Downsizing and other life changes often find seniors leaving their comfort zones to move to new neighborhoods or regions of the country. It can be difficult to leave those comfort zones behind, especially when it means saying goodbye to close friends or family members. Establishing new social circles as a senior can be challenging. But with a little effort and the right attitude, seniors can meet new people and enjoy the excitement that comes with new friendships.
• Join a club. If you have a particular hobby or interest, rekindle it in your new location. Find a local gardening club, church-sponsored organization or fitness center where you can meet like-minded men and women. Ask the real estate agent who helped you relocate to make suggestions on where to find community information and read community notices in the local newspaper.
• Get a dog. Dogs make great companions inside of the house and also serve as an ice breaker when you are outdoors. Take plenty of walks and take advantage of opportunities for conversation when people come up to you to inquire about your dog. Explain your situation and you may make some new friends along the way.
• Volunteer your time. Many people make new friends through volunteering. Volunteer and you're likely to meet people who share the same interests as you. Sign up with a favorite charity or volunteer at nonprofit events and look for familiar faces. Start talking to those people you meet again and again.
• Participate in church events. Places of religious worship are often cornerstones of a community, and they frequently host different events to get parishioners or members together. Read the bulletin and get involved in pot lucks, retreats, movie nights, and other church-sponsored events.
• Work at a school. Schools also serve as hubs of community activity. Volunteer or work for a local school and you will soon find yourself immersed in your community's weekday hustle and bustle. This is a great way to meet people and learn more about your new neighborhood in the process.
• Host your own party. Go out on a limb and plan a "new to the neighborhood" party. Put invitations in neighbors' mailboxes and invite everyone over for snacks and cocktails. Remember, neighbors may be just as nervous about new faces as you are, and a party is a great way to break the ice.
Change can be hard for people seniors starting out in new communities. With some gumption and a few strategies to get started, anyone can expand their circle of friends.