Friday, May 31, 2013

Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO, Offers Tips for Making Friends in Retirement

Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO since 2001, has worked with older adults for more than a decade. Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure, and its staff have witnessed the benefits of social interactions and friendships well into the golden years. Making new friends later in life is often necessary due to lifestyle change or moving to warmer climates, confirms Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO. In earlier years, friends could be made at work, or at a child’s soccer game or school program. In retirement, it’s a little different, but a new friend can be found around every corner with a little perseverance, Kelley Hamilton of Bonaventure advises.

Volunteer with an organization

Volunteering is an excellent way to meet like-minded people, says Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO. Find an organization you relate to, then call or check the group’s website for volunteer opportunities. As Kelley Hamilton of Bonaventure explains, there’s a good chance others will also be volunteering just like you. If you volunteer regularly with the same organization, you will begin to form bonds with other volunteers and the staff in many cases, explains Kelley Hamilton. Bonaventure seniors regularly volunteer at local schools, hospitals and theaters, and have made many friendships through these efforts. More than making friends, volunteering offers the added benefit of sharing skills and expertise with organizations doing good in the community, notes Kelley Hamilton of Bonaventure.

Get a dog and go for a walk

When moving to a new retirement community, a dog can help you meet your neighbors, says Kelley Hamilton of Bonaventure. A dog will force you to take regular walks around the neighborhood, where you will likely bump into several neighbors and other dog owners. As Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO, explains, a dog can really help start conversations and put you in front of the same people regularly, thus forming new bonds.

Do what you love

Another great way to meet new people and make friends is to keep up with familiar hobbies in your new surroundings, explains Kelley Hamilton. Bonaventure seniors regularly knit together, go golfing or biking, or tend gardens. In your new community, continue to bike, walk and golf regularly. Through regular routines, you will end up encountering many of the same people. After several interactions, people begin to form friendships, confirms Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO. In addition to doing what you love, consider exploring new interests, advises Kelley Hamilton. Bonaventure seniors and others alike benefit from trying activities they have always wanted to do, but have never gotten around to doing, such as taking a photography class, learning to ballroom dance, or joining a water aerobics class. By engaging in these new activities, you will be exposed to a whole new group of future friends, says Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO.

Just ask

While making friends later in life can be awkward and uncomfortable, as Kelley Hamilton of Bonaventure explains, friendships and social support groups are essential to living vitally. Research has proven that people with strong social interactions can actually live longer. So, get out there and ask the neighbor over for dinner, and accept invitations to events that may not seem so interesting. With a little work, friendships will begin to grow and flourish, says Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO.

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