Making New Friends After 60: Taking Initiative Is Your Starting Point

  • Discovering new friendships after age 60 could be easier than you think. North Shore Senior Center (NSSSC) has some great ways to get yourself more involved and meet new folks in the area.  Visit: NSSC.org or call 847-784-6000.North Shore Senior Center, Arthur J. Nielsen Campus, Jr., Northfield, IL

    Discovering new friendships after age 60 could be easier than you think. North Shore Senior Center (NSSSC) has some great ways to get yourself more involved and meet new folks in the area. Visit: NSSC.org or call 847-784-6000.North Shore Senior Center, Arthur J. Nielsen Campus, Jr., Northfield, IL

 
 
Updated 12/2/2022 10:49 AM

Discovering new friendships after age 60 could be easier than you think.

Particularly if you are lonely, the challenge of finding new friendships is often worth the effort. Socialization has even proven to be essential to maintaining your physical and mental health.

 

According to new research in the journal Personal Relationships, "Friends become increasingly important to health and happiness as people age."

They're so vital, in fact, that "having supportive friendships in older age was found to be a stronger predictor of wellbeing than having strong family connections," said writer Amanda MacMillan via Time.com.

Based on personal experience, getting out in the community--through activities such as pickleball classes--has been an easy way to meet new people.

At the end of the class, we all exchange phone numbers and arrange additional pickleball games. It is a great way to connect with folks sharing similar interests.

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Note: This story originally appeared in the North Shore Senior Center (NSSC) Engage Magazine and Lifelong Learning Catalog, January-April 2023 Issue: Visit: htps://www.nssc.org/assets/uploads/2022/11/NSSC_2023_Winter_MagCat_AllPgs_Web.pdf

How to Find Friends and Fight Loneliness After 60

Despite everything we know about the importance of maintaining social connections as we get older, finding friends after 60 may be a challenge. As we age, the easy social connections that we enjoyed as schoolmates, parents, and colleagues change.

The online magazine Sixty + Me offers ideas on how to find friends and fight loneliness after 60:

• Don't hide from your feelings. Loneliness is your mind's way of telling you to get out there and engage with the world.

• Define what a "friend" is to you. Identifying the type of people you like to meet often makes it easier to find new friends naturally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Start with your existing social network. Don't be afraid to reconnect with people from the past, like from school, former jobs, and so on. Often, old friendships pick up easily where they left off.

• Embrace your passions instead of chasing new relationships. Your passions, interests, and skills can be such a great catalyst to find friends.

• Don't rule out friendships with people of the opposite sex. Many single men and women over 60 develop natural friendships, without the pressure or stigma.

Visit Source: https://time.com/4809325/friends-friendship-health-family/

Visit Source: https://sixtyandme.com/how-to-find-friends-and-fight-loneliness-after-60/

NSSC Programs to Help Get You Started

And of course, NSSC has some great ways to get yourself more involved and meet new folks in the area.

• Card/game groups, such as Mah-Jongg, Scrabble, Canasta, and Poker; some are free and meet weekly.

• Tuesday Club: a multi-faceted social and educational lecture series for men and women, and a centerpiece of Tuesdays at NSSC.

• Daytrips, offered 1-2 times a month, are a great way to spend the day with people of similar interests. There's also always a wide variety of trips to choose from.

• Sewing/quilting/weaving clubs: each club meets weekly and is completely free.

Visit www.nssc.org to learn more or visit the Lifelong Learning at the Center located in the North Shore Senior Center, Arthur C. Nielsen, Jr. Campus: 161 Northfield Road, Northfield, IL. Phone: 847-784-6030. Explore NSSC volunteer opportunities. Phone: 847-242-6257 or email: volunteer@nssc.org

An NSSC Member's Experience: Socialization Is a Challenge

Glenview resident Adrian Rattner has taken on socialization as a challenge and is seeing positive results. "I've been active at North Shore Senior Center for over five years," she said.

"I have applied my administrative assistant skills to meet the needs of the NSSC community, and this has opened the door to making new friends along the way."

Adrian explained that she participates "in daytrips with a group of regulars who travel by motor coach to the destination of the day--theater, museum, or unique venues like a flatbottom boat trip down the Illinois River. All trips include a meal at a local eatery to be enjoyed with the group."

She also takes various classes such as Canasta, art, pottery, and painting, and has gained friends through these experiences.

"The Tuesday Club at NSSC is terrific," she said. "There's always a different topic and interesting speaker and social time beforehand with the attendees. Often the topic leads to discussions afterwards with fellow participants."

Adrian's best advice: "Challenge yourself to do something you haven't done before. There are a lot of interesting programs."

Time to Take the Initiative

Whether you're feeling isolated or simply interested in meeting new people, now is a great time start expanding your social group.

Find an activity of interest, or, as Adrian suggests, "do something you haven't done before." Just keep moving forward and good things should happen!"

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