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Building New Friendships as an Older Adult

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Building New Friendships as an Older Adult

Life has stages. And an important component of each stage is the people—family and friends—you interact with daily. This human connection adds dimension, meaning, joy, fulfillment, and more to each and every day.

But, as you may already have discovered, life’s stages can bring significant change when it comes to the family and friends who occupy your daily life. For instance, gone are the Friday night sleepovers, movies, and popcorn with your granddaughter. She now spends those special evenings with teenage friends—and that’s OK. In years gone by, neighbors would pull up their lawn chairs and join you—with a favorite bottle of wine—to watch your children ride their bikes. Many of these summertime buddies have left the neighborhood, to downsize and initiate plans for their next life stage—active senior living.

The truth is, life is a constant cycle of new acquaintances and friendships, and it’s so important as you age to nurture these relationships for your health and well-being. Seniors need to be social and connected through all of life’s stages. According to experts, most notably the National Institutes of Health, social isolation places older adults in jeopardy of poor health, both physically and mentally.

Here’s some additional insight for building new friendships as you age. With the help of Marilyn McGinty, Director of Activities at The Glenview at Pelican Bay, we’ll show you how the residents and staff at this senior living community promote new meaningful and life-affirming relationships through activities for seniors planned with the added goal of fostering new friendships.

Know What’s Out There

If you’re an older adult, be aware of opportunities for social engagement and relationship-building that exist within your surrounding community. These opportunities are all around you if you just take a moment to think about them. Consider programs and activities offered by local groups and organizations—and not just those designed specifically for seniors. Investigate these six ways to meet new friends and stay active within your surrounding community:

  1. Your City—Local senior centers for wellness and social activities; city council for community event-planning like holiday parades and picnics; or the parks department if you have an interest in sharing gardens around the city.
  2. Your Church—Service and volunteer workers are always needed; special events are also planned to promote fellowship and connection for all ages.
  3. Other Civic or Military Organizations—Groups like the Veterans of Foreign Wars are often open to the public, especially for former service members and their relatives, and they offer a full slate of social opportunities.
  4. Local Colleges/Universities—Consider auditing a class or taking part in a speaker series, then go for coffee after class to get to know your classmates better.
  5. Volunteer Opportunities—Local cultural centers, art galleries/museums, etc., are always looking for docents and greeters for their special events and showings.
  6. Schools and Hospitals—Elementary school teachers often need adults to read to students; and hospitals and medical centers welcome volunteers. These resources offer great ways to interact with adult professionals, too, and associate with a whole new group of friends.

Once you’ve done your homework, request event calendars and registration information, and follow up with your contacts. Then, get out and go for it—meet new friends!

How The Glenview Helps Promote New Friendships

Marilyn McGinty and the entire Activities Department make sure residents know their options for socialization in all areas like those above—both within The Glenview and in the surrounding community.

“As Activities Director, I lead an Activities Committee of eight residents of The Glenview,” says Marilyn. “We meet the first of the month to determine future scheduled activities. Our residents make up a very friendly, active community of seniors. Therefore, our committee specifically focuses on activities and events that our residents enjoy, and at the same time, will help foster healthy new friendships for all residents.”

Here are some events and activities that offer great opportunities socializing at The Glenview according to Marilyn:

Regularly Scheduled Games. There are many opportunities for old and new residents to socialize and get acquainted while playing popular games. “Bridge, Mah Jongg, Mexican Train, Hand/Knee/Foot, and Indoor Carpet Croquet are current favorites, and a resident just introduced BananaGram, a new game similar to Scrabble that is catching on,” says Marilyn. All residents are encouraged to join the monthly Bingo Games. Half of the winnings goes to a Scholarship Fund for employees of The Glenview.

Popular Regular Activities. The Art Room, located on the first floor of The Glenview, is a popular gathering place for meeting new friends while expressing one’s artistic talent. “Residents attend workshops to learn new arts and crafts,” says Marilyn. “And a group of new friends recently made small hand-painted gifts to present to the graduates and members of our dining staff. On Easter Weekend, our resident artists had an amazing showing off their work in The Glenview Room.”

Marilyn and her staff make sure the physical and spiritual needs of The Glenview residents are also part of the community Activities Calendar. Instructors provide a variety of group exercise classes for residents six days a week in the first-floor exercise room, and the community’s beautiful new swimming pool plays host to popular Aquacise classes. Regular religious services are available and include Holy Eucharist, Catholic Mass, and services directed by the Moorings Presbyterian Church.

Organized Clubs and Groups. One way to find new friends—seniors who enjoy the same things you do—is to join a special interest group or club. Marilyn and her Team make sure numerous clubs are readily available to all who want to participate. And, if an interest group doesn’t exist, they will help residents start one. These clubs offer a low-stress, organized way to meet people.

Special Events. Marilyn and her staff schedule popular entertainers months in advance to secure outstanding, gifted artists who’ve been educated in schools such as Julliard and performed in Carnegie Hall or on Broadway. Many have appeared with celebrities including Marvin Hamlisch, Pete Fountain, Al Hirt, Engelbert Humperdinck, and Dolly Parton! “These evenings include cocktail parties where residents gather to meet old and new friends,” says Marilyn.

Residents also look forward to regular lectures from our many educational speakers including a dean of history from a local college, a resident who shares astronomical images from an observatory in Chile, and a Civil War buff who brings historical events to life in his presentations. Monthly resident-requested movies are popular pastimes. They’re a good way to mix, mingle, meet new friends, and then enjoy a beverage together while talking about the movie after the credits roll.

Pelican Bay Beach Club and Community Center. Residents of The Glenview enjoy all the pleasures of membership at The Pelican Bay Beach Club and Community Center. The amenities here provide residents with new ways to develop friendships. Organized activities. Recreational options. Dining options. Opportunities to learn more about a familiar face, share a table, and potentially become fast friends.

There are so many ways to enjoy each and every day at The Glenview. But we know our residents are an active bunch who want to continue experiencing all that Naples and the surrounding area have to offer. The Pelican Bay Beach Club and Community Center is just one way we help make this happen. Marilyn’s Team also coordinates boating trips and excursions, visits to the zoo and botanical gardens, performances at The Phil (Artis Naples), and much more.

Break Bread Together. The dining experience at The Glenview is second-to-none, and friendships are always fueled by sharing meals. There are so many opportunities to dine with others at The Glenview. Exquisite restaurant-style dining boasts a menu hand-selected by our executive chef, featuring fresh, in-season meats and produce. Seafood, fruits, and vegetables are delivered daily. Dining plans offer the flexibility to dine when and where you’d like. Marilyn and her Team work with the dining staff to celebrate holidays, birthdays, The Kentucky Derby, Super Bowl Sunday, and a Valentine/Bridge Luncheon—just a few more opportunities for meeting neighbors that are sure to become friends.

“But I won’t know anyone there . . .”

. . .  as an older adult contemplating that next Life Stage for yourself, you might well be thinking this concerning The Glenview. Can you see how making new friends will be easy when you’re surrounded by fellow homeowners in a community that’s lively with activities and opportunities for social engagement? Explore our website to see what makes The Glenview such a wonderful place to make and keep friends in retirement. And then contact us for a personal tour.

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