As your parents get older, friends inevitably pass on or move away, leaving them with few or no friends they can regularly spend time with. Although this is a common experience, it’s definitely a cause for concern, especially if your parent lives alone.
Why Making Friends Is Important for Seniors
Why is building and maintaining friendships so important for seniors? Older adults, especially those who live alone, are susceptible to loneliness and social isolation, which can lead to a range of physical and mental health conditions, including:
- Increased risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.
- A 50% increased risk of dementia.
- A 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.
- Higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
If you’re worried about your parent’s lack of friends, here’s how you can help:
5 Ways To Help Your Senior Parent Make Friends
1. Help Them Make the Move to Senior Living
The best way to help your aging parent make and keep friends is by encouraging them to move into a senior living community. Communities are designed to facilitate and encourage building and maintaining relationships. The ideal community will offer recreational and social opportunities both on the premises and out in the local area.
At Eagle Flats Village, we offer:
- A packed social calendar for residents: regularly scheduled events, games, activities, and other opportunities for socialization and recreation
- Frequent visits from community members from Vernon and the surrounding area
- Church services on Sundays
- Transportation into and around the Vernon and Wilbarger County area
Find out more about life at Eagle Flats Village.
2. Encourage Them to Volunteer
If your parent is able to, encourage them to volunteer. Volunteering is not only an excellent way to make friends, it can also give meaning to their days. Many seniors find it hard to cope with retirement and aren’t sure what they should be doing with their free time.
3. Help Them To Meet Friends Online
Older adults are more tech-savvy these days and Facebook is an especially popular social media platform with seniors. If your parent uses Facebook, or you think they’d like to, encourage them to use it to make friends. There are thousands of Facebook groups that are dedicated to bringing people together. Your parent can use Facebook groups to connect with people who share their interests or with other seniors. They can also use Facebook to search for and reconnect with old friends.
Meetup.com is also a popular choice. Meetup allows users to join groups of people who share their interests and to actually meet up with them in-person.
A word of caution: Make sure your parent is familiar with common online scams and knows to never give out personal information. Many scams are targeted to older adults who might not realize that they are being taken advantage of. And when it comes to meeting in-person, make sure they’re aware of the dangers and only meet up with others in safe, public places.
4. Encourage Them To Spend Time at a Community Senior Center
Most towns and cities offer a senior center where seniors in the community can gather. These centers often offer a free daily meal for local seniors, as well as games and other opportunities for fun and socializing.
5. Help Them to Attend Religious Services
If your parent is religious, attending religious services or joining a faith-based group (like a bible study group or church choir) can be a great way to meet like-minded people. If your parent struggles with getting around, they can find religious groups that meet or discuss topics online.
FYI: At Eagle Flats Village, we offer church services right here in our community!
Making Friends Is Easy for Seniors at Eagle Flats Village
We believe that life doesn’t stop after 60! In fact, many seniors feel that their later years are the best years of their life. When the responsibilities of a career or raising a family are over with, you can truly get to know yourself and what you want out of life. At Eagle Flats Village, we do everything we can to encourage our residents to stay social, active and engaged, follow their hearts, and live life to the fullest.
If you aren’t sure if Senior Living at Eagle Flats Village is right for you, you can take a test drive with a respite stay! Schedule your visit today.
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