Making and maintaining relationships is essential for a high-quality life. Studies have shown social interactions can boost the immune system, slow down physical and cognitive declines, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other medical conditions. Establishing a social life in an assisted living facility can be difficult, though. The following are some tips for meeting and getting to know the people you live with, so you can better enjoy your living environment.
Participate in Activities
An assisted living facility has many scheduled activities for residents. Choose some of the ones you enjoy the most and attend them. Do not focus on feeling awkward because you don’t know anyone. Simply enjoy the activities, and you will likely find speaking to people while you’re having fun will be easier. This will help you meet people with similar interests. From there, you can get to know them better outside of activity times. Go a step further once you are a little more comfortable and try some activities you might not have considered before. You might find something new that you can enjoy.
Give and You Shall Receive
Helping others can be a great way to meet people. When you see someone struggling with something, ask if you can help. As you are helping, engage in conversation. The person will likely be so appreciative you are helping that responding to you will likely be easy for them to do, and they you two can take it from there.
Ask People Questions
People love to help others and they enjoy talking about themselves. Ask for help with something, or ask about hobbies they enjoy. As the person helps you or talks about a hobby, listen and ask more questions. In the course of the conversation, the person may just start asking you questions and that’s how people become connected. This will create a connection based on a genuine concern for others.
Be Open and Willing
Staying in your room for most of the day will not help with your social life. If you’re reading, knitting, or engaging in another activity you enjoy, take it to the main social area. When someone comes close, simply say hello and smile. You can then strike up a conversation with the person if he or she sits near you. It’s likely this person sat near you hoping to meet you or just engage in friendly conversation.
Understand Others Feel the Same Anxieties
You are not the only one who may be feeling lonely. Many of the residents of an assisted living facility want to make friends, but also don’t know how to do so effectively. When you realize that others are feeling similar anxieties, it makes it easier to step forward and engage with them.
Avoid the Gossip and Cliques
Gossip and cliques are common in places where people spend a lot of time together. While it may be exciting to get on the gossip train or be in a clique to feel included, it can cause trouble for you later with your social life. Often times, these “friends” will turn their back on you. Be neutral whenever you hear stories about other residents. Be friends with many different people in and outside of cliques. If some people can’t accept you are friends with someone else, then you may not want to spend time with them. A social life should decrease stress in your life, not cause it.
Make an Effort Today
All you have to do is try. Take the suggestions you’ve just read and use them today. Don’t give up if the first interaction you have doesn’t go as well as you imagine. Not everyone is looking for the benefits of a social life. Keep moving forward with other people, and soon, you may just find yourself smiling, laughing, and having a great time with people you can call friends.
About the author: Greg Nield is the administrator of Ashford Assisted Living and Memory Care in Highland, Utah. He has a degree in administration from Utah Valley University. He can be reached at 801-610-3500 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org