Tips for Making Friends in an Assisted Living Community

One of the great benefits of assisted living is having access to the multiple opportunities to socialize. It is a benefit that can have a lasting impact on the well-being of your loved one, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.

7 ways to get connected at your assisted living community

To help you or your loved one get started, think about the things that they like to do – gardening, crafts, book clubs, and religious activities are good examples. Getting involved in these kinds of activities in an assisted living community offers a great way to get to know like-minded people. Getting to know the staff members who plan these activities will help to give you a head’s up when there’s something pertinent to their interests.

Mix and mingle at mealtimes. Think about how we share with our families around the dinner table. Dining experiences are a good way to get to know the people who live near you. If this is still difficult for you or your loved one, invite family members or friends to share a meal.

Find opportunities to sit and talk with other residents. This could be on the porches or patios or talking over a cup of coffee in the café.

#1: Get involved in community activities

Getting involved in community activities is one of the best ways to get to know people. Bartram Lakes has an extensive monthly calendar of things to do that allow for as much activity as a person would like. Residents are encouraged to participate in cooking demonstrations, making crafts, outings to the beach, game nights, and other social activities. Residents are encouraged to check out the monthly calendar or talk with the activities director to find ways to participate or make suggestions for other activities.

#2: Socialize at mealtimes

Mealtimes provide wonderful opportunities to socialize with other residents and get to know them. New residents are encouraged to “take the plunge” and initiate conversations. Good conversation starters can include asking about residents’ preferences for activities and other information about the facility such as whether there’s an active book club. Ask if anyone is interested in meeting for coffee on the patio or walking on the grounds together. Although it is common for residents to want to sit with the same people, it’s important to mix it up once in a while.

#3: Try mingling with other new residents

Look for opportunities to mingle with the other residents, especially those who are new just as you are. Remember that you all share the experience of living here together and discussions around the decisions and experiences of coming to Bartram Lakes can be supportive.

Whether it’s gathering in the Café or at the fishing pond, there are many opportunities to get to interact with the other residents at Bartram Lakes. Our staff and dedicated Activities Director are at your service from the first day to help you get to know the others and find your place amongst new friends. Sign up for a fitness or craft class, mingle during one of our many Socials, or join the others on our porches.

#4: Bring a friend

Sometimes having someone along to break the ice can be a great way to connect with others. New residents are welcome to have a friend or family member join them for a meal or activity, and are encouraged to introduce them to their Bartram Lakes neighbors.

#5: Make friends with the staff, especially the activities coordinator

One great place to start is by getting to know the staff and our activities coordinator. Connections built between residents and staff can be the bridge to connections with other residents, activities and better managed care. Share your likes and interests with them, find out about their families and backgrounds and look together to see what activities and connections can be built in the Bartram Lakes community.

#6: Invite others over

As you begin to know the other residents, invite them to share a moment in your room or to sit with you for a mealtime. Just taking a few minutes in the hallway to ask how someone is doing that day can make a world of difference and can lead to new friendships. Your new acquaintances may be able to give helpful advice on room arrangements or other ways to feel more comfortable in this new community. If you are hallway neighbors, ask for suggestions on decorating doors or finding your way. As you share your experiences together, connections will grow.

#7: Hang out in common areas

Residents are welcome to join others in our common areas such as the outside courtyard and patios. Or, check out our smaller gathering places where you might find a card game or conversation about the latest novel. Striking up a conversation with one or two others might be easier in these more intimate spaces than in the larger classes or gathering places.

The bottom line

Always remember, while meeting new friends can be overwhelming at any age, sharing the common space and experience here at Bartram Lakes is the first step in making connections with all of your new neighbors.