Making friends and building social connections is possible at any age.
There is a common myth people have more difficulty making friends as they age. However, this is not necessarily the case, and that older adults are just as capable of making new friends as younger people.
In fact, a study conducted by the University of Southern California, found that older adults have smaller but closer social networks than younger people. Similarly, research by the University of Leeds found that older adults were just as likely to have friends as younger adults, and that the quality of those friendships was just as strong.
Despite this evidence, there are still many misconceptions surrounding the social lives of older adults in New Zealand. Some older adults may face unique challenges in making friends, such as the loss of a spouse or health issues that limit their mobility. However, there are many strategies that can help older adults overcome these challenges and build new social connections.
Here are some tips for older New Zealanders who want to make new friends:
- Join a club or organisation: Many community centres and clubs offer activities and events that are designed specifically for older adults. Joining a group with similar interests can be a great way to meet new people and form friendships.
- Volunteer: Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community while also meeting new people. Look for opportunities to volunteer at local organizations, schools, or hospitals.
- Attend community events: Many towns and cities in New Zealand hold festivals, concerts, and other events throughout the year. Attending these events can be a fun way to meet new people and get involved in the community.
- Take a class: Learning a new skill or hobby can be a great way to meet new people who share your interests. Look for classes at local community centres or adult education programs.
- Connect online: Social media and online forums can be a great way to connect with like-minded people and make new friends. There are many online communities and forums specifically for older adults in New Zealand.