Quick – what’s the most fulfilling and important part of life? If you answered “friends and family... congratulations, you’ve won ... well, life! It’s those interpersonal relationships that make life worth living and what help us stay invigorated, happy and fulfilled ... no matter how old or young we are.
“Making friends and creating new relationships are one of the best parts of retirement,” says Greg Lazzaro, Life Enrichment Director of Waterstone at the Circle. “One of the seven dimensions of wellness is social interaction, and it’s been proven that people who continue to form new relationships and stay connected with people they care about have better mental, physical and emotional health – no matter how old they are. That being said, it can often be difficult to make or maintain friendships when you retire and say goodbye to the working world. “It’s a lot easier to make connections through work or through shared experiences with your children,” says Greg. “Once you retire, you no longer have that ‘instant connection’ of work or other shared interests. It’s paradoxical, because retirement is the time when you can actually spend time and effort being around people whose time you enjoy!”
Retirement affords the perfect opportunity to spend time with those you enjoy. Unfortunately, it probably won't be effortless to fill your social calendar with interesting and fun people unless you already have a strong social network. Or, says Greg, if you move to a community like Waterstone at the Circle. “One of the benefits that seniors get when moving to a luxury retirement community like Waterstone at the Circle is the instant friendship this style of living provides,” he says. “Community living is perfect for individuals who are looking for new adventures in this stage of life, because it puts you in the paths of peers who are looking for the same things as you. It’s a little bit like going back to college – with the added benefit of years of experience.”
Isolation and Seniors: The Silent Killer
Human beings are social creatures, and that’s not just lip service. Our connection to others allows us to thrive, survive and age well – yet, as we get older, we become more and more isolated due to factors beyond our control. Health problems like cognitive decline, heart disease and depression (just to name a few) increase when we lose our connection to others.
“Having friendships and close relationships isn’t just comfortable – it can be a lifesaver,” says Greg. “Experts have shown that those close friendships we form either in retirement or throughout our life help improve quality of life, longevity and health. In fact, being connected with others results in a better immune system, a reduced risk of anxiety, depression and heart disease, and an overall improved quality of life.”
Research has proven that individuals who find themselves alone or isolated due to the death of a spouse, partner or family member are at a higher risk of depression, physical ailments and poor quality of life. On the other hand, people who have close relationships have better moods, live longer and have a higher sense of purpose.
“Long story short: you’ve got to have friends,” says Greg. “It’s those human connections that help us stay young at heart and excited for everything that’s ahead of us. I think the global pandemic and isolation we all experienced as a result only served to further prove how important social connections are – for us all.”
Making Friends: Retirement Edition
It can be a little difficult – not to mention awkward – to start making friends in your retirement years. “The times in our lives when we made friendships easily and quickly often revolved around a big life change, such as going to college, starting your career or having children,” says Greg. “For most seniors, it’s been a while since you’ve had to branch out and form new relationships. You may be a little bit out of practice – but don’t worry; it’s a little bit like riding a bicycle. In no time, you’ll get back in the groove.”
Moving to a community like Waterstone at the Circle is a great way for seniors to jump-start their relationship-building. “Moving to a retirement community is a little like going back to college, because all of a sudden you find yourself living with a group of like-minded individuals in the same stage of life as yourself,” says Greg. “Best of all, they, too, are all looking to make new friends and have new experiences. It’s a lot easier to make friends when everyone is on the same page and is open to possibilities.”
If you’re looking to branch out and make some new friendships in your senior years, here are a few tips you can follow to make your search even more successful.
- Pick up a favorite hobby. Now that you’re retired, you have all sorts of time to do the things you love to do. Have you always enjoyed restoring vintage cars, or knitting, or trying new restaurants or anything else? Whatever you enjoy doing, there’s a group out there that would love to share those interests with you.
- Find a new hobby. You don’t have to stick with activities you’ve always done. Have you always wanted to act, or learn a new language? The best way to learn a new hobby is to join a group of enthusiastic people who love the same thing ... so you’ll have something in common.
- Participate in community events. One reason seniors love living in a retirement community is that there’s always something going on (and all they have to do is show up – no planning required on your part). Community events are a great way to get to meet your neighbors and other people who have similar interests.
- Be friendly and confident. Sometimes, all you have to do is just be friendly. Remember, in a retirement community, the vast majority of people want to make friends and be friendly – so don’t be shy. Just being open to new possibilities and being interested in life will help you attract new friends and acquaintances.
“While making new friends is always enjoyable, retirement is also a great time to reconnect with those long-held relationships that you may not always have had time to nurture,” says Greg. “This is your time to make those connections that will last a lifetime ... and that will make your retirement years that much more fulfilling.”
Luxury Senior Living in Boston
Waterstone at the Circle, located in Boston’s historic Cleveland Circle neighborhood, is more than just independent living in Boston … it’s a sophisticated urban setting for today’s active seniors. Enjoy best-in-class service and an urban lifestyle with arts and cultural, and historical attractions right outside your front door. From high-end amenities to gourmet dining and more, experience the best of city and suburban life at our upscale senior living community located on the crossroads of Brookline and Chestnut Hill.
Elegant Independent Living Apartments
Each of our 92 independent living apartments is the height of luxury and modernity, with sophisticated design, upscale features and stunning views of the city. Create the urban senior living experience you want with one- or two-bedroom apartments, a variety of floor plans and monthly rentals.
Senior Living Supportive Services
As an over-62 community, residents may require support from time to time. That’s why we’ve developed an on-site coordinated care program, in cooperation with our premier community partners, that allows our independent living residents to receive the assistance they need.
The best part? Residents don’t have to leave our senior living community – or even their apartment – to receive high-quality support. They can receive the services they need, when they need it, in the comfort of their own homes or in our on-site therapy gym.
Waterstone at the Circle is the opposite of retiring . . . it’s a place to enhance your active, on-the-go lifestyle. Call 617.431.1880 for more information or to schedule a visit to our premier Boston independent living community and discover The Circle lifestyle today!