It is no secret that it is important to stay engaged - physically, socially, and cognitively - as you age. However, it might be discouraging if medical concerns or physical limitations keep you from pursuing activities that you once loved. However, if you find yourself living in an active senior care community, you are lucky. Not only does your community offer a wide variety of activities, events, and trips for you to participate in, that event calendar is planned and coordinated by a recreation professional who knows how to adapt activities to meet the needs of each resident who wants to join in.
No matter your abilities, there is always a way to find a new passion or pursue a lifelong hobby well into your senior years. You just may need a few adaptations or new considerations to participate. Here are a few of our favorite activities that are great for keeping you physically active, cognitively sharp, and socially engaged. (And none of them are Bingo!)
We love yoga as an option for seniors of any ability. Not only does yoga provide physical activity, it also addresses flexibility and range of motion, which are concerns for seniors who may not move around too much during the day. Yoga can be done standing up, sitting down, or even while lying in bed.
Guided Meditation and Progressive Relaxation
Meditation and relaxation are not only good for anxiety and stress, but can also help to decrease pain and increase cognitive activity. Since meditation and relaxation can be done sitting or lying down, it makes it easy for any physical ability to participate.
Drum circles aren’t just for beach hippies anymore. Indeed, drum circles are making quite an impression on seniors that live in care communities. These circles work on fine motor skills, rhythm and expression, which can help to decrease pain and increase feelings of self-esteem and self-worth.
Whether learning a musical instrument or participating in a sing-a-long, musical activities are wonderful ways to connect your mind and your body. For seniors who live with memory loss, musical activities are often successful as the brain holds musical memory in a different location than other long or short term memory. This means that someone with a later stage of dementia may still be able to sing along to a favorite hymn or tune, even if they are otherwise unable to speak or communicate. Musical activities often lead to memory reminiscence and even physical activity like dancing.
Reminiscing activities are a time for seniors to get together and answer questions that are about their childhood or early adulthood. These reminiscing groups are excellent for any cognitive or physical ability, and even if someone chooses not to respond, he can still benefit from the group simply by listening to the stories of others.
For those less inclined to be social, writing a memoir or creating a scrapbook with memories from their life can be a satisfying activity that involves less talking or socialization.
Sensory stimulation groups aim to engage more than one of the five senses at once. When senses are stimulated in tandem, the result is relaxation, decreased anxiety, increased focus, and even decreased pain. Examples may be a hand massage with scented lotion or a baking class.
When you are choosing a senior care community, be sure that you take a look at the activity calendar. The activity staff should be able to provide you with multiple ways to engage with your peers and with your hobbies of choice. Your senior years should be filled with many ways to play and have fun, all while keeping you physically and cognitively healthy.