3 Easy Steps to Making New Friends After Retirement

Reviewed and Updated by Addison McNatt,

It’s always tough adjusting to big life changes and, as we get older, those changes seem to come faster and faster. Retiring, moving to a new city, or the death of a spouse can all be overwhelming and foster social withdrawal and isolation. 

In fact, a recent survey of retirees showed that 11% of those questioned said they felt lonely and isolated, and almost half of those had recently moved to a new home. The AARP estimates that 42.6 million Americans over age 45 suffer from loneliness, which has been established as a risk factor for early illness and death, especially among seniors.

Fortunately, staying social is easier than ever in our modern age. Read on and learn some awesome methods for making and maintaining new friendships!

1. Follow Your Passions To Find Friends

It’s not easy knowing how to make friends when you are older. Stanford researchers have even suggested that baby boomers are withdrawing from social relationships more than any other group. 

But finding new friends doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Just ask yourself a few simple questions: what do you like to do? What are you passionate about? What would you like to learn more about? Finding people with mutual interests and passions is the best place to start forging new friendships.

Social Networking for Seniors

More than ever, technology is helping us form and sustain new friendships. A quick Google search will bring you to senior friendship sites like Silversurfers or Buzz50, which feature forums and chat rooms tailored to older adults. 

You can also find countless senior social media groups on platforms like Facebook, which have an increasingly large userbase over the age of 55. Here you can get connected with people online or even find a group that meets in real life. You can look for clubs, classes, or other hobby groups in your area and you’re sure to meet other like-minded social seniors.

2. Getting Out and About

In the social media age, congregating with people who have shared interests can be done from the comfort of your own home. But if you’re feeling cooped up, there are countless ways to meet new senior friends while staying active!

Senior Meetups

A senior meetup is a great place to meet seniors in your area that share your interests or passions. You may find these meetups at churches, gyms, retirement communities, or other places senior citizens hang out. There are even dedicated websites like Meetup.com, which connect you to in-person events based on your location and preferred activity. This helps provide a built-in ice breaker, as you can discuss your common interests.

If you are into photography or arts & crafts, find a workshop at a senior community center where you can advance your skills. If you enjoy cooking but are getting bored of the same old recipes, join a cooking class like the ones offered at Sur La Table. If you’re more of an outdoorsy type, there are groups that go for nature outings. Or you may prefer to find a group that gets together simply to eat, drink, and socialize.

Volunteer Opportunities for Seniors

Another great solution for the social isolation elderly people face is volunteering. This can be a great way to form social connections and do something good for others at the same time. 

Organizations like Senior Corps offer programs that allow retirees to mentor young people, be a companion to other seniors who are less mobile, or share their expertise in community projects like building housing.

The AARP also has a program called the AARP Foundation Experience Corps, where those over the age of 50 can tutor young children to help improve their reading comprehension. This mentoring has an impressive impact on the students, improving their literacy skills by up to 60%.

Senior Fitness Classes

Working up a sweat is a tried-and-true strategy for staving off some of the side effects of isolation, such as depression and anxiety. But it can also be a terrific way to meet new people! 

Active older adults can join a senior fitness program to help keep an exercise routine and chat with other seniors looking to stay in shape. Many of these programs, like Silversneakers®, may be covered by your insurance. If you have Medicare and are considering purchasing a Medicare Advantage plan to cover fitness programs, click here or give us a call at 844-431-1832 to speak with a licensed agent.

Medicare Advantage | Medicare Plan Finder
Medicare Advantage | Medicare Plan Finder

3. Get To Know Your New Friends

Once you have made some new acquaintances, it can be difficult to form a closer bond. Plus, as we get older, we usually have less interest in maintaining superficial or casual relationships. Getting organized and keeping to a routine can help tremendously in developing old and new friendships alike.

Keep A Schedule To Stay In Touch

The best way to uphold and develop a relationship is to keep in contact on a regular basis. As your social group grows, start a calendar.

A well-organized calendar can ensure you never miss a meetup or social event that you want to attend. You can also use your calendar to keep track of birthdays and anniversaries. A simple “happy birthday” can go a long way in strengthening a burgeoning friendship.

Just as modern technology can help us meet new people, it can also help us stay in touch with friends and family alike. On social media platforms like Facebook, you can stay engaged with your social groups, old and new, by liking or commenting on statuses and pictures, as well as posting a few of your own! Emails and phone calls can also keep you in the loop with new friends.

Whichever way you choose to find your new social group, remember that forming long-lasting bonds takes time. If a new acquaintance does not respond to your efforts, try not to take it personally. There are plenty more people out there looking for the same connections you are. Keep searching and don’t get discouraged!

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