“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey in it.”
We all need help now and then to make new friends. Older parents are no exception. When parents move to a new town, a new home, or cannot get out like they used to, they may lose connections. Help him or her to make friends by finding common interests with others. Children may now need to be their social network.
A few weeks ago my mother was asked to introduce a woman, who had just moved to town, to their local senior center. My mother spent a lot of time on the phone with her first talking about the center and then making plans to meet up. They set a date to visit the center and the woman has since signed up for some classes she was interested in.
Sometimes all it takes is a nudge to make a new friend.
7 Ways to help an older parent make new friends:
- Introduce an older family member to others. Be aware of all the places that you and a loved one go that you can keep conversations flowing with others.
- Help a loved one sign up for a class. This can be a class where he participates alone or a class that you both can take together. A cooking class, a fly fishing class, a book club, or a cake decorating class might be a fun one to take together. Whether it is at a recreation center, senior center, store, library, or other place that offers classes, it’s worth looking into. These are great places to meet new people.
- Get a loved one involved in church groups. There are so many friends to be made at these groups and usually many people there to make someone feel welcome. If your loved one belongs to a certain church, check it out.
- Volunteer organizations are nice communities that come together for a common goal. Volunteers can have a lot in common. There are so many ways to volunteer. Finding out what your loved one is interested in helping with is the first step. Or maybe they have always been a part of an organization where they can continue to help.
- Being active in the community, for example, going for walks and visiting with the neighbors are great ways to keep a parent involved in the life of the neighborhood. The same with going to a store or going out to lunch offers us the chance to visit with the people who work there.
- Not only can we make new friends with people, but with animals too. Bringing pets to visit with your family member, visiting a neighbors pet, or volunteering at an animal shelter are ways to be social as well.
- If your loved one is living in senior housing whether it be assisted living, long-term care, etc… you can still encourage friendships by visiting frequently and helping her to get involved in activities and groups there.