Moving to a senior living community can be a lot like the first day at a new school. Most people experience a mix of nerves and excitement as they embark on this new chapter of life. While many people know there are positives to community life, including a variety of health benefits that come from staying active and being social, there’s also the uncertainty of not knowing quite what to expect.
If your senior loved one is either introverted or simply uncomfortable in new settings, they might struggle to engage with other residents. Or they may be hesitant to have meals in the dining room. Whatever the situation, encouraging a family member to become involved in the daily life of their new senior living community is important. Consider making suggestions or accompanying them to meals or activities in order to help to ease the transition.
Tips for Persuading a Senior Loved One to Socialize
With a little thought and some subtle persuasive tactics, you might be able to convince your family member of the benefits of socializing and connecting with neighbors:
Embrace the new: Having the right attitude is an important first step. Encourage your loved one to be open to meeting new people and trying new hobbies and activities. There will be many opportunities for socializing, both formal and informal. They might be surprised to discover that a senior living community is more fun than they ever imagined it could be!
Encourage new friendships: It’s pretty difficult not to make new friends when you move to a senior living community. Opportunities for socializing can be found everywhere from the lobby and dining room to exercise classes and art workshops. Remind your family that there are probably other residents who are also shy or reluctant to join activities when they don’t know anyone. By taking the initiative to greet everyone, they’ll likely begin to make new friends.
Explore wellness programs: Another benefit of moving to a senior living community is having easy access to wellness activities. Take time to learn more about the different types of wellness activities that are available, and then share some suggestions you think will sound interesting to your family . Encourage them to try at least one new activity each week until they find a few that are a good fit.
Review the activities calendar together: One of the most popular parts of community life is the rich variety of activities that are offered to residents every day. The types of programs can vary from one community to another, but a few examples of common activities include art classes, gardening, woodworking, social outings, card groups, and book clubs. Volunteer opportunities are another avenue for connecting with fellow residents. Sit down each week or month after your family member makes the move and review the calendar together. Until they feel comfortable and a part of the community, it can be helpful if you accompany your loved one to some of the activities that interest them most.
If, despite your best efforts, it seems like your loved one is floundering to feel like they are a part of the community, talk with the staff. They have experience helping residents settle in and make the most of their new lives.
Explore a Sunrise Community Near You
If you and an older adult in your family will soon begin the search for a senior living community, we invite you to visit a Sunrise location near you. One of our team members will be happy to show you around and answer any questions you may have. Call 1-844-721-2303 to learn more today!