When it comes time to move into an independent or assisted living community, many seniors fear changes in their relationships, especially when it comes to friends. Fortunately, when you move to an independent or assisted living community, it doesn’t mean you have to leave all your friends behind. In fact, it means the exact opposite.
According to Diane Reier, Lifestyle Specialist at Grandbrier of Prospect Heights, a senior living community in Prospect Heights, IL, depending on where your independent or assisted living community is located, you might actually get to see your friends more. “When seniors choose a community that is close to their friends and family, many find that they have more free time to spend time with them,” says Diane. “Without needing to worry about cleaning, cooking or keeping up with a house, seniors in independent and assisted living have much more free time to do as they please. If seniors are fairly independent and they still drive, they can either go visit their friends or their friends can come to the community. If not, creativity becomes a little more necessary. Either way, maintaining friendships after a move to a community is not only easy, but a great idea, too.”
Seniors who are engaged and connect with their friends are often happier and healthier. This is because there is less opportunity for isolation, which means that seniors are less likely to become depressed or anxious, keeping their bodies and minds healthier for longer.
Maintaining Friendships in Independent or Assisted Living
While you may not be in walking distance from your friend’s or neighbor’s house anymore, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up your friendships. Finding creative ways to maintain friendships while strengthening your bond is fairly simple. Try some of these ideas if you are having trouble.
Meet them for coffee. It’s always nice to catch up with friends over a cup of coffee – or tea. Consider having your friend visit you at the cafe at your community or go to your favorite local hangout.
Invite them to community events. Some independent and assisted living communities allow guests at certain events. Talk to the staff and see if there are any special events coming up that you are able to invite them to.
Go on outings with them. It always feels good to go on a day trip. If you are able, plan a small day trip with your friend and do something you’ve both always loved to do or something that you want to do. Enjoy each other’s company and have fun. These trips can help you bond and strengthen your friendship.
Talk to them on the phone. Never underestimate the power of talking on the phone. If you are unable to go visit your friend, and they are unable to visit you, it’s possible to maintain a friendship by talking to your friends on the phone. If you’d prefer to see them, there are other options such as Skype® and FaceTime® that can allow you both to see each other.
Write letters. Sending letters back and forth can help you communicate and have something to look forward to. Not too many people send letters anymore, so it can be a nice little routine that only the two of you have together. Send pictures back and forth as well so you can have them to hang up!
Arrange a ride to take you to visit. If you are no longer able to drive, arrange for someone to pick you up. Many times, either your friend or a family member may be available to. Be sure to plan well in advance so you know when you’ll need a ride and be able to find someone who is available.
Making New Friends at an Independent or Assisted Living Community
Remember that even though you have friends outside of your independent or assisted living community it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make new friends within the community. If you are having trouble making friends, try some of these tips.
Join clubs that interest you. If you love to read, join a book club or if you love to exercise, join a walking club. This can help you find others with common interests and can help you connect with others.
Take advantage of programming. Just like with clubs, programming can help you make friends. Go to different events and don’t be afraid to talk to others who show up. Remember, there are plenty of programs to be a part of, so the chances to meet new people are great.
Begin a wellness routine. If you find health and fitness important, go to the community’s gym. If they offer classes you might like and would like to join, don’t be afraid! Not only can your health benefit but so can your social life!
As the old saying goes, “make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.” While maintaining relationships with your old friends is fantastic, it’s important not to miss out on the connections and the friendship of other residents. In fact, you may find yourself with a friend group of both new and old friends who all get along perfectly.
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Live Well Beyond Ordinary at Grandbrier
Offering Independent, Assisted Living and A Knew Day Memory Care, Grandbrier of Prospect Heights is a distinctive senior living community designed to offer seniors residing in the Chicago Northwest Suburbs area a fresh alternative to “typical” senior living communities.
Grandbrier of Prospect Heights provides residents with the ideal balance of personalized support, dignified privacy and enhanced independence complemented by luxurious amenities and our life-enriching, award-winning VIVA!SM programming by Pathway to Living™.
Managed by Pathway to Living™, an innovator in senior living, Grandbrier offers the choice of a private studio or a one- or two-bedroom apartment and the beauty of a brand new community, stunningly appointed and decorated for unsurpassed comfort and style by the award-winning senior living design firm, Thoma-Holec Design, Inc.
For more information, please call Diane or Janette, Lifestyle Specialists, at 847-243-6920.
Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Grandbrier of Prospect Heights for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.