Once we reach a certain age, making friends isn’t quite as easy as it once was. Sure, you meet new people, probably regularly – you may even see them every day, if you are still in the workforce or are involved in clubs or organizations. But it becomes harder and harder to build deep, meaningful connections with the new people in your life due to a variety of factors. This can become even more of an issue as you age.

“Loneliness and social isolation are quite common among seniors and retirees,” says Lynda Marino, Marketing Director at Canterbury Woods Gates Circle. “Moving into senior living is one way that seniors can be in an environment where they can stay social and active. However, many new residents are out of practice with making new friends, which can make it seem a little awkward and uncomfortable at times once they move into their new community.”

Lynda says that since there are many already established friend groups at the community – residents who’ve already settled into life and made strong friendships – new residents can feel a little bit like the new kid at school. She explains that this is incredibly common. “No matter how social and extroverted you are, it can still be a little overwhelming or intimidating to try and navigate your way through existing social circles,” she says. “But it’s important to remember that everyone at the community once was a ‘new kid,’ too.”

In fact, she says, there’s really no better place to relearn how to make friends than at a senior community. “Everybody knows exactly what you’re going through because they’ve lived it themselves,” she says. “You’ll find that many people are eager and willing to get to know you, make friends and help you find your way in your new home. There are so many ways to stay social and active at a senior living community because you’re in an environment where everything is designed to be as carefree and enjoyable as possible. With some time, a few strategies and a positive outlook, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you start making friends and developing deep, meaningful and long-lasting relationships.”

How To Stay Social in Senior Living

1. Try something new.
Communities like Canterbury Woods Gates Circle have a full-time Activities Coordinator on staff, and there’s always something fun going on. Whether that’s an outing, a class at a local community college, an ice cream social, a fitness class, a book club or more, there are so many ways to engage. Since you don’t have to do anything except show up (no need to plan or organize anything), activities are some of the best ways to get out and connect with residents in your new community. And they’re a great way to try something new that’s always interested you. Even if you try it and don’t find it to be your cup of tea, at least you’ve done something new and you’ve had the opportunity to meet others in your community. As you continue to try out new things, you’ll find new favorite activities and events while also finding new friends to do those things with.

2. Do something you love.
Trying new things is exciting, but coming back to an activity or hobby that you love can be enjoyable in a very different way. For starters, you’ll meet other people who share the same interest or passion, which is a great basis for kicking off a friendship. If you have a specific interest that perhaps isn’t reflected on the activity calendar, talk with the staff and see about setting up a new activity group based around your interest. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll find yourself surrounded by other residents with whom you have something common immediately.

3. Grab a meal together.
Breaking bread together is a tried-and-true way to strike up a friendship – after all, everyone enjoys eating. Senior communities often have a variety of different dining locales on campus with ever-changing menus and tableside service. Some communities will also help you find different tables to dine at so that you are always meeting new people. When you share a meal with a new acquaintance or friend, you have a perfect opportunity to chat, share stories and find common ground – all good things from which to build a new relationship.

4. Go outside.
It’s hard to meet people when you’re sitting by yourself in your new home or apartment. Instead of staying within your own private four walls, get out and enjoy the common areas of your new community, most of which have beautiful outdoor and indoor spaces where you can play games, read books, take a walk or people-watch. Simply being outside may give you the opportunity to start a conversation. In fact, you may find that people approach you because you’re the ‘new kid’ and they want to get to know you.

5. Buddy up.
You don’t have to go at this ‘making new friends’ thing alone. If you’re on the shyer side or simply don’t know where to start, ask staff members to connect you with other new residents. You’ll be able to bond over your newbie status and maybe even make a buddy with whom you can do things to integrate into community life.

6. Have patience.
Don’t get discouraged if you’re not automatically able to jump right into community life. Remember that friendships take time to develop, and you also have to give yourself the opportunity to adjust to your new chapter of life. The best thing you can do is be patient, be positive and be open to new opportunities. New things can be uncomfortable and even scary, but with time, your situation won’t be so new anymore. Soon, your passing conversations over meals or in the halls will transform into friendships. You’ll start making routines and learning about who in the community shares your interests. Before you know it, you’ll be surrounded by friends, which will help your new home feel more like home.

Join Our Friend Group!
“At Canterbury Woods Gates Circle, our residents are active seniors who can’t imagine living anywhere but here,” Lynda says. “Those who choose our active, independent lifestyle enjoy a community that ensures they remain engaged and connected and provides them with everything needed to live without worry. They’re making friends and living their best lives both on site and off!”

If you’re intrigued by what Canterbury Woods Gates Circle can provide, we have a special offer. If you know someone who could benefit from the Gates Circle lifestyle, refer them to us. If that person moves in, we’ll give you $250. Contact Adam at (716) 247-1870 or asymczak@echa.org for more information.

Continuum of Care
As a Life Care Community, Canterbury Woods Communities provide a comfortable environment and first-rate services to support every level of need. Assisted living apartments allow Gates Circle residents to benefit from additional support while maintaining their independent lifestyle, but if additional support is not needed, independent living is also offered at our Life Care Community. If skilled nursing, rehabilitation or memory care is ever needed, residents can experience the support they require at our sister community in Williamsville.
Contact us today to discover more about Canterbury Woods Gates Circle! (716) 427-6678