Post date: 9/13/2016
You are faced with many adjustments when you retire. Often, you go from spending days surrounded by coworkers and peers to spending a great deal of time alone. And while a little extra me-time can do you a lot of good, too much isolation is bad for your health. According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, loneliness leads to functional decline.
But how do you make new friends when all the usual methods of making friends have changed? As a child and young adult, you likely made most of your friends through school. As an adult, you made friends with coworkers and fellow parents. But as a retiree, where do you go? How can you find people of a similar age with similar interests? What senior-friendly activities are best for breaking into a new social group?
To help you get started, we’ve rounded up a few of our top tips.
Love working with animals? Reading? History? Have a passion for environmental activism? The best place to find like-minded people is by following your interests. Become a volunteer dog-walker at a local animal shelter, join a book club at your local library or community center, look into efforts with your local historical society or join your city’s chapter of the Sierra Club. It’s easy to strike up a conversation with people when you already have at least one shared interest.
Traveling is almost always fun, but traveling in a group allows ample time for bonding with new friends. From weeks spent exploring another country to a weekend tour of nearby wineries, there are travel opportunities for people of any lifestyle. Reach out to a local travel agent or check out organizations like Senior Tours. It’s easy to sit back, relax and chat when everyone around you is also on vacation.
Whether it’s handing out water to marathon runners, attending a holiday tree lighting, exploring an art festival or checking out local music, nearly every community offers regular events. Best of all, many events are free. If you’re looking for some nearby stress-free entertainment prime for meeting other local residents, your local newspaper’s events calendar is a good place to start.
Relying on the internet for human interaction isn’t always healthy, but it can be a great place to discover opportunities for making new friends offline. For example, you can join a Facebook group for seniors in your area and keep tabs on events, or check out MeetUp to find nearby gatherings of people who share your interests or experiences.
Life has a funny way of separating close friends without either party even noticing. You likely have lost touch with many friends from your past due to distance, life changes and obligations. But now that you have plenty of availability in your schedule, it’s a great time to reconnect. Reaching out to old high school or college buddies can open the door to hours of reminiscing and spark a renewed friendship. Even if they live too far away to see in person, a weekly phone call or video chat can likely do you both some good.
Making friends can be challenging at any age, and especially after you’ve retired. But by using the above suggestions, you can begin building up your social circle and before you know it you’ll have a jam-packed social calendar!
When you’re planning your retirement, one of the most important things is to make sure you’ll be surrounded by people of similar age and lifestyle. Learn everything you need to consider in our free resource, Your Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing a Life Care Community.