Retirement living – how to make the connections that count

Many people quite rightly pride themselves on having a wide social circle. Getting together with friends for dinners and debates. Embracing family members on special occasions. Joining peers for an important function.

Such events are often the most important (and anticipated) things we do and, indeed, they often define us.

As you get older and move into retirement living, however, you may be concerned about how this way of life will change. How will I make new friends? Who will be my new neighbours? What social activities can I enjoy? Which services will be located nearby and how can I access them? Who will support me if I become ill or injured? These are all legitimate concerns.

Maintaining social connections as you age is incredibly important. In fact, it’s one of the key elements in staying healthy.

So in looking for the perfect retirement living spot, there are a number of important things to consider if you hope to maintain and enhance your social connections.

Ensure your retirement destination offers great social activities

The great thing about the best contemporary retirement locations is the choice of activities. Cinemas, pools and spas, yoga, games rooms, community gardens – the choice is impressive. Ask yourself which activities appeal to you and which you can see yourself enjoying in years to come. Perhaps swimming is an interest that you want to keep enjoying, or staying fit in a gym. Maybe you like to get out in the garden, or catch up with friends in the local café for lunch or dinner.

Are these activities, where you can interact with others every day, possible at the retirement location you are considering?

Make sure your family is welcome

When you are retired, you still need to have the option to entertain family and friends whenever you desire. Better still if this is in a beautiful setting that makes you feel proud and where your guests feel welcome (what a difference it makes if staff and carers in a retirement resort get to know you and your family).

These are factors that you should build into your retirement decisions, because you need to be able to easily stay in touch with those people that have been most important to you during your life.

Stay connected to the local community

Your retirement living options must enable you to access all the best that the community offers: shopping, restaurants, public transport, walking paths, community groups and medical facilities should ideally be on your doorstep and easily accessible as you age because these are among the vital elements that will support you and your wellbeing. Facing isolation in dull retirement villages on the outskirts of the city is not an appealing option – and you don’t have to in this modern age.

Be positive

Coping with change can be challenging – and there is no doubt that the shift into retirement living is a big life change. Connecting with friends and loved ones, making new acquaintances, feeling the support of a group and spending time with people every day will help you stay positive. Such connections can also help protect you from the prospect of loneliness.

So don’t just look at your selection of retirement living simply as a new home. Focusing on making new social connections and retaining old ones is equally as important. Find a place where you know that connection is fostered, encouraged and easily achievable.