Making New Friends in Retirement
You don’t have to be retired to volunteer, but volunteering is a great way to meet like minded seniors who share your interests and values. Volunteering also allows you to give back to the community and help others in need.
If you’re interested in volunteering, start by looking into organizations that match your interests. For example, if you enjoy gardening, consider volunteering at a local botanical garden or botanical society, or if you like animals, consider volunteering with your local animal shelter or humane society.
Gym or Fitness Centre
Gyms are one of the most popular places for seniors to make new friends because they offer so many opportunities for socialisation and support groups. In addition to providing exercise equipment and weights, gyms often host classes such as yoga or Pilates. These classes give people an opportunity to spend time with others while doing something they enjoy — plus they’re beneficial for overall health!
Exercising in a group can also help you stay motivated and on track with your goals. If you don’t have any friends who exercise at the same time as you, try visiting at different times of the day and see if there are other people who go when you do not.
Throughout the year you can venture out to the myriad of events held across the country. Expos are a great way to meet people in your age group, many with similar interests and experiences. You can also try music performances, community markets, multicultural festivals, and sporting events. Some of these may have an entry fee, while others are free.
If you’re religious, attending a service at your local church is one of the best ways to meet new people. Check with your local church to see if they host activities for seniors, join a bible study group, or join them in one of their many volunteering endeavours. You’ll be surrounded by like-minded individuals who share your beliefs and interests.
Getting out doesn’t have to mean spending money. There are lots of ways to have fun without spending a cent. Libraries often offer a slew of free courses, letting you expand your mind and socialise. Try your hand at creative writing, family history, arts and crafts, or even computer skills. Not only will you be learning a great new skill and keeping your mind sharp, but you can make friends with the other students and help each other along.
RSL and Sports Clubs
Almost every town has at least one RSL or sports club. They are a great place to meet people and make new friends, with every day offering a fun event. Try your hand at lawn bowls or bingo during the week, with conversation and competition flowing. Free music performances are also a big drawing card, with the dance floor teeming with dancers. Join in on a line-dancing number, grab a partner, or enjoy the show while savouring a treat from their cafes.
Kids and teenagers aren’t the only ones that can join a sports team.
Many sports leagues and tournaments are available for seniors, including bowling, golfing and tennis. These events can be an excellent way to meet new people who have similar interests as you do. You will also have opportunities to socialize with them after your games are over.
Maintaining Your Relationships
A relationship is like a living creature – it needs nourishment to flourish and grow. Make it a point to regularly connect with your friends, stop by for a coffee and chat, go for a walk around the block together, or even schedule a video chat.
There are a lot of reasons why you should branch out and make new friends in your retirement years. From better physical health to decreased rates of depression, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Australian Over 50s Living & Lifestyle Guide