We don’t always get a say in who our neighbors are, but it’s up to us to reach out to them, to get to know them. The incomparable Mr. Rogers encouraged us to be good neighbors wherever we live; he’d likely offer the same advice to residents of senior living communities.
Some senior living campuses are quite large, made of multiple high-rise apartment buildings, acres of ranch- or cottage-style residences, or condos in a resort-like setting…which makes getting to know your neighbors a logistical challenge. Sometimes, residents who are still active in volunteer, work or recreational engagements elsewhere may find little time to socialize “on campus.” Also, if you move to assisted or independent living with your spouse, you may be less likely to get out and meet new people.
To overcome these obstacles and provide the opportunity for residents to connect with neighbors and peers, most senior living communities have a number of common areas and facilities available for resident use (swimming pools, fitness centers, golf courses, cafés/snack shops, workshops and art studio spaces, etc.).
Besides the social benefits, getting to know your neighbors in senior living is valuable in cases of emergency or inclement weather (there is nothing like a power outage or snowstorm to bring neighbors together) — and perhaps most importantly, it builds a sense of comfort, security and community in the once strange place that is now called home.