How to Make Friends When You’re Older: Tips for Staying Active and Avoiding Isolation
Did you know having a social life is important to our physical and mental wellbeing?
Are you wondering how to make friends after 60 years old?
Everyone needs social connections to not only survive but to thrive. However, as people age, they often find themselves spending more time alone. For our bodies and brains to age well, we need social connections.
In this article, we will discuss:
- The importance of creating and maintaining friendships in older age
- Ideas for how to make older friends
- And more
Table of Contents
Why Is it Important to Create and Maintain Friendships in Older Age?
Once the kids are grown and out of the house, or once you have retired, you have more time for friends. What you might be missing are activities that enable you to meet people who share your interests and life experiences.
Older adults are becoming more socially isolated, and many of them feel isolated or lonely regularly.
Despite their differences, loneliness and social isolation are closely related. How?
The feeling of being alone or separated is loneliness while the lack of social contacts and having fewer people to interact with regularly constitutes social isolation.
Studies have linked social isolation and loneliness to:
- Weak immune system
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Cognitive decline
- Alzheimer’s Disease
As you can see, avoiding social isolation is important for both mental and physical health.
Seniors holding exercise balls up in the air
Can You Make Friends When You Are Older?
Do you ever think about how easy it was to make friends when you were a child? There was a time when every social interaction ended with a new friend.
The majority of your friends likely came from school when you were a student and a young adult. You also made friends with your colleagues and fellow parents as an adult.
Making friends after 60 does seem difficult; however, with consistency and effort, it can be done!
11 Tips on How to Make Older Friends
At Senior Services of America, we understand that making friends might not be the easiest thing to do.
If you’re looking for a senior living facility that provides many chances for social interaction, Senior Services of America could be the right fit for you. Find your nearest community to learn more.
Although we provide many activities throughout our communities for you or your loved ones to participate in, allowing for opportunities to create friendships, there are many other ways elders can attempt to make friends.
#1: Join Travel Groups
Travel is sometimes made by seniors to:
- Visit their family
- Learn about their ancestors’ countries; or
- Discover new places
With tours and travel packages tailored to the needs and desires of seniors, travel agencies offer:
- Independent or guided tours
- Budgets for luxury trips: and
- Group and individual travel options
There are tours and trips especially aimed at senior clients that are both fun and accommodating to a wide variety of travelers. A few of these include:
- Bicycle tours
- Overseas tours
- Land and cruise tours; and
- City exploration trips
As well as giving you a chance to visit new destinations and have new adventures, traveling is a great way for seniors to socialize and make friends.
#2: Start or Join Clubs
Who wouldn’t love to spend time with like-minded people who enjoy the same hobbies or activities?
A great way for seniors to make friends is to start or join a club based on mutual interests.
Let’s take a look at some great ideas for clubs to start or join:
- Movie club – get together and watch movies, have snacks, and discuss your favorite parts of the movies
- Book club – get together to discuss your favorite reads
- Game club – pull out those board games and have fun with friends
There are also some great clubs already meeting and they are always looking for new members:
- Red Hat Society – This women’s club is known for its fun-loving members clad in brightly colored clothing
- Toastmasters – A fun way to practice writing and speaking skills
- American Birding Association – Learn about the world around you while making friends
- Meetup – An easy way to find clubs and groups near you
#3: Become a ‘Regular’
Making friends as an older adult can be hard, but it’s even harder without repetition.
You cannot attend an event once and expect to find a bond with your BFF. You need to interact with the same people (or person) multiple times to form a friendship. Keep going to the same water aerobics class, the same book club, etc.
You know the old saying, “If at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again”. Keep it up, and eventually, you will meet your people.
#4: Open Up
When making friends, you have to be willing to talk about:
- Your family
- Your past
- And more
We often hide our inner feelings and thoughts because we’re concerned that they won’t be accepted by others. By doing this, we prevent others from knowing and accepting us.
To make a friend, you have to be a friend. Be willing to open up to others so they will feel comfortable opening up to you.
#5: Explore Online Groups to Find People With Similar Interests
Getting involved in an online group for seniors is a great way to meet and connect with others who share your interests.
Through various online groups, you can:
- Make new friends; and
- Keep up with the latest news about senior health and events
There are many different online groups specifically for seniors, but a few of the most popular are:
- Buzz50 – offers chats, forums, and social networking for seniors over 50
- Older is Wiser – articles, forums, and chats for those over 50
- Gransnet – a site where grandparents can connect with other grandparents
If you decide to take part in an online community, please remember to be safe.
#6: Community Gardening
Do you enjoy gardening? If so, joining a community garden would be a great idea for you!
Community gardens are single plots of land tended by a group of people collectively.
Despite mobility issues and other challenges, a lifelong love of gardening should not be put to rest for seniors.
This leisure activity provides …
… and a host of other benefits that are healthy for the mind and body.
Various gardening tools are even available for seniors and there are methods to assist an aging gardener.
If you have a green thumb, community gardening would be a great way to meet others. Be sure to keep going and become a regular participant.
#7: Seek Out Support Groups
Support groups are a way you could meet others who might be going through the same thing as you.
A few popular types of support groups include:
- Support groups for seniors who have a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia
- Grief support groups for those who have lost a loved one
- Illness support groups for those who might have similar illnesses
- Support groups to help with lifestyle changes (i.e., stopping smoking, shedding pounds, etc.)
When you meet someone who is going through the same thing as you, a powerful bending moment can occur
#8: Take a Class
When you want to keep your mind sharp, stay engaged, and meet new people, continuing your education is a great option. Learning together is the best way to bond with others.
These classes do not have to be solely academic. There are many types of classes, such as …
- Golfing; and
- Learning other languages
… that are often available for seniors.
Take a look at your local university, community college, or senior center, and you might find a new hobby and a new group of friends.
#9: Attend Senior-Focused Exercise Groups
We all know exercise is great for the body and mind, but it’s also a great way to connect with others.
Many gyms offer free or reduced membership fees to seniors. These places offer classes that have been specially tailored for those over 50.
A few places targeting fitness for the senior population include:
- Silver Sneakers – offers free in-person and online classes for those who are 65+
- YMCA – offers many health and well-being programs for older adults
Along with these places, be sure to check out your local gyms and yoga studios. You might find some great classes, along with great prices, right outside your door.
#10: Join a Group Sport
It’s hard to beat playing team sports with like-minded people who share similar abilities for thrills and camaraderie.
Joining a group sport can be a fantastic way for seniors to make friends.
Some popular sports for seniors to participate in include:
- PickleBall; and
Another great idea is walking. Check out local parks for groups. If the weather is bad, consider joining a mall-walker group.
#11: Become a Volunteer
Making a positive difference in your community by volunteering is one way you can meet others.
Several places are always looking for volunteers and are happy to welcome seniors into their groups.
If you’re interested in volunteering, be sure to check out:
- Local charities
- Your local senior center
- Nearby hospitals
- Schools who need tutors; and
- Your local Meals on Wheels program
These are just a few suggestions; you can ask around and find great places to volunteer which are local to you.
As with any activity, consistency is key. Be sure to regularly volunteer and you are sure to find a buddy or two.
Senior Living Can Provide Ample Opportunity for Making Friends as You Get Older
Senior living is a great way to meet new people. Not everyone is ready to make this move, but if you are, senior living facilities often have lots of social activities.
A few activities you might find at senior living facilities include:
- Movie nights
- Foreign language lessons
- Computer skills
- Knitting and crochet groups
- Shopping trips
- Arts and crafts
- And many more
Senior Services of America: Helping Seniors Find Comfortable Housing
No matter if you’re looking for volunteer opportunities or you want to make the most of your retirement years – Senior Services of America can help.
In our senior living communities, seniors can be part of an environment that offers:
- Social oppurtunities
- And more
Senior Services of America’s communities are known for their friendly atmosphere and welcoming environment.
Are you ready to learn more about how we can help you (or your loved one) live out your golden years surrounded by fun, friends, and activities? Find your nearest community today and our advisors will be happy to share more.