March 17, 2022 by Dean Bellefeuille

group of happy senior ladies

If you’ve ever observed kids on the playground, you know how effortlessly friendships are formed. A small group might be playing tag, and a newcomer rushes over with a breathless, “Can I play?” More often than not, the response is a resounding, “Sure!” and thus – instant friends.

If only it were that easy as adults! Friendships provide us with a wealth of benefits, and are especially essential for seniors following any kind of COVID-related isolation protocols. So how are you able to help the seniors you love to boost socialization and make some new friends? Short of jumping into a pick-up game of hide-and-seek, here’s how to make friends as a senior citizen:

Join a club. Discuss topics of interest with your family member: knitting, reading, gardening, sports, fishing. Next, search online for groups in your area that meet to enjoy those activities together. The neighborhood senior center is likely to be a good resource as well. In the event that you cannot find an already-established group, consider starting up one of your own!

Take a class. Community colleges often offer reduced-cost (or no-cost) classes for older adults. Browse through an online list of classes to locate several that spark the senior’s curiosity and sign up. Don’t forget to check out health and fitness classes too! Many exercise programs geared especially to older adults can be found at the local gym or YMCA.

Attend religious services. Many seniors stayed away from religious services during the pandemic. As it becomes safer to venture out, religious organizations are a good way to both build faith and friendships, frequently offering weekday programs and study groups in addition to worship services.

Get involved virtually. There are infinite opportunities to meet others remotely – even more so since the pandemic caused us to think outside of the box. From online games to yoga to learning new languages, whatever the interest, there is likely a virtual version available!

Once participating in new activities such as these, it can still be difficult to understand how to make friends as a senior citizen rather than just acquaintances. Help the senior remember that in all likelihood, everybody else in the room is feeling exactly the same trepidation and self-consciousness to some degree. With those children from the playground in mind, encourage the senior to make the first move to start a friendly, welcoming conversation. Sometimes all it will take is one person fearless enough to break the ice to kick off an enduring friendship!

Our dedicated caregiving companions for home care in Syracuse, NY are fantastic friends for older adults too! We carefully match each person with a caregiver who shares a similar personality type and interests, leading to a quick and strong bond between the two. Email or call us at 315-579-HOME (4663) for a free in-home consultation for more information!