10 Fun Ways to Enrich Relationships and Make New Connections

Growing older doesn’t have to mean getting lonely. In fact, it never should! Strong, positive relationships are important for your mental and physical health at any age. When you grow older, life changes can make it seem harder to maintain existing relationships and establish new ones. But making new connections and nurturing long-standing ones doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are 10 uplifting ways to enrich your connections – and your life!

1. Mentor a young person.

You have a lifetime of experience to share, and young people can benefit from what you’ve learned. Acting as a mentor for a younger person can help you establish a new, positive relationship that’s good for you both – whether you tutor a teen, counsel a young business-owner or volunteer at your grandchildren’s daycare.

2. Share/learn a hobby with a family member.

When you retire, you have more time for activities you enjoy. Sharing your hobbies with loved ones, or learning a new one together can deepen your relationships while allowing you both to do something purely for fun! Introduce your spouse to fishing, go bowling together, team up to do crosswords … the possibilities are endless, so use your imagination!

3. Share a meal with a neighbor.

Breaking bread together allows people to share common ground and learn about each other. Sitting down to eat lunch or dinner with someone can give you a chance to find out what you have in common, stimulate your mind with talk of current events and make a new friend.

4. Spend more time with a furry companion.

The mental and physical benefits of pet companionship are well-documented. Sharing time with a pet can help lower blood pressure, increase your physical activity level and provide you with a source of unwavering love and acceptance. If you already have a pet, resolve to spend more time with him. If you don’t have one, consider adopting a dog, cat or other animal. Brookdale Senior Living has many apartments available at communities across the country where you can bring your pet weighing less than 20 pounds.

5. Take up a team sport.

Sports aren’t just good for your physical health – they keep your mind active and afford opportunities to make new connections. Whether it’s baseball, tennis, golf, soccer, pickle ball, or some other sport, playing in a group makes you feel a part of something bigger than yourself and helps build connections to your teammates. Plus, you get to spend time outdoors and engage in physical activity that will be good for your cardiovascular health!

6. Get wet!

Water exercise is one of the easiest, most fun ways to get active. Take a water aerobics class, join a senior swim team, or learn how to ride a jet ski – you can find a water activity for every level of ability and mobility. While you’re getting wet, you’ll also have the chance to meet – and have fun with – others who share your interest in that activity. Many Brookdale communities offer activities like water aerobics, water walking and water volleyball.

7. De-stress your lifestyle.

Stress isn’t just bad for your physical health, it strains relationships. By taking steps to remove stress from your life, you can find more time to nurture new and existing relationships. Independent living, assisted living and other kinds of senior living communities allow you to concentrate on enjoying life by removing responsibilities like caring for a house and lawn, paying household bills or even worrying about what to make for your next meal!

8. Take a class to learn something new.

Learning something new is a wonderful way to stimulate your mind while having fun – and it’s especially valuable if you do it with a friend! Taking a class, whether it’s a wine appreciation class, dance class, painting or pottery, or even an academic course gets you out of the house and interacting with other people. Going with a friend gives you the chance to spend more time together, or, if you don’t know anyone in the class, it’s an opportunity to make new connections with people who share your interests.

9. Help yourself by helping others.

Nothing makes you feel more connected to others than knowing that you’re needed, and volunteering is a great way to help yourself while helping others. When you volunteer, you reap lots of emotional benefits, like a sense of accomplishment and the chance to feel helpful. Volunteering also allows you to meet new people, and when couples, family or friends volunteer together, they get a shared sense of accomplishment and a greater appreciation for each other’s generosity.

10. Get physical.

Human beings are innately physical creatures – it’s why we love a good workout almost as much as a warm hug! Be as physical as your health allows. Exercise daily – it’s not only good for your body and mind, but it can give you a chance to spend time with others who share your preferred form of exercise. Find opportunities to express your affection for others with a hug, a smile, a pat on the hand or arm … even simple touches can have a big impact on how connected you feel to others.