When you think about the friendships you developed in the course of your life, where did they begin? Maybe they started in childhood during recess at school or, perhaps, in the lunchroom. Other friendships develop through work relationships. No matter your age, whether you’re 9 or 69, friendships can be tricky to create and maintain. However, the older a person gets, the harder it may be to develop relationships because of a lack of opportunities or age-related issues. If you’re an older adult who wants to increase your socialization and develop friendships, there are steps you can take to help make this an achievable goal.
Becky Peak, senior companion coordinator at Elderserve, recommends faith-based organizations, senior centers, and congregate meal sites as starting places for older adults to seek activities that put them in contact with individuals with shared interests. Elderserve is another resource, which helps connect older adults with each other and strives to be a premier support for helping seniors thrive. As companion coordinator, she encourages her companions — independent older adults who volunteer to check on older home-bound clients or those who have other issues —to ask questions that go beyond just “How are you?” and “Do you need anything?” A question like, “Did you ever go kite-flying in the summer?” is open-ended and allows individuals to reminisce and find common experiences.
How to Stay Social in a Pandemic
Sheltering at home is wreaking havoc on everyone’s social lives, but especially seniors, who may not have smartphones or know how to use Zoom. During this time, it is especially important for older adults to contact family and friends whether that be through the phone or mailing letters. Most importantly, Dr. Mazhar Salim says, “Please do not suffer in silence. Reach out and ask for help.”
P.S. How to use technology to keep in touch with your friends.
BY CARRIE VITTITOE