An 83-year-old who moved from New York to Florida explains how she's working to prevent lonelines... - 5 minutes read

Rosalind, 83, spent her whole life living in New York. Her family was there, and while she was single for most of her time in the state, she had many friendships and a range of activities she enjoyed doing.

All of that changed when she decided to move to Florida three years ago, following her niece's family. While Rosalind — who requested to keep her last name withheld for privacy — said she was happy to be in warm weather with her family, she found that the community she moved into had a younger population, leaving her with few things in common with her neighbors.

"I followed them because otherwise I'd be in New York by myself," Rosalind told Business Insider. "And who knows? Right now I'm in good shape. But who knows what can happen later on? What if I would need medical help?"

Back in New York, Rosalind said she was active with her friends, playing tennis and pickleball at a local club. But after suffering a heart attack, she's no longer able to participate in those activities, making socializing even more difficult in Florida.

"I can't play tennis, which I love, or pickleball. And that's how you meet people. And that's what I love to do, but I can't do that," Rosalind said. "So that was taken away. And so how do you meet people in a development with younger, married people with children and a dog? I don't have a dog. It's just me."

To attempt to find other social connections, Rosalind said she's taken up playing bridge, participating in a book club, and attending local plays. She's also planning to sing in her church's choir in the fall. But even with those efforts, she's continuing to struggle with loneliness sparked by her move to Florida.

While moving to a new place can be an isolating experience for anyone, loneliness tends to hit older adults especially hard. US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy declared loneliness an epidemic in 2023, and while younger generations have a range of active avenues to find connections, older adults' options are more restricted.

Rosalind acknowledged that she could be better at initiating social outings with her peers, but the fact remains that she's struggling to find lasting connections beyond her family.

"The most important thing in life is family and then friends," Rosalind said. "It's very important to have friends. And I don't really have any."

'It's not an easy road'

After spending over 80 years in New York, Rosalind said she's still getting used to the quieter life in Florida. The weather is warmer, the pool is always open, and there's not the same New York hustle she had grown so acclimated to — she even has to enter the local pharmacy's address into her GPS to find it, which she hasn't done in years.

"It's something to get used to, and I like it," Rosalind said. "I just need to get more friends."

When it comes to making friends, "it's not an easy road," she said. While she has made efforts to meet more people her age and invite them out to lunch and various activities, she said she has not reached the point yet where she has anyone in Florida whom she could call up and confide in.

"You go to lunch, and you talk about superfluous things, you know, the weather," she said. "It's not turning into a deep conversation because they're just acquaintances at this point."

BI has previously spoken to other older adults struggling with the same challenges as Rosalind — and some of them found ways to facilitate both surface-level and deeper connections. Maria Maki, a 79-year-old who moved to a new city in Minnesota at the height of the pandemic, said it was difficult to meet new people in a new city, so she used the app Nextdoor to connect with her neighbors and meet for coffee, or another activity, once a week.

Some lawmakers are also working to bring federal dollars to the loneliness crisis. Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy and Bob Casey introduced a bill in December to combat loneliness among older adults, with Murphy previously telling BI that "with family starting to scatter, and more kids because of the economy and because of the cost of living, are having to move further away, older adults end up getting isolated."

Rosalind isn't giving up. She said she recognizes that it takes time to find close friends, and she still plans to find new ways to facilitate connections — she just wishes it was easier.

"So now I'm sitting here, and there's nobody I could call and say, 'Hey, you want to go to this show? You want to take a walk?' No, I can't do that because I don't have that type of friends at this moment," she said. "And my niece has a husband, and she has a daughter, and she has a granddaughter. You know how full life is with a granddaughter; she has to get taken to school, and, so in that respect, it's lonely."

Are you finding ways to ease loneliness in your life? Share your story with this reporter at

Source: Business Insider

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