Six Ways to Maintain Friendships After Moving to Senior Living

Senior friends laughing

Throughout life it’s inevitable that our friendships change. New interests, growing personalities and even physical location can become factors in choosing with whom we spend our time. It’s an ever-evolving process throughout life. And as we age, that could mean decreasing our quantity of friends for the sake of higher-quality relationships. But the question is, how do we to keep those cherished relationships going strong — especially as a senior?

Staying connected with your favorite people is a challenge in itself, but often we see unique challenges when individuals relocate to a senior living community. And while it may require different kinds of effort, adjusting to change doesn’t mean relinquishing relationships. In fact, there are plenty of opportunities to maintain bonds — even strengthen them — thanks to the care and support of a new community.


Get a Regular Dose of Fun

Close friends do a lot more than just keep us company or provide the occasional belly laugh. Research shows that a strong network of friends increases your risk of survival over a certain time period by up to 50 percent, as well as having a healthier influence on certain risky behaviors, like smoking and drinking. One study even deduced that not having close friends is as much of a health risk as smoking.

How can we improve our current relationships even with the change of relocating to a senior living community? Check out these fun and creative ways we’ve seen seniors keep their friendship alive — even from afar.


The Calendar Is Your BFF

Too often, friends resort to the line: “Let’s get together soon.” But, let’s be honest, that rarely happens. Hold yourself and your friend accountable by setting a date, time and location for your next gathering. Write it down, or log the event on your phone’s calendar. You can even create an ongoing list of all the things you’d like to do together, so your calendar will be fun-filled and give each of you plenty of quality time to look forward to.


Good Times for Great Causes

Some of the best quality friend time can be spent doing things for others. Find a charity or cause that’s dear to both of you. If it’s something you enjoy and is at an activity level that you’re both comfortable with, it could become a weekly or monthly gathering that not only makes you happy spending time together, but also helps others. Your local senior living community might already offer outings like this.

Older woman smiling

Location Is Nothing

Depending on your distance, reaching out over social media may be an easy alternative to regular visits. If you’re not familiar with social media, but interested in the possibilities, have a close friend or relative set up an account for you. Alerts can notify you when your friend has posted pictures or comments.


If you’re not into social media, try getting access to FaceTime video calls. Many senior living communities offer technology resources to help keep you in touch with loved ones. It’s a great way to make friends feel closer. If nothing else, there’s always the good old-fashioned weekly phone call.


Host a Housewarming

There’s nothing like bringing long-time friends to your new home and showing them around. Planning an event like this is great motivation to get all of your rooms arranged and guest-ready. Plus, while they’re there, introduce your old friends to new friends, because building a bridge between all of your closest relationships is a great way to keep them included in your new chapter of life.


Reach Out First

Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and instigate a gathering. They may be waiting on your signal, especially since you’ve just undergone a big transition. Invite them over. Ask for their help in a moving task. Your closest friends will always jump at an opportunity like this. And if you’re able, perhaps you can help them when they may go through a transition period as well.


Follow Up Last

Showing appreciation is a great way to keep a strong friendship going. If someone traveled to see you, brought you a gift or even just took the time to reach out, a thank you card or phone call is a great way to let them know how valued they are. It’s also the perfect opportunity to schedule your next fun outing.

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