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Five ways to foster late-in-life relationships

Author: Sarah Bishop
Published: Nov 5 2012

It can be difficult for people of any age to develop and maintain solid relationships with their family, friends and significant others, but this process becomes even more complicated as we get older. Instead of having the typical social activities that accompany youth, seniors need to reach out to their community if they want to connect with other people. The following five tips provide a great starting point for both developing and maintaining relationships throughout the later stages of life.

1. Senior Centers - Joining a senior center is a great way to meet new people. If the center is active and takes a lot of field trips, then you will also be presented with built-in opportunities for having fun with the people in your community. For example, the Life Enrichment Director at our assisted living Stockbridge GA center plans a variety of daily activities to enrich the lives of its residents and facilitate new friendships. It is well-known that relationships of all types require diversity to keep them from becoming stagnant, and joining some of the senior center's trips is a great way to share new experiences.

2. Host Dinner Parties - If you are still physically able to make a big meal, then you should definitely host regular dinner parties and invite your family and friends. This is a great excuse for everyone to get together and socialize, and most people love having the opportunity to eat a home-cooked meal without having to prepare it themselves. If the other participants enjoy the experience, then you should consider asking them to host parties on a rotating basis. This way you will be exposed to a new group of people, and you also will not have to take on the sole responsibility for hosting each party.

3. Take Romantic Trips - The romance in your relationship never needs to die, but you will need to help keep the fire going. Whether you have the means to take a trip to a different state or merely to a river walk that is located a few miles away, you should definitely make sure that you spend time alone outside of your home with your significant other. Sometimes simply strolling around the neighborhood hand in hand is all you need to reconnect, and this also has the added benefit of providing both of you with some exercise.

4. Take a Class Together - Grab your partner, sister or your best friend and sign up for a class to learn something completely new. Again, it is important to experience new things together, and it is also a good idea to continuously seek out knowledge. Whether you take an educational class or a dancing class, however, the class will definitely be a good bonding experience.

5. Compare Bucket Lists - Everyone in your life, ranging from your sibling all the way to your newest friend, has a list of goals that they would like to accomplish. By comparing your bucket list to theirs and selecting one shared goal with each person, you can not only encourage each other to finally cross something off your list, but you will also create wonderful memories together.

Keep in mind that you can accomplish everything listed above regardless of where you live. If you are at an assisted living community, you will probably even have the option to take classes on-site. Either way, though, you will find that your relationships are much stronger when you get out there and share experiences together.

Sarah Bishop is a freelance writer and invested granddaughter who contributes this piece for the assisted living Stockbridge GA location of Dogwood Forest. This center caters to its senior citizens' daily needs, from the lunch menu to its classic movie nights. The community makes the lives and friendships of its members a priority.

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