Aging in Place: July 2023

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Please welcome a new contributor to this column and a recent new member of our Tualatin Community, Bev Forsman.

Companionship is an essential need, just as food, air, shelter, and water are. 

Strong social connections are linked to overall improved mental and physical health.

It’s not unusual for a senior to end up in a new town, away from lifelong friends. Making new friends can be a challenge, but there are other seniors out there waiting to meet you!

The Juanita Pohl Center (Tualatin’s Active Aging Center) is the ideal place to start. The center offers the following categories of services:  Adult Fitness, Health & Wellness Programs, Adult Trips & Travel, Adult Enrichment Programs, Drop-in Activities, Adult Services & Support Groups, Nutrition Program, and Pickleball. (8513 SW Tualatin Road)

Fitness classes and water aerobics for older adults are also available at The Tualatin Community Marquis. The café, which is open to the public, is frequently abuzz with activity and welcoming seniors who are willing and eager to share a cup of coffee with a new friend. (19805 SW Boones Ferry Road)

The Nextdoor app (nextdoor.com) is free and allows users to connect with local neighbors. Some of the Tualatin groups on Nextdoor include The Tualatin Walkie Talkies, Tualatin Urgent Needs Exchange, and Doggy Mama. Peruse the long list of groups and find neighbors who share your passions.

Everyone has unique needs, and perhaps a local support group might be a place to make friends as well as benefit from the meetings.   Juanita Pohl offers information on some support groups, and others can be found online.

There are service clubs,  as well as many churches in the area. Tualatin has its own VFW, VFW Auxiliary, Tualatin Riverkeepers, Elks, Lions Club, Rotary Club, Friends of the Tualatin Library, and the Winona Grange.

Volunteering might allow you to make friends while becoming involved in a cause you care about. The Tualatin City website has a section devoted to volunteering. VolunteerMatch.org and AARP are other sources of volunteering information.

Meet Up groups are another way to find friends who share similar interests. Meet Up is a social media platform that allows people to connect online and in person. It’s easy to look for a group that suits your needs, or you can even start your own. A glance through Meet Up groups near Tualatin includes Social Singles 50+, Finding Female Friends over 50 – Portland, 60+++Social Meetup Group, Portland 50+ Meetup Group, and PacNW 60+ Adults Walking & Hiking. Always take safety precautions when meeting new people, and join events held in public areas. (meetup.com)

Facebook provides an easy way to reconnect and stay in touch with old friends or friends you’ve just met. 

Additionally, it offers information about local events. Facebook is highly popular with older adults, and seniors are the fasting growing group of users. If you opt to join, be sure to keep tight security settings, use a strong password, and be aware of scammers and fake friend requests.  

If making friends is taking longer than you’d hoped and loneliness is creeping in, consider calling the Senior Loneliness Line. (503-200-1633 or 800-282-7035) Among other services, they provide a friendly person to talk to, someone to listen to, emotional support and understanding, and resources and referrals. They support Oregonians aged 55 and over. 

Sometimes making a new friend can be as easy as stopping to talk with a neighbor. Opportunities for friendship are abundant, but it’s up to you to take that first step. Tualatin is a friendly, welcoming town, and you’re on your way!

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