As people get older, the friendships they create and nurture become more vital than ever. Connecting with people both personally and socially is not only fun but is essential for living a healthy lifestyle through proper aging.
Of course, there are difficult circumstances and transitions during this period of our lives that can make it more challenging to keep and sustain friendships. However, we cannot deny that these precious bonds are instrumental for seniors.
Let’s discuss how a friendship may look in your older years and why it’s so important to maintain it for your own well-being. We will also offer some tips on how to more easily make friends in senior living in Sacramento.
Connecting With Others Through Group Activities
Seniors that end up feeling isolated from others and forgetting their own sense of purpose are more susceptible to declining emotional and mental health. Frequently, they lack appropriate opportunities to connect with other people, and this leads to a struggle for active and social fulfillment. This might lead to a feeling of general loneliness and can even lead to worse emotions like depression.
Humans are engineered to crave engagement with others. This remains true even as we age, which means that it’s essential to stay proactive in maintaining a healthy social life with your family and friends. Some ways this might be done include spending meal times together, spending more time with the neighbors, joining local activities and events, joining volunteer and outreach programs, or anything else that brings you (or your senior loved one) closer to others.
The Brain Continues to Grow From Social Engagement
Scientists have long believed that our brain has a limited ability to grow and learn. However, according to the latest research into neuroplasticity, our brains will actually continue changing, reorganizing, and creating new neural pathways. In essence, this means that the human brain can adapt and remain sharp and functional well beyond our formative years. But, to receive all of the benefits of neuroplasticity, we must all continue practicing using our brains.
This is a big reason why when seniors engage in social activities, they live longer. Therefore, every senior should strive to nurture and maintain their current relationships as well as forge new ones with the people around them. An activity that’s as simple as card games or trying a new hobby with someone can have a huge effect on improving cognitive health.
Friendships Can Improve Your Health and Immunity
According to research, there are some amazing correlations between health and personal relationships. For example, a comparative study between non-lonely and lonely seniors discovered that lonely seniors had a higher rate of medical problems, including diabetes, hypertension, and heart conditions. And another study, this one from the University of Chicago, discovered that being lonely can significantly increase someone’s blood pressure, especially for older individuals, potentially adding up to 30 points to their blood pressure.
Friendships Can Increase Your Lifespan
According to research from Susan Pinker, a developmental psychologist, her studies into social neuroscience reveal that there’s an important link between our ability to find happiness, learn, resilience, live a longer life, and social connections through face-to-face activities. According to her, humans are hardwired to connect with other humans, whether this is through simpler social bonding or closer personal relationships. All of these social contact points that happen in person essentially create a “village” for each individual that consists of friends, family, and community. This “village” is crucial for our ability to survive and thrive.
Now that you understand the importance of friendship, what are some practical ways we can realize these benefits? Here are some tips for our new residents enjoying senior living in Sacramento!
Making New Friends in Senior Living in Sacramento
Transitioning to a senior living community means socializing and getting to meet new fellow seniors. This may not be a big deal for a natural-born social butterfly, but moving can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for an introverted person.
Fortunately, plenty of senior communities anticipate this; that’s why they created a safe environment where seniors can have numerous opportunities to make friends. But if you or your loved one still worries, here are a few strategies you can do to establish solid and lasting social connections in the community!
Have a Friendly Demeanor
It’s a whole lot easier to approach people with a friendly demeanor and positive vibe, right? Give off this kind of energy by making small gestures of friendliness, such as making eye contact and smiling or greeting residents as you pass them.
Now, this might not be an easy feat for a senior with social anxiety, but you can ease the jitters by doing it on a smaller crowd at first. The more you practice it, the easier it’ll become.
Sign Up for Community Activities
Senior assisted living communities like Regency Place provides engaging activities to residents to keep them active physically, mentally, and socially. Maximize this chance to make new friends by participating in activities that interest you.
Check our facility’s monthly calendar and make sure to join in on a fun activity every day.
Furthermore, you can also ask the community if they have senior groups and clubs that focus on specific hobbies, such as a book club or an online coffee lovers group.
Share Mealtimes With Others
A great way to get to know a person you just met is by inviting them to sit with you during mealtimes. Make lunch or snack times a social event by asking a senior you met in your art class to a meal or, better yet, joining their group.
Once you get over the initial friend-making process with the other residents, you can then proceed to get to know the staff or other family members in the community while enjoying a nutritious snack.
Spend Time With New Fellow Residents
You are probably not the only new resident at our senior living in Sacramento. Chances are, there are plenty of other seniors who just moved in a day or week ago that also need a friendly face in the community.
So what you need to do is to make an effort to get to know your fellow new residents and be each other’s companions. Help each other adjust to the new life and make new friends together!