March 16, 2022
If you have ever watched young children at the park, you know how quickly friendships are formed. A small group can be playing a game, and a newcomer rushes over with a breathless, “Can I play?” By and large, the reply is a resounding, “Yes!” and voila – instant friends.
If only it were that easy as adults! Friendships offer numerous benefits, and they are especially important for older adults adhering to any sort of COVID-related isolation requirements. So how are you able to assist the older adults you love to increase socialization and make some new friends? Short of jumping into a pick-up game of hide-and-seek, try these guidelines:
- Join a club. Discuss topics of interest together with your loved one: reading, knitting, gardening, sports, fishing. Then, search online for groups in your neighborhood that meet up to enjoy those activities together. The neighborhood senior center could be a fantastic resource as well. If you can’t find an already-established group, consider establishing one of your own!
- Take a class. Community colleges often offer reduced-cost (or no-cost) classes for seniors. Browse through an online list of courses to find one or more that trigger the senior’s curiosity and sign up. Don’t forget to check out health and fitness classes too! A number of fitness programs tailored specifically to seniors can be found at the local gym or YMCA.
- Attend religious services. Many seniors stayed away from religious services during the pandemic. As it becomes safer to venture out, religious organizations are a good way to both build faith and friendships, frequently offering 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 learning new languages to online games to yoga, no matter the interest, there is likely a virtual version available!
Once engaging in new activities such as these, it can still be challenging to know how to bridge the gap from an acquaintance to a friend. Help the older adult keep in mind that more than likely, everyone else in the room is experiencing the same trepidation and self-consciousness to some extent. With those children from the playground in mind, encourage the senior to make the first move to start a friendly, welcoming conversation. Sometimes all it takes is one individual fearless enough to start the ball rolling to kick off a lifelong friendship!
Our experts in senior care in St. Louis and nearby areas understand the importance of making friends at any age and are great friends for seniors too! We carefully match each individual with a caregiver who shares a similar personality type and interests, leading to an easy and strong bond between the two. Call us at (314) 863-9912 or (636) 861-3336 for a free in-home assessment for more information!