Part of what you get when you buy into the traditional retirement community is easy access to social activities. There is pickle ball, balloon volleyball , group movies, church services and excursions and classes upon classes. For the 55 plus set there is always that thing with the little ball and the 18 holes. As the song goes- friends are all you need. The research shows people live longer and better lives when they stay attached to a group. One the reasons people site for aging in their original home if not community, is to keep those attachments .
But that can not always happen. The Blue Zone books repeatedly talk about the centenarians with their walking moais. That is a group of friends who continue to share live activities as they progress in age. Whether it be playing cards or just gossiping having a group of friends to bounce you worries, cares, triumphs and fears off us sounds lovely. That works in a small mountainous town in Sardinia where the population will live and die within the same 5 mile square area but it does not work in America unless it is a religiously affiliated group. People have to move for financial, climate and medical reasons and your best bet is often long phone calls , consistent email and maybe if you are lucking Skyping once and awhile.
Well again boomers are diverse group. Part of the reluctance I have heard about joining a retirement community is that they would be in close proximity to many people that do not share their values. The who do I have to sit with for dinner is often more a cross to bear than something to look forward to.
So where does that leave us feisty independent boomers? Before I moved I took a course from the local senior center on aging in place. From a social standpoint, they highly recommended planning ahead to have a least three activities or ways of meeting new people in your new community. Two of my original three have crashed and burned but there are other areas to focus on. Meet-up is a great free app brought to us by Millennials? You can always start your own group and see if anyone shows up.
Being shy is not the same as being numb. Being numb is not realizing that if you are losing friends at your original address and finding it hard to make connections in a newer area that you have to keep the effort up. It is like exercising your mind or body – have a plan and some discipline and you will be rewarded.