Entering life’s second act, when children are raised and careers are built, sounds like a golden pot at the end of the rainbow but often times older adults have found they were so busy getting on with life that looking around, they may not have nurtured important friendships. Single or married, one of our universal fears is that we will die alone and nobody will notice.
Elderly seniors may withdraw from making new friends as long-time relationships fall away due to lack of social contact, dementia and in the end, death. Losing all your friends one by one is difficult to say the least and it takes a positive spirit to risk making a new friend that too may leave you. It’s important to foster friends of all ages and although it may take time, creating a community for oneself in older age is what will make life meaningful, exciting and purpose-driven which ultimately makes for aging well.
Seniors can get involved in volunteer activities, take a class, join a fitness center or a book club to meet people. Try reaching out to at least one friend or acquaintance each week by making a date for coffee, lunch or a hike. You have to leave the house to make friends! Be patient, developing new friendships takes time and appearing too needy may be a turn-off. A dog is a great ice-breaker for starting conversation at a local dog park, as are grandkids; the biggest obstacle may be yourself. If you become too stuck in your habits, it’s easy to become withdrawn, isolated and lonely.
To learn more about making and keeping friends at any age, visit “The Friendship Doctor”, Irene S. Levine, Ph.D. at https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-friendship-doctor .