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Together, the people, the place and the passion for providing an extraordinary, engaging life for our residents and the remarkable staff who serve them, are at the heart of what makes Ingleside at King Farm a very special place.

King Farm Blog

IKF Blog
Posted: Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The value of friendships as we grow older and the role Independent Living can play

As we go through life, friendships continue to play an important role. From childhood to adulthood, we need social interaction, no matter what our age may be. Without it, our physical and emotional health can both suffer.

One double challenge as we grow older, however, is that we may begin to lose some of our friends at the same time we discover it’s harder to make new ones. But because of Independent Living communities, a perfect solution may be just around the corner.

What do we look for in a friend?

It turns out that we are more similar to each other than we may have thought. According to Professor of Interpersonal Communication William Rawlins at Ohio University, we all tend to search for basically the same three things:

  • Someone to talk to
  • Someone to depend on
  • Someone to enjoy

As we grow older, the need for connection remains strong but we put much more importance on the quality of our friendships rather than the quantity. You may also notice that you’re more drawn to those with whom you share common beliefs and viewpoints. It can make you feel understood, that you belong and that you matter to others.

The power of good friendships

According to one study which surveyed nearly 280,000 adults about their relationships, our friends can have a bigger impact on us than our family. They are also strong predictors of our happiness and health.

Relationships with friends and family are typically different because we choose the friends to have in our lives. The structure of a friendship is also unique in that we can go months without talking with a friend and yet the relationship picks back up where we left it when we see them again. Families may not be that resilient or flexible.

Some people share their thoughts and fears more honestly with a friend than a family member. There tends to be a deeper level of trust and an assurance that we won’t be judged as harshly. Family relationships can be trickier. We often are labeled at an early age, such as the smart one, the funny one, the trouble-maker or dreamer. In some families, those descriptions can be nearly impossible to shake.

How to find new friends

No matter how important friendships may be, if you find yourself in need of one, you may also discover they can be more difficult to find. School or the workplace was always an easy place to meet others. But once you’ve retired, where should you look?

Wherever people gather, there are friendship possibilities. For most, it’s much easier to meet someone while sharing a group activity as it takes the pressure off of the awkwardness of approaching someone you don’t know. Look for opportunities, such as:

1. Volunteering
Is there an organization or special cause that you would like to support? Sign up to volunteer your time and you’ll also discover the added benefit of getting to know others with similar passions.

2. Take a class
Is there a subject or educational opportunity you always wanted to pursue but never had the time? This is the perfect chance to dive in and along the way meet those who share in your interests.

3. Join a book or bridge club
Playing a game or discussing the latest non-fiction or best-seller lessens the anxiety when making conversation. Either of these scenarios offer a great opportunity to get to know others in a low-pressure environment.

4. Exercise together
Sign up for a fitness class and not only will you benefit from the exercise but sharing this activity with others may make it more fun and motivate you to keep showing up. Making friends is a wonderful added bonus.

5. Join a support group
If you’re working through a challenge in your personal life, such as caring for an elderly parent, joining a support group gives you the advantage of meeting others who are experiencing a similar situation. Some lifetime friendships have been formed over the bond of sharing a difficult time in life.

6. Participate in religious or spiritual groups
If you’re a member of a faith community, take advantage of the social opportunities that are likely available. Not only do you share the commonality of your faith, but you’ll have the opportunity to get to know others on a deeper level.

7. Learn how to make digital friends
Many people used to think that on-line acquaintances weren’t really friends but during COVID-19, almost everyone is discovering the value of the digital world. Relationships, sharing and being there for each other can occur even if you’re physically miles apart.

8. Try a part time job
Many retirees take on a part-time job that has nothing to do with the money they can earn. They may be looking for ways to keep active or have a similar routine that they have retired from. But work can also be a great place to meet new people, young and old.

If you’ve considered moving into a retirement community, the ease you’ll find in making new friends may come as a nice surprise. Many of the above suggestions can be found there.

Having friendships are too important at this age to leave to chance. Although meeting new people may be a challenge for everyone else, it couldn’t be simpler than when you make Independent Living your home.

Community life gives you the opportunity to meet your neighbors who have shared many of the same things as you. Yet, everyone brings their own experiences and personalities to keep it interesting.

Signing up for a few of the programs available, exercising together or gathering at the pool all present natural ways to meet others and share in the enjoyment that community life has to offer. Whether you cross paths in the common areas, on a trip to the museum or at an art class, your new friends will add much to the breadth of your life.

Ingleside at King Farm Independent Living

At King Farm, we designed our community to help you live the fullest life possible. With our first-class amenities, activities and planned events, you are almost guaranteed to make many new friends here.

As you continue to live an enriched retirement life, you’ll also discover a beautiful and welcoming home in the heart of King Farm, surrounded by a walkable and intergenerational neighborhood.

Call (240) 455-4582 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.

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