How To Nurture Friendships During Retirement

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Valentine’s Day is about more than red roses and romance.  It’s a day when people show their affection for one another, whether lover, child, parent, or friend.

Friendship is needed at every stage in our lives. Friends give our lives meaning, comfort, joy; they help prevent loneliness and isolation. But friends aren’t just good for the soul; they’re good for our health.

Did you know that having a strong network of friends and social support is associated with positive health outcomes?  In addition to lower blood pressure, stronger immunity, and reduced stress, research indicates that having positive social connections can also lower the risk of cognitive decline and may even help people live longer. Best of all, the health benefits of friendship seem to increase with age.

“The language of friendship is not words but meanings.”

– Henry David Thoreau

In the spirit of this love-filled celebration, All Seniors Care has put together few ideas on how you can meet new people and enjoy a vibrant social life throughout your retirement.

Friends During Retirement is Good for Your Health – Grow Your Social Circle

 

1. Bond over Activities:

Active residentsActivities serve as a natural conversation starter and help people discover new interests and feel pride in their accomplishments.  Participating in group activities is also one of the easiest ways to make friends as an adult.

If you are into photography or arts & crafts, join a group or workshop where you can advance your skills. If you enjoy cooking but are getting bored of the same old recipes, join a cooking demo like the ones offered through Chef’s Table. If you’re more of an outdoorsy type, look into nature walks.

But why stop at the familiar? Broadening your horizons and trying new things is one of the many ways that you can find happiness as you age.  Ask your Activity or Wellness Director for a copy of the Activity Calendar and target three groups to join. One group just for fun, one group to learn something new, and one group to support a better world.

Many of our communities continue to offer activities that you can sign up for, from exercise classes to creative workshops. Here are just some of the activities available to residents:

  • Yoga
  • Dancing
  • Gardening
  • Bingo
  • Creative Writing
  • Baking
  • Shuffleboard
  • Woodworking

When attending groups, be sure to follow all COVID-19 guidelines laid out by your local health authority. At All Seniors Care Living Centres, we diligently follow all health precautions – keeping seniors safe is our number one concern and central to all life enrichment activities.

Find out why residents gush that they’re busier – and more fulfilled – than they’ve ever been, simply because they’ve made new friends while re-discovering an activity they love.

2. To Find Your Village, Join Events:

residents cycling during ASC Bike Tour

Connecting with your community is the foundation to connecting with other community members.

You can make fast friends by attending special events, like holiday celebrations or annual competitions. These are the perfect occasions to chat with new people because everyone in attendance is in a cheerful, lively mood. It’s a party, after all!

Even during Covid-19, All Seniors Care communities have special events planned. While we had to reschedule our annual seniors gamesit always inspires our residents to get out of their comfort zones and socialize with their neighbours – we are currently taking a virtual ride around the world with Going the Distance.  Read all about it here or explore the 2020 ASC senior games for a snapshot of this fun week-long competition.

3. Keep a Calendar:

The best way to uphold and develop a relationship is to keep in contact on a regular basis.

A well-organized calendar can ensure you never miss a group or social event that you want to attend. You can also use your calendar to keep track of birthdays and anniversaries. A simple “happy birthday” can go a long way in strengthening a burgeoning friendship.

4. Bridge the Gap with Technology:

Distance is a bigger obstacle than ever since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago. For the sake of health and safety, in-person visits and gatherings are discouraged, and activities have been curtailed until elders are fully vaccinated against the virus.

Technology can help! Using video chat applications on your computer or smartphone can help you chat with a friend whenever you’d like, no matter how far away they are. It’s an easy and safe solution. You can use other apps to do your favourite activities together, like watching movies, playing games, or making crafts.

If you haven’t already, ask our staff to teach you how to use tech devices and communication tools so that you can stay in-contact friends and loved ones from a safe distance.

5. Make New Friends:

Despite everything we know about the importance of maintaining social connections as we get older, finding friends after 60 can be a challenge.

If you’re newly retired or new to a retirement community, brush up on your friend-making skills with these tips from Dale Carnegie’s classic book How to Make Friends and Influence People.

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

These are classic principles in the best sense, and the fundamentals of this book are still applicable generations later.

Your Smile lights up the room!

6. Encourage Kindness:

A little bit of kindness can go a long way. In fact, small acts of kindness can form a strong foundation for a lifelong friendship.  Our communities always encourage residents to practice kindness and compassion to the people around them, whether it’s their suite neighbours or community members.

Since April 2020, our staff have been writing love letters every week to show appreciation to care providers in the community. They sent heartfelt messages to police departments, the armed forces, and local non-profits. Click on the link to learn more about the share the love letter-writing activity and keep an eye on our Love Lane 2021 gallery page.

Volunteer at All Seniors Care

There’s no better way to have a positive effect on society—and yourself—than by doing good for others. No matter what your interest, there’s a volunteer opportunity to fit every personality and social interest. If you know someone who would love to assist with any of these activities, tell them to click this link to volunteer at All Seniors Care and find out what openings are available. We always appreciate a helping hand.

Our retirement communities have game rooms, multi-purpose rooms and common rooms to accommodate activities of all types – from (appropriately distanced ) game of Cribbage or rousing rounds of Ping Pong. Read our blog about how you can stay socially active during long, cold winters.

You won’t feel isolated living in the middle of a community of like-minded people your age. You can learn more details about our senior residences in Ottawa and other locations for senior living in Canada with the help of these links.

 

Editor and Writer:   Julianna McLeod

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