As people age, it is common for them to experience feelings of isolation and loneliness. This can lead to a variety of health issues, including depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline. If they suffer from dementia, a progressive disorder that affects a person’s cognitive functioning, including memory, thinking, and reasoning abilities, it can be challenging for caregivers to find activities that some seniors find engaging and enjoyable. One of the best ways to combat these issues is by staying engaged in social activities and continuing to learn new things. There are many activities that can help improve the quality of life for seniors and provide them with a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Here are some of the ways we’ve found that help seniors stay engaged and active in their communities.
Get Involved with the Community
One of the most rewarding ways for seniors to stay engaged is by volunteering. There are a variety of organizations that welcome senior volunteers, including hospitals, schools, and non-profit organizations. By volunteering, seniors can use their skills and expertise to help others and stay connected to their communities. It can also provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment, which is essential for mental and emotional health. Isolated seniors can volunteer for virtual opportunities, such as online mentoring or tutoring programs.
Many communities offer a variety of events throughout the year, such as festivals, concerts, and fairs. Getting involved in local events is a great way for seniors to stay engaged and connected to their communities. It can also provide opportunities for socialization and new friendships.
Enjoy Time with Clubs, Puzzles, and Games
Joining a club or group is another great way for seniors to stay engaged. There are a variety of clubs and groups available, from book clubs to gardening clubs to senior citizen centers. Joining a group allows seniors to connect with like-minded individuals who share their interests and passions. It can also provide opportunities for socialization and new friendships.
Puzzles and games can help improve cognitive functioning and promote socialization. Activities such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or board games can be enjoyable and help seniors with dementia feel engaged. Board games can be a fun way for seniors to socialize and engage in friendly competition. Games like chess, checkers, and Scrabble can be enjoyed alone or with friends. Card games are another great way for seniors to socialize and engage their minds. Games like bridge, poker, and rummy can be enjoyed alone or with friends.
Continue a Lifetime of Learning
Educational classes or workshops can be a great way for seniors to learn new skills or expand their knowledge. Classes on topics like history, literature, or art can be attended in person or online. Many community centers and senior centers offer classes and workshops on a variety of topics. These can include art classes, cooking classes, computer classes, and more. Attending classes or workshops is a great way for seniors to continue learning and stay mentally active. It can also provide opportunities for socialization and new friendships. Online learning can be a great way for seniors to learn new skills or expand their knowledge. Many universities and organizations offer free online courses that seniors can take from home.
Engage with the Arts
Art therapy can be a great way to help seniors, including those with dementia, to express themselves and tap into their creativity. Simple activities such as coloring or painting can be enjoyable and help improve their hand-eye coordination. Painting or drawing can be a therapeutic way for seniors to express themselves and create something beautiful.
Music can be very therapeutic for seniors with dementia. It can help them relax, reduce anxiety, and improve their mood. You can create a playlist of their favorite songs or play music from their era to help them reminisce about happy memories.
Hobbies and crafts can be a great way for seniors to stay engaged and creative. Activities like crocheting, knitting, or scrapbooking can provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Crafting can be a relaxing and enjoyable way for seniors to express their creativity alone or in a group. Seniors can take classes or workshops for various forms of arts and crafts expression, or work on their own.
Find Joy in Movement
Exercise is important for seniors’ physical and mental health, even when they are isolated. Physical activity can be a vital way for seniors to maintain their health, mobility, and well-being. There are a variety of physical activities that are suitable for seniors, including walking, swimming, yoga, and tai chi. Simple exercises, such as stretching or walking around the house, can help seniors stay active and reduce feelings of loneliness even when they must be indoors. Engaging in physical activity can help seniors improve their balance and strength, reduce the risk of falls, and improve their mental health.
Maintain Vital Relationships
Staying connected with family and friends is essential for seniors to stay engaged and active in their communities. Regular phone calls, emails,video chats, and visits can provide seniors with a sense of connection and belonging. It is important for family and friends to make an effort to include seniors in their activities and to listen to their concerns and needs. Regular contact with loved ones can provide a sense of companionship and help seniors feel less alone.
Reminiscing activities with family members and friends can also help seniors with dementia recall past memories and stimulate their cognitive abilities. You can show them old family photos, listen to their stories, or play games that involve recalling past events.
Find Furry Friends
Pet therapy can help seniors feel more relaxed and reduce feelings of loneliness. Seniors can interact with pets through online videos or adopt a pet from a local shelter. Adopting a pet can provide seniors with a sense of companionship and purpose. Pets can provide unconditional love and support, and can help seniors stay active and engaged. However, it is important to consider the responsibilities and challenges of pet ownership, and to choose a pet that is suitable for the senior’s lifestyle.
Staying engaged and active is essential for seniors to maintain their physical, mental, and emotional health. The caregivers at Morningside House are committed to providing engaging activities to help improve the quality of life for their senior residents, including those with dementia, and promote a sense of purpose and fulfillment. At Morningside House, seniors can continue to learn and grow, improve their physical and mental health, and enjoy a fulfilling and meaningful life.
Book a tour to see all the ways that seniors stay active and engaged at Morningside House.