How to Make Friends in Assisted Living

Friendly laughs at lunchtime

Socialization and maintaining friendships positively impact seniors in so many ways. Staying connected to others around you improves your state of mental health by boosting self-esteem and decreasing feelings of isolation and depression. Being social also improves your physical health. More social people are reported to have fewer colds, lower blood pressure, and a stronger immune system. Keeping that in mind, we know that making friends as a senior moving into a new place can be intimidating. If you or a loved one has just moved into an assisted living community and are not sure where to start, check out our tips on making new friends, from our assisted living team in Cape May County.

#1 – Get involved

Like a swimming pool, it’s best to take a deep breath and dive right into community life. If you’re unsure of how to get involved or what your options are, start by looking at the social calendar. This will have details about events going on, clubs you can join, and outings that are planned over the next few months. While it’s a great idea to start with activities you enjoy, remember that moving to an assisted living community creates the perfect opportunity to try something a little different, so don’t be afraid to think outside your comfort zone and look at a new skill or develop a new interest.

#2 – Bring along a friend or loved one

Feeling nervous about all the new faces? Bring someone familiar along with you! Most communities love to have friends and family participate, and you can talk to the associates on-site about having a loved one come along for a social event or a meal. This will help you gain confidence and not feel intimidated, as well as give you someone to talk to. It’s a good idea to choose a loved one or friend that’s quite social and extroverted too, as they can help you break the ice more easily, start conversations, and introduce you to other residents.

#3 – Socialize at meals

Even if your apartment has its own kitchen, try to eat in the communal dining room as often as you can. Not only is this convenient when it comes to mealtimes, but it will also help you meet new people. Meals are a great time for bonding and sharing, creating an easy and relaxed source of conversation, whether it’s about your favorite foods or family recipes, or memories you’ve shared over meals with loved ones. Welcome other residents to your table, sit with someone who is eating alone, or even share a wave and a smile when you walk in, and you’ll start learning names and faces in no time at all.

#4 – Take it easy on yourself

Making friends isn’t always easy or quick, so be patient with yourself and others, and take it slow. Start with small, simple steps each day – lunch in the dining room, joining a session for the book club, or even just asking your neighbor over for coffee. Don’t be afraid to ask the caregivers for a little help or have a friend come help you break the ice, and before you know it, you’ll be fitting right in!

At The Shores, we know that a healthy and happy community is the best recipe for your golden years. With a lively social calendar, a wide range of clubs, and outings scheduled each month, we love bringing people together and seeing our residents thrive. To find out more about making friends in assisted living or assisted living in South Jersey, contact us today or visit our website at

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