It’s well known that having friends boosts your wellbeing.  In fact, today’s research has even shown that having numerous friends reduces the risk of medical conditions like heart disease. “Stereotypes of aging tend to paint older adults in many cultures as sad and lonely,” says lead author Dr. Wändi Bruine de Bruin in a release by the Americans Psychological Association. Recent studies have also demonstrated the continued importance of friendship and positive relationship networks for assisted living residents without cognitive impairment and for residents with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia.

Engagement Coordinator for Raya’s Paradise, Elsa Argueta added, “my goal is to encourage and create opportunities for our residents to make new personal connections. Through programs designed based on our residents’ hobbies and interests, I have found that seniors begin to gravitate to those with shared interests. This way they are able to keep up the social interactions that keep them mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy.

At Raya’s Paradise, we are aware that making friends in a new place can be a challenge. Elsa added, “because of this, we create events for new residents that allow for connections. These connections result in a feeling of community and family.” As a best practice, Elsa recommended that though a new residents may be somewhat anxious, tired, or overwhelmed by a move, “it is a great start to attend outing and activities as they act as a good way to strike up conversations, ask questions, and find out what upcoming programs and special events there are to look forward to.”