Staying social is sort of like exercising or eating well — it takes energy and effort but will pay off in the long-run. No matter your age, social connections are integral when living at a long-term care or retirement residence. Of course, your loved ones who live outside of the residence are just as important, but getting to know your neighbors at the residence and establishing these lifelong connections is part of the invigorating and unique long-term care or retirement resident experience.
Social connections are more valuable than we think. Especially when it comes to later stages of life, it can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness and make the experience in long-term care or retirement residences more enriching. Residents who are part of various communities will feel a stronger sense of belonging and fulfillment during the experience – and this in turn will enhance their quality of life. Not to mention, staying active can also have incredible positive effects on mental health, improving overall mood and helping to reduce cognitive decline. With mood increase typically comes healthier habits and a more positive outlook on life.
Here are some recommended ways to develop more meaningful connections with other residents:
1. Participate in more group activities
Most long-term care and retirement residences host a myriad of activities and events for residents to enjoy. Take a look at the activities schedule, or research what local events are happening in your area. It’s also a good idea to connect with other residents to see if they’d be open to forming a group where you can engage in shared interests or activities, such as meeting up at a regular time each week to go for a walk together or creating a book club.
2. Be open-minded about the experience
It can be hard to try new things, but these experiences will lead you towards establishing life-long connections with others and creating new memories together. Understand that many others are going through a similar experience, and making the transition into long-term care or retirement is something common. Being open-minded about the process and actively engaging in the community will make the process easier and you’ll get to meet many great people along the way.
3. Introduce yourself to other residents
Recognize that there’s plenty of opportunity within this experience to meet new people and form strong connections with others. Your breakfast table crew might become your favourite people to play cards with. The opportunities within this experience to establish strong friendships with others are endless, and it all starts by saying hi.
4. Have open and honest conversations with others
You and your neighbors share a community and a home. In addition to your shared experience as a resident of the community, there are many other areas of life in which you can connect on a deeper level. Even outside the walls of your long-term care or retirement residence, you’re likely to have many other experiences to share with one another.
5. Bond over similar interests
Activities arranged by the residence can be a great way to find like-minded people who share similar interests. Whether it’s simply conversational or you become activity buddies with other residents, similar interests can connect people like nothing else can.
Build your community
Expanding your network of friends and folks around you will help foster a strong sense of community within your experience living at a long-term care or retirement residence. Not to mention, connecting with others in a deep, meaningful way is one of life’s greatest joys and at the end of the day, community is what life is all about.
At Omni, we pride ourselves in being a part of building happy communities across Canada. Get to know what life at Omni looks like by contacting us or booking a tour to learn more about our residences and recreational programs.