Tips for the elderly on making friends and staying sociable

Throughout our lives we make friends, whether in school, college, university and beyond, but as we get older lifelong friends might move away or we may naturally lose contact, so it’s important to make new acquaintances and friends as we get older to help ward off social isolation and loneliness.

Meeting new people can be very daunting, especially for an elderly person, so we have put together some top tips on making new friends and staying sociable that you can pass on to your loved-one or assist them in doing.

Get to know neighbours 

Fifty percent of people don’t know their neighbour’s names so simply saying ‘hello’ when passing or stopping to chat and get to know them is a great way to make new friends. This can then potentially develop into regular meetings and outings.

Join a group or day centre 

Tips for the elderly on making friends and staying sociableA great way for your loved-one to meet new people is to join a group or get involved with a day centre. If your loved-one has any particular hobbies or interests you could research relevant groups in the area. Alternatively, there may be general meet ups and social groups for elderly people in the area too.

Signing up to a day centre is also a great way for your loved-one to meet new people and the centre will often pick them up and drop them home afterwards. Many offer hot meals, outings and activities too.

Day centres in Wales:

Log onto the web 

Being online is a great way for elderly people to maintain social connections and support networks. Sign them up to social media sites such as Facebook as they may be able to find old friends and re-connect with family. You can read more about the benefits of social media to tackle loneliness on our blog.

Sign up to a charity for the elderly 

The Contact the Elderly charity organises Sunday afternoon tea parties to tackle loneliness and social isolation in people aged over 75. A change of scenery and an afternoon of conversation can work wonders so refer your loved-one to join the party.

The Silver Line and Age UK also both offer elderly befriending services.

What is important for your loved-one to remember is there is no shame in wanting to get out there and meet new people and it becomes easier over time. Neighbours who live alone or people who attend groups/clubs and day centres want to make friends just as much as your loved-one does and will appreciate being approached and spoken to.