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The Arbor Company Senior Living Blog

Introverts vs. Extroverts: How Each Fits Into Senior Living

Jun 1, 2018 6:30:00 AM / Francine O'Neill Francine O'Neill

Introverts vs. Extroverts: How Each Fits Into Senior Living

Personality types allow us the chance to know more about ourselves and those around us. Generally, there are two broad categories that people fit into: extroverts and introverts. There are benefits and challenges for each of the types, and sometimes people evolve from one type to another as they experience new phases in life. Older adults can often be designated as introverts or extroverts as well, and no matter what type of personality they have, all seniors can find homes and friendships in senior living communities.

What are Extroverts and Introverts?

Extroverts are often seen as social butterflies, able to strike up a conversation with anyone around them. They are often the life of the party and the first ones to volunteer to host the next get-together. However, there is more to extroverts than just parties and small talk. These individuals charge up when around other people. Spending too much time alone can make extroverts feel sad, depressed or lonely.

In contrast, introverts are often seen as shy loners. Too often portrayed as people with their heads in books, there is much more to introverts than meets the eye. While some introverts can struggle with starting conversations with strangers or new acquaintances, many introverts are good at connecting with others. Most introverts choose to spend their energy on meaningful and vulnerable conversations with a few trusted friends. Introverts can feel overwhelmed in huge groups, preferring a cup of coffee with a friend over a huge social gathering. Finally, introverts recharge when alone and away from the hustle and bustle of life. They are likely to feel great after taking a long bath or a solitary walk.

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Extroverts and Introverts in Senior Living

Senior living communities cater to more than one type of senior. Executives and team members strive to make all residents feel welcome, and they offer multiple ways for seniors to connect and recharge. Introverts and extroverts need different amenities to feel their best, and exceptional senior living communities are up to the challenge.

For extroverts, senior living communities offer the hustle and bustle to keep them feeling engaged. New friends and neighbors are nearby, making a quick visit after dinner easy for a chatty extrovert. There are staff members awake and ready to connect at all hours of the day, and an active event calendar means there is always something to do. Examples of opportunities suited for extroverts in senior living can include:

  • Being a part of the community’s Welcome Committee
  • Attending Resident Council meetings
  • Congregating with new and old friends in the social areas throughout the community
  • Participating in activities, events and trips planned by the community staff
  • Socializing with tablemates during meals

Introverts can feel overwhelmed with some aspects of senior living communities, though they certainly benefit from socialization at mealtimes and events. However, it is important that introverts living in a senior community have the chance to escape in meaningful activities in solitude. Senior communities that offer private reading nooks give a cozy option for some quiet time. Introverts can enjoy plenty of time to recharge alone and to make meaningful connections in small groups that could include:

  • Participating in Book Club or other small discussion groups
  • Meeting a few friends in the library or hosting a close friend in their apartment
  • Trying out out a new learning opportunity by attending a lecture or new hobby class
  • Connecting with others through facilitated discussions, which take the guesswork out of trying to connect with a new face.

Both introverts and extroverts can enjoy the activities offered on senior living communities’ campuses. Trips and events can be the perfect way for extroverts to make new friends, while introverts can enjoy a bit of peace and quiet with an early morning coffee club. Staffed with team members who specialize in activity programming for both extroverts and introverts, senior living communities are the best place to enjoy the retirement years happily and safely.

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Topics: Senior living

Francine O'Neill

Francine O'Neill

Francine O’Neill serves as a clinical resource for resident care directors, overseeing ongoing quality improvement programs and regulatory compliance. She assists with identifying and implementing programs that enhance care delivery and service to our residents and their families. Francine has more than 20 years of experience in health care, serving in both clinical leadership and operations management positions across the continuum of care including assisted living, long term care and acute care. Francine's favorite traits in others are COMMITMENT and ACCOUNTABILITY.

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