04/02/2014 10:22 am ET Updated Apr 02, 2014

The Power Of Aging Parents' Friendships

Alistair Berg via Getty Images

If my 91 year old mother in law, Alice, is any example, finding and forming new friendships as a widow is hard. Even for women who are accustomed to being the ones to reach out to others, it is still a challenge to stay socially connected as we age. Alice is blessed with a clear mind, the ability to drive in the daytime at least, and an interest in activities in her community. She gets out and does things even when she has to do so by herself. Most of her still married friends discriminate against a widow and no longer include her in their outings. She’s not part of a couple any longer and it can hurt. She has had to adapt.

For the majority of older adults who find themselves alone or with an impaired spouse who can’t go out, it can be more of a challenge to meet and relate to others who share some interests. Some seniors prefer to live in seniors’ communities, as Alice does, with at least ready access to others who face similar challenges and have activity choices that appeal to her age group. She’s in her own home, but there is plenty to choose from nearby, with a gym and pool, club house, classes, and regular programs for entertainment. And she participates.

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