There’s a common misconception that when you move to assisted living, you escape into a fortress. When in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Not only are you free to come and go as you please, but you can also welcome visitors, easily make new friends of your community neighbors, and, in some cases, have a friend accompany you on group outings.
If you’re making the move to assisted living, you may be concerned about your current friendships. Here are a few tips to help you keep those connections active long after moving day.
Set a Date
Make it clear to your friends that you plan to stay in touch. If you’ll be close by, set a date to get together either weekly or monthly. Many assisted living communities will help you line up transportation to and from your planned outings. Not only will getting together for coffee or lunch help you keep those friendships going, but it will keep your social schedule full, in addition to the many activities you’re participating in where you’re living.
Invite Friends to Visit
Your assisted living community will have common areas for spending time with visitors. Invite your buddies to stop by on a regular basis. If your assisted living community allows you to have guests for dinner or outings, have one of your friends as your “plus one” occasionally. As you make new friends, you’ll love introducing your longtime friends to them, as well as looping them in on your fun social activities.
Social media can be a great way to keep up with friends both near and far. Your community will offer free Wi-Fi, so take advantage of it to stay in touch with your outside friends. Sites like Facebook are great for staying updated, and you can even send a private message to a group of friends, which will then become a group chat. If you have a smartphone, you can also use tools like video chat to have face-to-face conversations with those friends and relatives you can’t see on a daily basis.
Embrace New Friendships
Remember that assisted living has changed dramatically over the years! You’re embarking on a new adventure that has the potential to be incredibly positive for you. Stay in touch with your current friends but considering making an effort to start new friendships as well. There will be a transitional phase, as with anything new, so give yourself time to get used to your new environment and try not to get frustrated if it takes time to feel like you belong. Most assisted living communities are set up to encourage social interaction, so chances are there will be plenty of opportunities to meet new people and start forming those lasting friendships.
Any big change in life takes a little adjustment. Staying in touch with your friends can be a great way to bridge the gap between your old life and new. Your friends will probably be excited that you want to stay in touch and make an effort on their end, as well. But most importantly, your new adventure will introduce you to many exciting people so that you can begin to form new friendships.