Maintaining strong social ties is essential for enjoying good health and emotional well-being as an assisted living community member. At the Bethesda Gardens community in Fort Worth, residents enjoy plenty of opportunities to socialize with like-minded people while participating in a broad program of activities.
While making new friends is life-enhancing, many seniors in assisted living communities find themselves wanting to reconnect with old friends. If you lost touch with someone a long time ago, it could appear an impossible task to track them down. However, there are plenty of effective ways seniors can find and reach out to important people from their past.
If you kept address books from years ago, try to find any contact information you recorded for your old friend. If you lost touch a long way back, they are likely to have moved or changed their phone numbers. However, plenty of people stay in the same house for many years, so you might get lucky and locate them straight away by calling them or sending them a letter asking to get back in contact.
Generally, a social media site like Facebook is a good first port of call for reconnecting with old friends if you don't have their contact details because so many people use it. It's also free and straightforward to search for people, and you don't need high levels of computer literacy to find old friends on Facebook.
Start by typing the name of the person you want to reconnect with into the search bar and clicking return. You will then get a list of people with the same name alongside thumbnail images of their profile pictures. If your friend has a relatively uncommon name, finding them on the results list may be easy. Otherwise, you may need to scroll through a few pages to check if your friend is there.
Once you think you've found the right person, try clicking on their profile to see if it contains any pictures or information to confirm who they are. However, some people choose to keep their profiles private. You can still send them a friend request with a private message saying who you are, indicating that you think they are your old friend and asking to reconnect. If you can't find your friend on Facebook, try another social media platform or move onto one of the other search methods on this list.
If you and your friend shared mutual acquaintances and you're still in touch with them, they may be able to help you get back in touch. Try explaining to mutual friends that you want to reconnect with the person and ask if they have their current email or phone number. Even if they have also lost touch with the person, they may have other contacts who can help.
If you went to the same college as your old friend, they might be an alumni association member. If you're not already a member, reach out to the association to sign up. You may then be able to find out the contact information of your friend. Alternatively, consider attending an alumni get-together with other graduates from your year. Even if you don't strike lucky and your friend doesn't attend, it's a great chance to rekindle other friendships with your old classmates.
Once you've managed to track down your old friend, it's time to reach out and suggest getting back in touch. While many seniors feel daunted by the idea of initiating contact, your friend may be very glad to hear from you.
If you're nervous about calling your old friend out of the blue, consider sending them a text, sending an email or even writing a letter saying that you often think of them and would love to reconnect. Sending a message instead of calling allows both you and your friend to consider what to say without pressure.
If your friend responds, devote some energy to rebuilding the friendship. One of the best ways to do this is to ask questions and show an interest in their life and family. Reminiscing about shared experiences from your past is also a great way to rebuild closeness, and it can be great fun to revisit funny stories together. You could also suggest meeting in a restaurant or cafe or invite them for lunch at your assisted living apartment if they live nearby.
Hopefully, your old friend will be just as keen as you are to rekindle the friendship. However, it's important to respect their decision if they decline contact or don't respond at all. It's always hard to reach out to an old friend and find that they don't want to reconnect, but try not to take their lack of interest too personally. There are always plenty of like-minded seniors to connect with at Bethesda Gardens in Fort Worth if your plans to get back in touch with an old friend don't work out.