It can be difficult to socially transition into a retirement community, particularly if friends or family aren't nearby. As verified by a study published in the Industrial Psychiatry Journal, remaining social is vital to limiting psychological stress and improving overall health during the aging process.
"[Elderly] people are faced with numerous physical, psychological and social role changes that challenge their sense of self and capacity to live happily," according to researchers Archana Singh and Nishi Misra of the Defence Institute of Psychological Research.
Though you may be hesitant to reach out in your new home, socializing is ultimately beneficial. Marriage and family therapist Tina Tessina, Ph.D., encourages seniors to start by embracing new friendships. It may come as a surprise to discover how well you can relate to others who are in the same stage of life. Even if your backgrounds are different, it's likely you're experiencing similar trials and tribulations. Seniorplanet.org recommends finding a buddy who is more outgoing than you who can help you break out of your shell in social situations.
Rosemary Lichtman, founder of HerMentorCenter.com emphasizes the importance of reaching out to people, even if you just say hi to a neighbor or the person next to you in line for coffee. You can also join a group that meets regularly, whether it be faith-based or a book club. Try seeking out game nights or free events such as movie screenings or museum passes.
Another way to connect to others is by using the internet. Technology makes it easier than ever before to stay in touch with family and friends around the world using Facebook, Skype and email. There are online communities for seniors, like AARP's community message boards where you can learn about people who are in the same stage of life.
Find more tips on helping a loved-one move into an assisted living community in our getting started resources.