Helping Your Loved Ones Make Friends in Their New Senior Living Residence

Helping Your Loved Ones Make Friends in Their New Senior Living Residence

October 4, 2021

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While your relative or friend moving further away from you and your family might be difficult, you can rest easy knowing that they’ll have the time of their life while living in a senior living community. 

One of the unfortunate side effects of getting older is that our loved ones get older too. Grandparents, parents, and other relatives start to age and need more of our support. Eventually, some of the people who have been such a big part of our lives, who have loved and cared for our children, who we’ve seen every week, enjoyed holidays with and had plenty of fun with, can no longer live in their own homes. 

To live happily, and enjoy what is left of their lives, it’s often a good idea for elderly people to move into assisted living facilities. These communities help to take care of their physical and mental health needs. They provide round-the-clock care, which improves their quality of life. But they do so much more than this. Living in assisted living means that our loved ones can avoid the isolation and loneliness that so often comes with getting older. They can even make new friends, enjoy new hobbies, and relish the chance for a new lease of life. 

While your relative or friend moving further away from you and your family might be difficult, you can rest easy knowing that they’ll have the time of their life while living in a senior living community. 

But it’s important to understand that those first few weeks and months can be difficult. Older people are often set in their ways, they rely on routines, and they struggle with change. They might find settling in challenging, and a whole new way of life, so late on in life, can be overwhelming. One of the best things that you can do to help them is to make sure they can make friends in the community. Friends will make everything else easier. Here are some ways that you can help them to do this. 

Find the Right Community

Choosing the right Senior Living residence will make all of the difference. You want somewhere close to home, but also somewhere that offers more than just health care support. Try to find senior living in a great location, with plenty of opportunities to get outdoors, but also somewhere that offers fitness programs, social activities, clubs and groups, family days, a library, and other facilities. Belmont Village Senior Living gives residents fantastic opportunities to build relationships with their neighbours and gives them easy ways to get more involved in the community. 

Helping Your Loved Ones Make Friends in Their New Senior Living Residence

Encourage Them to Get Straight into Things

Your loved one might be tempted to withdraw. They might feel more comfortable taking their time, settling into things before they join groups, or start talking to new people. 

Encourage them to leap right in. Sit with them and look at what’s on offer. Take a look at times and locations, and make plans with them, to make sure they know where they can be and when. Make things as easy for them as you possibly can. 

Lead By Example

One of the easiest ways to help them make friends is to hold their hand. When you visit, accompany them to groups and clubs. Say hello to people that you pass in the community, and even cook a meal to invite their new neighbours to. Making new friends can be nerve-racking and having someone that you already know in the group can make things easier.

Visit Often and Take the Kids

Kids are a fantastic way to make friends. Think of all of the moms and dads that you have spoken to on the school runs over the years. Some of these might have turned into friends, while others have remained polite acquaintances, but they’ve all been important social contacts. As a lonely older person, struggling to adapt to a new environment, all kinds of contact are important. 

Take your children to visit and you’ll automatically give your loved one something in common with all of the other grandparents in there, as well as an easy way to have fun. 

Older people generally love to play with kids, and everyone will be happy to see younger faces around. 

Take Cake

Taking the kids is great but taking cake is another option. Food brings people together, it gives you an easy way to open an invitation to a new friend, and it makes people more likely to have a comfortable conversation. Start taking a cake or cookies, and then follow up with a full dinner party or picnic to cement relationships and meet more people. 

Helping Your Loved Ones Make Friends in Their New Senior Living Residence

Take Them Out

Sometimes it’s hard to make friendships when there’s nothing new to say. If your loved one spends their days in the same community, with the same people, doing the same things, they might feel as though there’s nothing to say or no way to find common ground.

When you visit, take them out for the day. Visit new places, take them to your home and to visit other people and spend time exploring together. They’ll go home with plenty of stories and experiences to share, as well as some ideas of things that they could do with their new friends. 

Know When to Back Off

No one likes being pushed into things too hard. Nor do we like being forced to be friends with people when it doesn’t feel right. By all means, get involved, talk to people, invite people to eat cake, and encourage your relatives to attend groups and clubs. But, if relationships aren’t forming, don’t try to force things. If your loved one is uncomfortable and withdrawing more, give them some time to adjust instead of pushing. Know when to back off, and remember, it’s ok for them to take their time. 

Loved ones moving into assisted living communities can be a big adjustment for everyone. You’ll probably spend some time worrying about them and trying to help them fit in. That’s all normal. The best thing that you can do for them is to keep in touch. Help them to get more involved and be there for them when they need to chat or ask for advice.

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