Column: Meeting new friends

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Commentary by Lorene Burkhart

As we age, especially during the final years, it’s easy to burrow into our “comfort holes” and stop making an effort to meet new people. This is often the situation if we remain in our own homes instead of moving to a retirement community. I suspect that some elderly folks fear the idea of meeting new people, so they cling to their comfort zones.

When people are naturally shy and have never needed to acclimate themselves to new surroundings, the idea of strangers and strangeness is daunting. Thus the statement, “I’m staying here in my home until I die.”

Adult children can help their parents adjust to the possibility of moving by seeking counsel on how to approach the subject of moving. Helping elderly parents to think of it over time allows them to make their own decision. Everyone will be happier with the final result.

Of course, the ideal situation is when the parents conduct their own search for where they would like to live. There are plenty of opportunities to visit facilities, have lunch or dinner and spend enough time to get a feel for the kind of people who live there.

My friends and I recently had the pleasure of dining with a prospective resident from a distant state, along with her sister, who is a local resident. They had rented an apartment in our community for a few days so they could spend some time on their own exploring the facility and its amenities. What a great idea. Yes, she signed a contract, and we are looking forward to her permanent arrival.

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