is to move to a senior living community. Although this major life change may not be suitable for everyone at any time, seniors suffering from isolation benefit greatly from the social opportunities available in senior living communities. Not only do residents have easy access to peers and social events, but they often form meaningful relationships with support staff and caregivers.

“A good friend can make the difference between a lifestyle of loneliness and a lifestyle of laughter and purpose,” says Alison. “You don’t need to make tons of friends or turn into a social butterfly (unless that’s your style), but making meaningful connections during your retirement can do wonders for your health and happiness.”

If you’d like to learn more about how to enjoy a meaningful lifestyle during your retirement, contact the team at TreVista Antioch today. From meeting people to finding helpful resources, we’re glad to offer valuable advice and guidance for optimal senior living.

Making the everyday extraordinary.

Family-owned and operated, Agemark Senior Living is the new owner of TreVista Antioch. Known for creating warm, welcoming communities, vibrant lifestyles and engaging programming, Agemark has been one of the most premier and trusted senior living providers since 1987. As Agemark’s newest community, TreVista Antioch is located on 10 acres in a prime location close to shopping and local attractions, as well as the great outdoors. Our beautiful community features a personalized, resident-centric approach to care that provides support, all while helping residents live full, connected lives.

At TreVista Antioch, we provide assisted living and memory care set in a beautiful environment that not only meets our residents’ needs but makes them, as well as their families, feel more at home. Although our gorgeous community is a plus, we truly believe it’s our programming and caring, dedicated staff that makes TreVista home. With our family-oriented inspiration and resident-centric approach, our residents flourish and experience days full of joy and meaning. Our staff learns each resident’s likes and dislikes and their values and pasts, right down to the dreams they never thought they could accomplish, in order to customize their care and make their dreams a reality.

LifeCycles wellness programming encourages our residents to connect, engage and enjoy life, every day. Our LifeCycles programming is designed to focus on the four dimensions of wellness: physical, social, spiritual and intellectual. This is achieved through a wide range of daily activities and routines, from outings and excursions to local events and programming at the community. At TreVista Antioch, our residents have the tools and care they need to make each day fulfilling, engaging and vibrant. Contact us to learn more!

Call us at 925•237•1952 for more information or to schedule a personal visit today.

TreVista Antioch is part of the Agemark family of senior living communities.