Making Friends After 65: Social Groups for Older Adults

Chad Birt

Written by Chad Birt on Mon May 22 2023.

Friends sitting on a log.

Nearly a quarter of adults 65 and older have few social connections. Unfortunately, this absence of a support network can lead to loneliness and isolation, increasing the risk of depression and other mental health issues. 

“Socializing with friends and family, and engaging in meaningful conversation, can really help seniors maintain their cognitive abilities,” said Lynn Corbet, a clinical audiologist at Amplifon. “It can also encourage them to stay active, which is very beneficial for their overall physical health.”

But where do you start? Making new friends can be intimidating, especially if you have social anxiety. Still, “if you’re shy or introverted, you need socializing and friends just as much as those who are extraverted,” she explained. “You just may need it in different forms or social settings. Remember, it’s okay to listen and not always be the person who is talking.”

“In general, stepping outside your comfort zone, even in small ways is exceptionally beneficial for your mental health. It can make you feel empowered and certainly less lonely.”

Do you want to have more friends who are your age? Maybe you’re a caregiver who wants to help a loved one connect with others. As a starting point, we’ve compiled a list of seven social groups for seniors.

Social Groups for Older Adults

1) GetSetUp

GetSetUp is an online learning community for folks 50 and older who want to obtain new skills, connect with others, and unlock new life experiences. The platform has thousands of classes on various topics, including art, business, cooking, and technology.

“Since joining GetSetUp, I’ve won an entrepreneurial contest where over 400 seniors submitted business ideas,” said Twyla Teitzel, a 66-year-old and GSU member from Sacramento, California. “I now lead a community class and create promotional videos for them. In-person gatherings are also available in various areas and I have friends all over the world.”

2) The Red Hat Society

This social organization “encourages women on their quest to get the most out of life.” Originally founded to give women 50 and older a break from their daily routines, the RHS emphasizes the importance of friendship and sisterhood and the value of play in everyday life. 

Enrollment includes access to a private members-only website and invitations to in-person and digital events and activities around the world. 

3) Senior Planet from AARP

Senior Planet from AARP fuses the power of technology with the benefits of fitness and socialization. It’s an online hub featuring:

  • Free online fitness classes

  • Health and wellness articles

  • Training videos

  • 1-1 technology tutoring

  • And more!

“I have taken several technical and exercise classes with this organization,” Teitzel said. “They also meet in person in various areas around the country.”

4) Silver Sneakers

Silver Sneakers is an app and online community for seniors who want to stay fit. It’s free for adults 65 and older through select Medicare plans and features thousands of online fitness classes and workshops. 

As a member, you can attend these classes online or in person. The program offers more than 80 courses led by experienced instructors at community centers, parks, and YMCAs. 

5) The Audubon Society

Enjoy birdwatching and spending time in nature? Then the Audubon Society may be for you. Though this club isn’t specifically for older adults, it’s a great way to meet and interact with fellow conservationists and bird lovers. Plus, membership has perks; signing up includes a subscription to Audubon Magazine and local chapter opportunities. 

6) Visit a local retirement community or assisted living facility

Sometimes, the easiest way to meet people your age is to visit a local retirement community or senior home.


“At assisted living and senior home facilities, there are lots of planned activities that allow people to socialize and make connections,” said Sara Robertson, CEO of Arbors Assisted Living. “From planned game nights and live entertainment to movies and community meals, there are lots of ways to interact with others.”

“If you don’t live in one of these facilities, you can still get involved. For example, I recommend getting in touch with your local assisted living or senior facility and offering to volunteer,” suggests Robertson. “Most of these places are happy to welcome community members so they can meet others, socialize, and get out of the house.” 

7) SilverSurfers book club

SilverSurfers is a lifestyle website and online community for people 50 and older. It covers many topics, including crafts, gardening, and fashion, but its book club really stands out. Every quarter, the site’s curators release a new collection of books for over 50s. Each installment highlights new material from various genres and authors, providing an endless supply of fresh reading material.  

Additional Advice

If you struggle to make friends, know it’s nothing to be ashamed of. While it may not seem connected, visiting a doctor may help. “Having difficulties socializing or connecting with other seniors may indicate poor hearing health,” Corbet said. “If you have difficulty hearing, you will find it difficult to connect because hearing is such a vital part of any conversation.”

“Be aware of any health problems that may hinder your ability to communicate and talk with your doctor about them at your next checkup,” recommended Corbet. “You can also take a hearing test online to evaluate your own hearing capacity.” 


If you’re 65 or older, making new friends can be challenging, but it isn’t impossible. By stepping outside your comfort zone and pursuing your interests, you’re bound to meet like-minded individuals with whom you can have a good time. 

“If you’re wanting to make new friends, try online meet-ups first and then start branching out,” Teitzel said. “Think to yourself, ‘When was the last time I tried something new?’ It can be scary at first, but I encourage you to take risks. It’s worth it!”

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Chad Birt
Chad Birt

Chad Birt is a freelance medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.