At Hebrew SeniorLife communities, we believe friendship has the power to help our residents live healthier, happier lives. Our communities are hubs for many different types of friendship, friendships forged through common hobbies, experiences and along gender lines.
The NewBridge Men’s Club at NewBridge on the Charles started as an outlet for the male residents, especially those single and widowed, to get to know one another and share their talents and experiences. Studies reveal that men who have close friends as they age are generally happier and live longer than men who don’t. Yet older men often have fewer friends than older women. It can be particularly difficult for older men to make new friends if they are single or widowed and don’t have the benefit of a spouse to draw them out. Without a network of friends, older adults are more likely to experience greater isolation and loneliness.
The NewBridge Men’s Club provides an easily accessible community without stress. Gerry Sands started the club two years ago after he observed more men dining alone and realized there needed to be a way to better connect the men in the community. Monthly meetings are open to all who desire to attend. “It’s created an environment where we all have so many more friends,” said Sands. The club now draws up to 100 men at each meeting.
We want to encourage all older men to keep friendship in their lives by connecting with other men and realizing the benefits that come from sharing hobbies, interests and life experiences together. Being part of a senior living community makes it easier for men to find common interests, form friendships and have the time and resources to cultivate their friendship.
For men not living in a senior community, there are several ways to find and make new friends. Consider joining a fraternal organization or a men’s club that is part of a religious organization. Both are places where one can find brotherly bonding, common ideals, a sense of tradition and responsibility as well as a focus on service.
Many areas have retired men’s club where men can meet, hear a speaker, take day trips and socialize regularly. Look for clubs and groups that share your interests or hobbies on the web or in your local newspaper, and give them a try. Check out the community calendar to find local events you might enjoy attending where you can meet other like minded people.
Multigenerational friendships can also expand your circle of friends and connect you with the energy and curiosity of younger people. Some older men enjoy sharing their knowledge and life experience by tutoring or mentoring young men. Your local school district is a great source to find such opportunities.
Put effort into staying connected with old friends. Make sure your current friends know how much you value their friendship by calling, writing and planning visits or outings to see each other. Although causal friendships are enjoyable, a close friend and confidante can be most significant in relieving isolation and depression.
Visit www.hslindependentliving.org to view all of our video stories of friendship in our Power of Friendship series.
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