Making Friends as a Newcomer
Before you move in, ask the staff if there are some people who would be mutually congenial. Introduce yourself to people in the elevator, dining room, or beauty shop. The barber or beauty shop in the residence is a good place to talk to people because these places have a relaxed and easy feel. The hairdresser is accustomed to chatting with his clients, and the client is often in an open and friendly mood while doing something pleasurable. Dinah, who told me her thoughts about making the transition and leaving the family, spoke freely to me there.
In every successful adjustment to assisted living I’ve seen, at both Cadbury Commons and The Hallmark, the end result is that the resident is able to enjoy the company of at least a few others. They join book groups, go on outings or sit next to someone at an in-house movie or lecture and conversation is natural and easy. Most residences show movies frequently and people who like the same kind of films find each other there. Similarly, like-minded people can find each other at political discussions, yoga classes or the drama club. Above all, there is a psychological incentive to relate to someone congenial because every resident in assisted living is now living in circumstances different and unfamiliar from his life in the family.
To feel more at home, socialize.