This blog was updated on January 20, 2023.
Perhaps the best part of living in a senior living community is the action. Events, concerts, and fun meetups are a part of daily life for residents. Today’s social activities for seniors are anything but boring. Just one glance at a senior living event calendar will reveal cooking demonstrations, excursions to museums, and live concerts.
If you or your loved one are retired and looking for activities for senior citizens that are anything but boring, we’ve got you covered. Here are just a few fun activities that you can enjoy while living in a senior community or while living at home. Remember, mental and physical health can be greatly improved by connecting with peers. Spending time at an event, making friends, or catching up with old acquaintances can have a significantly positive impact on your overall wellness.
1. Hiking and Walking Clubs
Movement is medicine, and a good walk outside can provide a breath of fresh air and a boost to natural “feel good” endorphins. Walking around the community is an easy way for a senior to keep active, and can be a good avenue to making friends. Some communities even arrange transportation so that club members can walk in a nearby park or on a walking path. Get the whole family involved by taking a hike with grandkids.
2. Group Exercise Classes
Group exercises, like yoga, tai chi, or Feldenkrais, are fun and social ways to improve flexibility and balance, which are key to preventing falls in older adults. Some communities offer chair exercise classes, and others may offer water aerobics programs, which can appeal to seniors who are living with arthritis.
3. Wii Sports
The senior in your life may not be able to shoot baskets anymore, but Nintendo’s Wii interactive console games, in which you move your body instead of pressing buttons or using a joystick, offer a nice alternative. There are a variety of games that the sports-minded seniors can play, including bowling, tennis, and golf, as well as the aforementioned basketball. The Wii gaming system is a perk at many Arbor communities.
4. Gardening Clubs
Gardening is a superb way to go outside and stay active and connected to others. Digging in the dirt, planting, and weeding can help seniors relax and unwind. Not only that, but they also get to reap the benefits of their labor: beautiful flowers or tasty veggies.
5. Book Clubs
If the senior in your life is an avid reader, then chances are they’d love the opportunity to discuss their favorite — or least favorite! — books with others. Not only do book clubs support seniors’ efforts to stay sharp, mentally alert, and in touch with the world, but they also have a huge social element.
6. Life Story Exercises
There may be no activity for older adults more meaningful than capturing their own unique life story, either in written form or by gathering their photos and mementos together in a scrapbook — not only do they preserve a slice of history, but they also get the chance to reflect on their own life experiences.
7. Lectures and Continuing Ed Classes
Expanding one’s knowledge base is a surefire way to stay mentally alert and engaged. To facilitate this, some communities provide on-site lectures or continuing ed classes, while others arrange for residents to take advantage of the academic and cultural offerings of nearby colleges.
8. Online Collaborative Games
Connecting with others doesn’t always mean participating in an in-person event. There are many benefits to in-person socialization, but chatting with friends and family online can be more convenient and is still helpful for overall health. Try playing online games with people you know, including family members or friends who might live far away or in different time zones.
9. Art Classes
For seniors who have worked hard all their lives, retirement can open the door to newfound creativity. Watercolor and acrylic painting as well as drawing and sketching are all high on the list of avenues for artistic expression, and making art in a group can be an enjoyable way to engage with others.
10. Field Trips and Excursions
No one wants to spend all their time at home, even when home is a vibrant assisted living community. The best communities offer special trips and excursions to local attractions such as museums, symphonies, and nature preserves. Some even partner with community service organizations to help seniors volunteer and give back. If you’re looking for something to do with your loved one, a seasonal excursion is a wonderful way to create memories and a meaningful experience for both of you.
Making necklaces or bracelets is another fun craft that can help seniors improve fine motor skills and provide an outlet for creativity — plus, participants get the bonus of wearing, gifting, or even selling the beautiful items they create.
12. Live Music & Music Therapy
Today’s seniors are part of a generation that revolutionized music. Many are still sound aficionados with decidedly specific tastes. Senior living communities cater to this interest by offering live music, including concerts by local artists. In communities that are home to former musicians, you might even get to attend a concert by a resident.
Music has an undeniable healing power, especially for those who live with dementia. Some assisted living communities bring in trained music therapists to entertain and provide small-group cognitive stimulation. In some communities, seniors with a history of musicianship can even participate to provide entertainment or music therapy activities for their friends and neighbors.
13. Pet Hobbies
For many adults, a house isn’t a home without a well-loved pet. Thanks to most senior living communities now being pet-friendly, residents can bring their companion with them as they embark on a new adventure at a new home. Spending time with a pet can be a wonderful way to get outside and stay connected to others. Try picking up a new hobby with your pet, like a tricks class with your dog. You’ll both have fun!
14. Spa Days and Self-Care
Everyone knows that self-care is important. Its value doesn’t end during one’s senior years. Many senior living communities offer special spa days — including haircuts, manicures, and even skin treatments — to foster well-being.
Staying active and social is a key component to health and wellness at all ages. However, it becomes even more crucial in the retirement years, when social networks gradually shrink. Finding an activity to look forward to, or a hobby to work on, can make making friends easier, boost overall health, and foster feelings of community. Finding the right senior living community makes finding those opportunities even easier.