5 Ways to Make Friends at Your New Retirement Home

One of the many shifts a person makes when moving into a retirement community is adjusting their social life to their new environment. Fact is, many can find it a challenge to meet people and make new friends in their new community, and there are a lot of unhelpful mistruths we can tell ourselves that can make this process harder than it has to be.

But adjusting your social life doesn’t have to be difficult, and making new friends is going to be much easier than expected and give you not just more happiness but other tangible health benefits too. Here are some tips to help the process along and ease the transition into your new retirement social life.

Get involved in activities and groups

A professional retirement community like the one at Sundial Lakeview Retirement Residence will feature regular programing and activities for residents. At Sundial, this includes regular musical performances, seasonal baking and craft activities, and fun group outings to go experience nature, or get some shopping done.

These activities are the best way for a new resident to get to know their neighbours and discover common interests. They’re a real icebreaker, even for those who may be more of a wallflower than a social butterfly. So make sure to fill your schedule with as many of these activities and events as you are comfortable with, and be positive and prepared to start chatting with others.

Have a positive attitude about making friends when you’re over 60

A lot of people can make it more difficult to make friends in a retirement community by telling themselves that it is impossible to make friends when you’re over 60. In truth, the ways we meet people socially and make friends are the same whether we are 25 or 65 and are just as effective at any age!

Though a handful of us may settle into a set social group in their later years, many are instead open to meeting new people and making connections with those who they have a good time with and share similar hobbies and interests with -- just like at any other stage in life.

And an active retirement community makes finding these kind of shared activities and enjoyments easy, so long as you maintain the right frame of mind and say “yes” instead of “no” to things you may be hesitant to do, like going on a group outing to the local shopping mall to buy some fun summer clothes. Acting friendly and having a positive attitude goes a long way in making new friends!

Don’t dine alone, share a meal and a conversation!

The dining room is as great a place as any to meet new people. Truth is, conversation and food go together like peanut butter and jam. If you find yourself looking for an easy venue to break the ice and introduce yourself to your new neighbours, look no further than the dining area.

If you’re entering alone and uncertain where to sit, a staff member will be more than happy to direct you to an empty chair at a friendly table for you to meet some new dining companions at. And if you already know someone in the dining room, start by sitting with them and meeting the people they know. Once you all begin your meal and the conversation starts flowing, you’ll find you’ll have some new acquaintances before you’ve even finished desert!

Attend social events like shared birthday parties and mixers

In addition to the more activity-based programming at your retirement community, there will also be regular social events for occasions like birthdays, social mixers and seasonal parties such as Easter, Valentine’s Day and more.

At Sundial Lakeview Retirement Residence, for example, we run a monthly party celebrating all the birthdays from that month. These kind of events are very social and friendly, bringing a good mix of people, food and positive attitudes, that make it easy to strike up a conversation with a friend you haven’t met yet.

Make the first move and say hello!

Don’t wait for others to introduce themselves to you at social gatherings. Even if you are feeling shy or hesitant, swallow your pride and make the first move by saying hello! Introducing yourself and sharing some of your background is a time-tested way of starting a rewarding conversation with someone you don’t know but are likely to have shared interests with.

Even if you just end up talking about the movie you saw the night before in the retirement community’s theatre, or how the arrival of spring flowers is making the view from your suite more enjoyable, putting aside your shyness is a key first step into making new friends in your new home.

The team here at Sundial Lakeview Retirement Residence puts a priority on giving our residents a busy calendar of social events, activities and other things to do. To discover what life at Orillia’s best retirement home is like, book a free tour of our retirement community today. Our staff will be happy to answer any question you have about making the move, and will give you information and guidance that you need to know.