A lot of people root themselves in an area because it’s where their support system is. It’s settling when friends are just a phone call away for lunch or when family is around the corner in case of emergencies. What makes a place feel like home is the reassurance that it’s near the people you care about. Finding like-minded people can take time, and the thought of having to move away from the relationships you spent years fostering can be stressful. You may be thinking, “how do I even make friends as an adult in a new place?” When you were younger you had the built-in social opportunities of things like school, extracurricular activities, and sports to meet new faces, but how does it work when you’re in your retirement years? If you’re moving to a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) away from your “tribe,” you may find yourself in the situation of wanting to meet some new people to spend time with. It’s certainly possible to find a new community in your retirement years. It’s just going to take a little more planning and effort on your end to put yourself out there again. The good news is you’re entering a community of people who are in the same situation as you, so embrace the change and new cast of characters about to enter your life. Your retirement years also provide you the time to take on new hobbies or volunteer opportunities that will open you up to entirely new social networks along the way. Viamonte at Walnut Creek residents will have no shortage of both on-site and nearby amenities and attractions to host friends, old and new.
WHERE TO START WHEN YOU’RE THE NEW RESIDENT
It’s nerve-racking to be the “new kid.” After you’re settled in your new apartment, start local! Give your immediate neighbors’ doors a knock and introduce yourselves to some of the many new faces you’ll be seeing around your new CCRC community. They’ll likely have some insider tips if they moved in before you that you’ll want to take note of. Get some recommendations for local hotspots and invite them along to join you! One of the many wonderful things about a senior living community is that the staff will put together a thoughtful calendar of activities and/or events where members have the opportunity to come together and mingle. There’s no excuse not to put yourself out there when someone handles the scheduling for you! Take advantage of those activities when they come up. Chances are your CCRC will even be open to ideas for future events. Viamonte at Walnut Creek residents will also have access to a ton of on-site amenities like an outdoor fireside lounge, gas-fired grill area, bocce court, art studio, pool and game room, among others. There is no shortage of hosting areas if you want a low-key hangout right at home. The options are plentiful.
BENEFITS OF MAINTAINING RELATIONSHIPS AT A CCRC
Studies show that friendship is more important than ever in your retirement years. Social connectedness is key to healthy aging. People with larger social networks have been shown to live longer, cope better with health conditions, experience less depression, and have a slower rate of memory decline, among other benefits. Even the most introverted of us needs a little company now and then. You’ll need a friend to adventure with, especially if you’re moving to a senior living community that’s in a brand new place for you. There will be so much to explore––places to see, things to do, food to eat––that you’ll want to have someone you can call up and bring along as you familiarize yourself with your new neighborhood.
MAKING THE MOST OF THE SURROUNDING AREA
Viamonte is situated within The Orchards, a bustling multi-generational retail and dining center just minutes from downtown Walnut Creek, and with all the incomparable resources of the Bay Area nearby, you have a rich roster of activities right at your fingertips. Set some social goals. Make an effort to try a new restaurant each week or take a trip to some local attractions like The Gardens at Heather Farm, the Broadway Plaza, the Ruth Bancroft Garden, or Lesher Center for the Arts. The neighborhood shuttle also allows you to venture downtown or to the nearby BART station to access the treasure and pleasures of the Bay Area, from the symphony and ballet to museums, restaurants and stadiums. Also explore some activities outside your CCRC. If you currently are involved with something like an art class or exercise class each week where you currently live, explore options to do the same in Walnut Creek. Find those similar communities that you loved before relocating. Getting involved in your community is one of the best ways to make friends. Making new friends might take a little bit of time as you adjust to your new home and life stage, but embrace the process and benefits it will bring to both your emotional and physical well-being!