How to Make New Friends as a Senior

February is International Friendship Month—a celebration of those who may not be family by blood, but become family by choice. Friendships can last a lifetime, spanning past school years, parenthood, and other major life changes. But as we age, we might find ourselves less connected to our friendships.

Some may be inclined to let that be, but this can be isolating, depressing, and even detrimental to one’s health. It’s important that we make an effort to continue expanding our social circles for the sake of both our mental and physical health. But how do you make new friends as a senior?

How to Make New Friends as a Senior

Why should you develop a healthy social life?

A number of studies point to the importance of quality friendships. This applies to those of all ages, of course, but seniors, in particular, should take note, as lowered immune systems and other conditions can exacerbate these problems.

What are the negative effects of not having friends?

  • Heightened risk for heart disease. Those who suffer from loneliness and isolation are said to be 29% more likely to develop coronary heart disease, and 32% more likely to have a stroke.
  • Higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Studies show that loneliness increases the risk of dementia in seniors by more than 60%. This could be due to less cognitive engagement.
  • Increased likelihood of long-term illness. Those without social support are more likely to suffer from arthritis, chronic lung disease impaired mobility, and more.

What happens when I do have friends?

  • Higher quality of mental health. Friendship boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression. They may also experience a boost in their self-esteem and increased feelings of fulfillment. All of the above may slow cognitive decline.
  • Better physical health. Socially active adults have a lower risk of conditions like cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, and more. They are also more likely to get enough sleep, eat well, and quit poor habits like smoking or drinking.

How can I form new friendships?

The hardest part about forming new relationships is making the effort to do so. Once you overcome that hurdle, you’ll find that creating these new bonds outweighs your minimal discomfort. Here are a few things you can try to meet new people and make friends.

Join a social club

One of the more important parts of developing new bonds is having something to bond over. Social clubs are the perfect way to find these like-minded people. Whether you’re a golf fiend, an avid reader, or an expert knitter, there is a social group for you to join.

To get started, head to your local community center or public library. If you’re a little more tech-savvy, you could research these groups online. If not, ask a family member to lend a hand.

Join an online community

If your interests are a little more niche, or you want to connect with a wider variety of people, consider joining an online community revolving around your interests. In addition to community boards and direct messaging, many of these organizations have regular video chats to discuss their shared interests.

A great place to get started with an online community is Facebook, as there are groups for just about anything you can think of. Just put your interest in the search bar and see what you can find!

Friendship is a beautiful thing!


Volunteering is a great way to connect with people who have a common belief while also doing some good in the world. No matter where you live, there are a wide variety of organizations you can donate your time. You could look up local charities, animal shelters, soup kitchens, local theaters, and so much more.

As you do the work, take the time to speak with your fellow volunteers. You may find that you get along swimmingly and would like to spend time together outside of work hours.

Take a class

If there’s a hobby you’ve always wanted to pick up or a new type of exercise you’d like to try, sign up for a class. There, you’re bound to find a good deal of individuals in a similar boat as you. You can enjoy building your skills together, and maybe even make a point to do so outside of class.

Stay in touch

Maintaining friendships is more work than just meeting up at events from time to time. You have to periodically reach out in order to keep a friendship going. Arrange coffee dates or go on walks together. Send them a message when you see something you think they would like. These little gestures go a long way in building strong relationships.

If you’re looking for more ideas of activities to enjoy, try some of these fun things for seniors to do with friends that we shared last month.

Make life easier with the help of a caregiver

Don’t let your personal care concerns get in the way of spending time with new friends. An at-home caregiver can assist with various tasks like dressing, bathing, and toileting so you look and feel good.

Your at-home caregiver can assist with a variety of activities of daily living. From medication reminders to running errands, to companionship, you never have to worry about whether or not you can age in place. If you think you’d benefit from the support of an at-home caregiver, call us at (773) 274-9262.

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