Building a Social Network is Important for Health and Happiness
First of all, congratulations on reaching the point of retirement! You’ve surely worked hard to get to this point and have had many visions of what your retirement may entail. Now it’s time to make those visions your new reality, and live your best life during your golden years,
Second, though, are certain hurdles that need to be cleared in order to thoroughly enjoying life in retirement. When you’re selecting a retirement community, be sure to inspect the social atmosphere to gauge whether you see yourself making new friends and forging bonds with people in the same way you have throughout the other phases of your life. Human connection is vital to happiness and health in an independent living facility, where feelings of isolation and loneliness take hold if you have difficulties fitting in.
Although it may be one of the more daunting aspects of retiring, communities like Southgate at Shrewsbury have vibrant social communities. Our campus is chock-full of friendly and unique residents, as well as staff that are supportive and engaged. There are a variety of ways to facilitate meeting people within your new community and things to make sure you look for—this blog will go over a few to help you get your social life in retirement off to a good start.
Things to Look For
When looking into independent living facilities, be sure to visit and observe the common areas across the campus. Communities like Southgate at Shrewsbury have a diverse and wide variety of facilities for resident use. Be sure to stop by the heath club and make sure the facilities will work for you, as you maintain your physical health in retirement. In addition to a traditional health club, you will find a variety of other spaces in which to meet other residents and gather.
Our facilities include an on-site four-lane bowling alley, a library with a cozy fireplace, billiard and card rooms, a nondenominational chapel and more. Be sure you take a thorough tour and assess the options against your lifestyle. Ask about the existence of groups and clubs you may be interested in, as well as opportunities to connect with the nearby community. If your independent living facility checks these boxes, you will be setting yourself up for happiness in retirement.
In addition to things you should look for, there are things you can do that will enhance your ability to make friends and build a true community within your independent living facility.
Start a Group or Club
You’ve made it to retirement, so it’s safe to assume you’ve built up a fair number of interests and hobbies over the course of your life, so far. Whether you’re an avid reader of a specific genre of literature, a film and television buff or enjoy cooking new dishes from around the world, an independent living facility provides you with a large pool of residents that might have similar interests.
Starting a group or club is great way to introduce yourself to your new neighbors and make new friends. Pick an interest or hobby and think about how you’d introduce it to others at your first meeting. After that, you can put
together announcements to print and post in common areas. Examples of great areas to post at a facility such as Southgate at Shrewsbury would be dining facilities and the cocktail lounge, the health club and spa, the on-campus park and the library.
If you’d like to start a club or group but are short of ideas, this list of 100 hobbies and activities will surely help light the spark.
Get Involved in the Greater Community
Perhaps you are passionate about helping children or the disadvantaged, or you enjoy teaching and mentoring others in the field you used to work in. Maybe you are driven by a specific cause, or you love spending time with animals. If any of those describe you, be sure to find a place for your some of your time within the greater community and spread the word so others can join you on a journey beyond the walls of your independent living facility.
We’ve discussed ways to find mentorship opportunities, in a previous blog post. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities and do not have an organization or cause in mind, try visiting volunteermatch.org and searching in your area. You’ll be surprised at the amount of interesting opportunities exist! Getting together with some of your new neighbors to venture forth and do good things in the world will surely bring good feelings and lead to forging friendships that will be such an integral part of your life in retirement.
It is impossible to understate the importance of developing a healthy social life in retirement, just as it has been in every other phase of your life. Without a career taking up at least eight hours every day, there is more time to fill with whatever you’d like to fill it with. Be sure you fill that time with engaging and stimulating activities that will keep you from feeling left out and feeling lonely. When you enter a retirement community, the possibilities for friendship are numerous and will only enhance this exciting and final phase of your life you’ve worked so hard to get to.