Many retirement communities offer quite a few activities for their residents. These activities can be:
- Sports, such as golf, or bocce games,
- Games, such as Bingo or chess championships,
- Cultural events such as an international movie night or trip to a museum,
- Culinary events, such as potluck or cooking classes.
Events such as these can be fun and offer a lovely opportunity to build new friendships. However, some of the newer residents in the community may be hindered by what they perceive as a border. A border can keep someone out of a place, such as a country, or out of a social setting.
Some reasons residents may not be comfortable attending retirement community activities are listed below, along with some suggestions to ease them into the community:
- Feeling of inferiority. Do some of the residents come from a different social setting than the majority of the residents? Are most of the other retirees college educated? There will be an occasional newcomer who has a lower degree of education and feels slightly inferior. Solution – encourage the residents who have been there longer to reach out to the new ones, and to talk about their own backgrounds. Most of us have pretty humble beginnings, and it rarely takes more than a generation or two to find out just how humble.
- Economic scale. Similarly, some of the residents may not be able to afford some of the fees and costs associated with golf games or special dinners. Solution – offer a pre-paid brunch to all new residents, and raffle off free dinners or golf games on a regular basis.
- Shyness. If a resident is new to the community, he or she may be reluctant to meet whole groups of people. Solution – you can help ease them into the community by setting up a Welcome Committee, who can offer to introduce the new members around.
- Lack of transportation. Some people stop driving after a certain age, or they no longer own a car. The lack of transportation can certainly put a damper on trying to socialize with members of the new retirement community. Solution – offer a carpool – the closest residents can pick up the neighbor without a car. In exchange for the car ride, a few homemade cookies or bowl of tomatoes from a container garden can make a lovely “thank you” gift.
Overall, the theme is “Be a good neighbor”!