Is It Easy To Make New Friends in a 55+ Community?

Two retired women walk together after they formed a friendship while living in their 55+ community.

5 minute read

Answer: Yes, making new friends and staying socially active can be very easy when you move to a 55+ community. However, this can depend on your location and personal preferences. Be sure to explore the social opportunities in any community you’re interested in before purchasing a home.

Will moving to a 55+ community make it easier to find friends? Even though humans are very social creatures, each of us has a distinct personality, complete with likes, dislikes, passions, and fears. So, if you’re wondering how easy it is to make new social connections in a 55+ community, there’s no blanket answer. One size does NOT fit all when it comes to our social lives.

However, studies suggest that older adults find it very easy to make new friends when they move into a new retirement community. We’ve also compiled some information about making new friends at new locations as an adult to make the transition easy for you.

Let’s start with the formal research.

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Retirees Make Friends Easily When Moving to a 55+ Community

A group of retired men running on a street together in their 55+ community.

In a 2008 study published by Heisler, Evans, and Moen, two sets of seniors were monitored as they moved to new retirement communities. The first group stayed within their home county. The second group moved cross country.

The findings published by Heisler et al. suggest:

  • Both groups of seniors found it equally easy to make new friends in their new community.
  • Seniors moving a longer distance made more new social contacts.
  • Neither group suffered from a perceived lack of social support 18 months after the move.

Another study, published in 2010, suggests that after moving to a retirement community, subjects would usually:

  • Spend more time enjoying leisure activities
  • Spend more time at group social events, like concerts and meetings
  • Spend considerably less time on housework and maintenance tasks
  • Spend less time communicating on the computer 

And—while this is not scientific—our combined experience at 55places.com seems to prove retirees have a very easy time making new friends and important social contacts when moving to a 55+ community. We’re talking about barbers, hairdressers, religious communities, and so on. 

Of course, we’re still all individuals, and the world has changed greatly since 2010. Some people struggle to socialize their entire lives, and some adults are more reserved since the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand!

So, let’s talk about making new friends in the 2020s.

5 Ways To Make New Friends in Retirement Communities

A group of female friends laughing together at a park table in their 55+ community.

1. Choose a 55+ Community Which Features Your Interests

In the 2020s, retirement communities offer more than shuffleboard and bingo. Whether you enjoy fishing, travel, fine art, or something else, there is sure to be a 55+ community that caters to your hobbies and interests. And our team at 55places.com can help you choose the perfect one. 

Of course, you don’t need to select a new neighborhood based on your interests. You can also choose one based on:

Regardless of your chosen community, once you’ve unpacked and settled in at your new community, you should introduce yourself to the community activities director and their team. 

2. Take Part in the 55+ Community Activities

By joining some activities right away, you’ll have a chance to meet others with similar interests. Depending on the activity, you can learn new skills, hone your advanced talents, get vital exercise, and boost a sense of pride and accomplishment in your projects and goals. 

Beyond the social aspects, new activities can also help you maintain good cognitive and physical functions. So be sure to try plenty of new hobbies and get out of your comfort zone to try new things. It’s healthy!

3. Express Yourself to the World

You’ll decorate your home as you settle into your new adult community. Those decorations represent your passions, history, and family life. Classic auto enthusiasts may have a collection of books or artwork. Golfers might have prized awards or clubs. A retired teacher might display favorite student gifts or class photos.

Try to express yourself outside your home too. This is a great way to invite inquiries and attract like-minded people as you go about your daily errands.

You can do so by:

  • Wearing related apparel, like a hat, jacket, or pin that displays your interests
  • Decorating your yard or home exterior (even the strictest HOAs will accept a hobby-related welcome mat)
  • Visibly enjoying your hobbies outside (try washing your golf clubs in the front yard, for instance)

And the best way to make new friends—whether you’re involved in activities or not—is to be approachable.

4. Put on a Friendly Face

A warm, genuine smile is a sure way to attract new friends, no matter what else is happening around you. If you’re ready to meet people, put on your best smile and head to any grocery store or neutral area, like a park. (Grocery stores are fantastic, though, because starting a conversation about food is easy. Everybody eats!)

And finally, our last bit of advice is to branch out beyond your community.

5. Use Social Media To Make New Friends 

No law says you must stay within your community to make friends or enjoy retirement. Many adults use social media to join local clubs before heading to a meeting in person. This is perfectly acceptable and will allow you to get a feel for a group of people or a club. 

Just remember internet safety basics, like:

  • Never give out your passwords
  • Never share bank or credit card information
  • Don’t go alone when meeting someone new
  • When meeting people, do so in a public place
  • Tell someone when you make plans online

And whatever you do, don’t get stuck in the pseudo-social trap of the internet! Social media is a great way to keep in touch with people, but it’s much healthier for mature adults to leave the house and spend time face-to-face with others to get exercise, inspiration, and stimulation. So get out there and enjoy your retirement in person!

As always, if you’d like to learn more about living in 55+ communities and making new friends, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Helping retirees find their ideal 55+ community is our specialty. 

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