Sunday, December 5, 2021

Older people want to make new friends but don’t know how, survey finds

One quarter of older people would like to make a new pool of friends but have no idea where to start, a poll has shown.

A survey of 1,000 people aged 65 and over revealed 30 per cent think they have lost the art of small talk as they have got older.

And almost half don’t feel like they spend enough time socialising.

Overall, a third of over 65s admitted they have experienced loneliness – a feeling which can cause the decline of both their physical and mental health.

When it comes to why older people would like to make more friends, 16 per cent said it was because many of their companions had passed away, while 15 per cent believe it would make them feel less lonely.

While 20 per cent feel making more friends would give them an excuse to get out of the house more.

The poll was commissioned by Churchill Retirement Living as part of its Friendship Month, where it is encouraging people to visit its developments and see the social element of independent living.

Spencer J McCarthy, Chairman & CEO for the retirement living provider, said: “It is sad to see that so many people over the age of 65 feel like they’re not socialising as much as they would like or they’re struggling to make new friends.

“With the spare time it brings, retirement provides an opportunity to try new things and meet new people.

“Age shouldn’t be a barrier – if anything it should be an opportunity.

“Joining social clubs, attending community events, volunteering and taking up new hobbies are just a number of ways those who might be lonely or bored can meet like-minded people.”

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The study also found that the average over 65 has six friends – with a third seeing their them once or twice per week.

However, 31 per cent of those polled via OnePoll admitted they have lost confidence in making friends as they have got older.

The main reason was because they haven’t tried to make friends in so long, while many feel like they are too old to make new friends and 44 per cent don’t know where to go to meet people.

And of the over 65s who still work, a few even feel they struggle to make friends in the workplace.

Churchill Retirement Living is encouraging people to leave loneliness behind and make new friends, with a £20 Café Nero or Costa voucher is on offer to every new visitor who takes a tour of one of its new developments across the country by 17 December.

A spokesperson for Churchill Retirement Living added: “We understand the importance of friendship as well as independence – and we do our best to help bring people together.

“Millions of older people across the UK find themselves experiencing loneliness or struggle to find ways to make friends – and social isolation can bring misery when it needn’t be the case.

“We’d encourage, where possible, people who are looking to increase their social interactions to pick up the phone and speak to groups and societies which hold coffee mornings and other events.”



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