If you’ve ever watched children at the park, you know how quickly friendships are formed. A small group might be playing hide-and-seek, and a newcomer dashes over with a breathless, “Can I play?” In most cases, the reply is a resounding, “Sure!” and thus – instant friends.
If only it were that simple as adults! Friendships for seniors provide people with many great benefits, and they are particularly important for those who have had to endure COVID-related isolation protocols. So how can you assist the older adults you love to increase socialization and make some new friends? Short of jumping into a pick-up game of tag, try these strategies:
- Join a club. Discuss topics of interest together with your family member: knitting, reading, gardening, fishing, sports. Then, search online for groups in your area that meet to enjoy those activities together. The neighborhood senior center could be a good resource as well. In the event that you can’t find an already-established group, consider establishing one of your own!
- Take a class. Community colleges frequently offer reduced-cost (or no-cost) classes for older adults. Browse through an online list of courses to find one or more that spark the senior’s curiosity and sign up. Don’t forget to consider health and fitness classes too! Oftentimes, fitness programs tailored especially to seniors can be found at the local gym.
- 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 study groups and programs 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’s likely a virtual version available!
Once participating in new activities such as these, it may still be difficult to understand how to bridge the gap from an acquaintance to a friend. Help the older adult keep in mind that in all likelihood, everyone else in the room is feeling the same trepidation and self-consciousness to some degree. With those children from the playground in mind, encourage the senior to make the first move to start a friendly, pleasant conversation. Sometimes all it takes is one individual fearless enough to start the ball rolling to kick off an enduring friendship!
If you need a senior caregiver in Victoria, BC or the surrounding areas, Serenity Home Care is here for you! We carefully match each person with a caregiver who shares a comparable personality type and interests, resulting in a fast and strong bond between the two. Call us at 250.590.8098 for a no-cost in-home consultation to get started!