Finding Friendship and Support at Nursing Facilities

Category: Assisted Living

In the tapestry of life, the golden years represent a unique chapter where wisdom is abundant, and the value of companionship becomes priceless. Amidst the challenges that accompany aging, the search for friendship, connection, and support becomes a vital pursuit, weaving threads of joy and resilience into the fabric of each resident’s story. 

A group of five seniors take a selfie together at a skilled nursing facility.

There is a need to create a community where laughter resonates, shoulders are leaned on, and the foundation of companionship is solidified with care, all in the pursuit of enriching the lives of seniors in nursing facilities. At such a fragile and uncertain time in our aging loved ones’ lives, the value of camaraderie is more necessary than ever. 

The empty-nester experience can make one feel isolated and no longer useful. Finding companionship can be a challenge when living alone. Skilled nursing facilities play a pivotal role in helping aging adults maintain their purpose and provide meaning. The support and friendships that can be found and obtained in a facility can enhance aging seniors’ quality of life to an immeasurable degree.

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How to find friends for the elderly 

Finding friends for the elderly involves thoughtful and intentional efforts to foster lasting, meaningful connections that contribute to the quality of life. Knowing where to start and how to effectively accomplish this task can be challenging. Thankfully, there are several avenues you can explore to offer the opportunity for friendship. 

  • Organized assisted living facility activities: Not only assisted living but also skilled nursing facility activities are a great way to interact with peers. They provide the opportunity for quality connections that lead to lasting friendships. Nursing facilities are not gray and colorless, lacking interaction, fun, and laughter. Some of the best friendships have been formed within the walls of these communities. Most facilities offer an array of activities for their residents to suit all manner of hobbies and interests. Many offer activities such as group outings, game nights, hobby-based outings, and social clubs. 
  • Social clubs: A great many nursing facilities have formed various social clubs. These are an excellent path toward friendship. Social clubs typically center around a theme. Individuals with a common interest can connect, socialize, and share knowledge and experience. If a facility does not have a particular social club you find interesting, consider speaking with management about forming one of your own. Skilled nursing facilities are diligent in their pursuit of creating a positive environment that supports socialization. 
  • Utilize technology: The thought of face-to-face encounters can cause anxiety for some individuals. For those who have difficulties opening up and socializing in person, technology is a valid option. With the help of the internet, connecting with others is easier than ever. A few taps on a cell phone or tablet, and the whole world is available to you from anywhere. The need for connection and companionship in the golden years has become increasingly recognized and, as a result, various institutions have created online communities catered specifically to the aging population.
  • Attend religious services: Religious services are a fantastic way to make meaningful connections. It is common for nursing facilities to offer religious services for all denominations. Seniors with shared beliefs and religious views can congregate and enjoy the service while fostering fellowship. 

What is the best way for seniors to make friends?

You have decided that genuine friendship is something you or someone you love could benefit from and are now on the path to obtaining it. Where do you begin? It is important to keep in mind that creating friendships is a conscious decision and a deliberate effort. 

  • Join a group with regular meetings: If there is a group of individuals that gets together for cards once a week, you can join. If there is a book club at your facility, ask if you can attend one of their meetings. Nursing facilities offer numerous opportunities to socialize with like-minded individuals to create friendships. 
  • Grab an empty seat at lunch: If you aren’t up to joining a group, consider grabbing an empty seat for lunch and engaging in conversation
  • Don’t put too much pressure on yourself: Remember that creating friendships is supposed to be fun. Don’t cause yourself stress by feeling like you have to force it. 

How can I help my parent make friends in a nursing facility? 

Sometimes encouragement is all it takes. You can utilize the assisted living nurse to help encourage interaction. Every nurse in assisted living facilities is well acquainted with the residents and can be a priceless advocate for creating opportunities for interactions between those with similar interests and personality types. 

Finding lasting friendships in assisted living

Two patients enjoying lunch together in a skilled nursing facility as a worker joins them.

The topic of friendship in the later years of life can seem trivial, but those connections are vital for a positive quality of life. As we age, isolation becomes more easily fostered when it doesn’t have to. Haven Health advocates for our residents, ensuring that you or a loved one is not alone during the golden years. We strive to provide all of our residents with meaningful connections and a sense of family and community in our facilities. 

Contact Haven Health today to discover how we can help you find and create lasting connections


Goltzman, J. (2021). 10 Tips for Making Friends at Any Age, According to Experts

Graham, J. (2023). How and why you should increase your social network as you age

Sellg, M. (2022). 12 Ways to Make Friends in Mid-Life and Beyond.