For many senior citizens, the opportunities for an active social life tend to decline along with their energy and health. Improving social involvement in the everyday lives of the older members of society, especially those in assisted home care facilities, is a major challenge. As mobility issues and ill health limit what seniors can do, the risk of isolation heightens. We have all experienced feelings of loneliness at some point in our lives, but it is especially demanding for the elderly. Often overlooked, senior isolation should be a primary concern in elderly care. Connecting with like minded individuals with similar interests is imperative at any age, but even more for seniors. This is because due to old age, their lifestyles lessen social opportunities which presents devastating effects on both their physical and emotional health. By connecting through social activities frequently, socialization fosters social, mental and physical well-being. The importance of socialization never wears off, and it is for the most part relevant for senior citizens.
It is easy to take too lightly the risks of senior isolation. Often disregarded as a social and emotional issue, senior isolation also affects physical health. Older adults suffering from isolation and depression have a higher mortality rate when compared to those with more fulfilling relationships and lives. Here at ridewithease.com, we understand the importance of social connections among the elderly. That is why we have prepared an extensive list of 10 social activities your aging loved ones can engage in.
A lack of connection with other seniors can lead to:
To properly get rid of senior isolation, include social activities as part of your aged loved one’s elderly care program. There are various ways you can encourage seniors to take part in these activities. Depending on the person and their preferences, some social activities are easier than others. The secret is finding a solution that works for your aged loved one. One way to encourage social activities is increasing the frequency and amount of time spent visiting and interacting with other seniors. If your loved one is able to care for pet, you can consider getting him or her a dog or cat to minimize the feelings of loneliness. If they are not big fans of pets, you can encourage outdoor activities like movies, or trips to the convenience or grocery store. Group activities like senior fitness classes or book clubs are also an effective way to promote social interaction among seniors. We will discuss these age-appropriate social activities in detail below.
Let’s dive straight into our list of best social activities for senior citizens!
Art tops our list of the best social activities for senior citizens that older adults can engage in. Painting classes is a good distraction for seniors as it gives them a platform to express their thoughts and emotions. Painting additionally boosts their confidence and improves their eye- to-hand coordination. Seniors can engage in watercolor, acrylic or oil painting. Other art activities that help to stimulate the brain include scrapbooking, sculpting, sewing and knitting. These fun activities can be done with friends or family. Art therapy has been proven to give seniors with dementia brain stimulations and stirred memories, which in turn improves the quality of their lives.
Board games like chess, scrabble and monopoly are effective in enhancing strategic thinking skills, and problem solving. Senior adults who enjoy mentally stimulating board games have sharper thinking skills than their peers. The World Chess Federation, for instance, hold a World Senior Chess Championship annually for senior citizens. Scrabble will exercise your loved one’s vocabulary skills and memory. Monopoly, one of the oldest board games is a favorite among many seniors.
Puzzles include Sudoku, Crossword and Jigsaw. Puzzles sharpen the minds of seniors. If you opt for puzzles, go for those that are customized for seniors. Jigsaw puzzles for the elderly are enlarged to make them easier to play. By finding the right fit of jigsaw for each set, puzzles improve problem solving skills. Crosswords have been around for years and it is a common activity among senior citizens. By providing them with various crossword puzzles, you help to train their critical thinking skills. Sudoku on the other hand is a puzzle game made of different set of numbers meant to hone problem-solving skills. To solve the puzzle, seniors need to find a pattern from the ones provided.
Sporting activities include swimming, golfing, football, yoga, track and field games. Swimming and water aerobics are considered by health expert as the best form of physical exercises for seniors. Apart from improving body posture, swimming also toughens core muscles of your loved one and minimizes the risks of cardiovascular diseases. If your aged loved one is good in athletics, you have him or her participate is Senior Olympics. Golfing improves ease of motion, flexibility, socialization and happiness. Apart from being a great hobby, golfing also helps to elevate moods and improve hand-eye coordination. Yoga minimizes stress and hypertension, builds balance and helps to strengthen bones.
Dancing is another popular fun activity loved by senior citizens. Apart from being fun, it is also a great way for them to socialize and exercise as it involves a dance partner. Dancing sessions can include Zumba, tap or ballroom. These sessions improve gait, mental alertness, balance and
overall functioning of senior adults. They also help to avert risks of falls, immobility and fractures. You can arrange for dancing lessons once or twice a week.
Pets like cats and dogs have been scientifically proven to release a chemical chain reaction that reduces stress levels in senior citizens. Pets additionally minimize blood pressure and help provide protection against heart conditions, depression and cholesterol. You need to be careful when picking the right breed of dogs for your loved ones as some breeds are better companions than others.
Gardening has several therapeutic benefits for senior citizens. Besides being a wonderful pastime, gardening also improves the levels of physical activity and mobility among seniors. Gardening increases strength and endurance while keeping stress levels at a minimum by encouraging relaxation. By joining a gardening club, this activity is sure to provide your aged loved one with interest and stimulation in nature.
Volunteering is a great way to give back to the society and achieve a sense of accomplishment at the same time. If your aged loved one is a senior citizen who can volunteer, let them do so in local shelters, fundraising events, public libraries or special schools. There are several charity and civic organizations that can use a helping hand. By staying engaged in the community through volunteering activities, seniors will feel helpful and increase their self-worth.
Family and social connection are vital for senior citizens. Visiting family members is a tested and proven way of getting rid of senior isolation. Apart from cementing family bonds and heritage, such visits enable human interaction which elevates happiness in senior adults. Human beings are social beings wired to socialize and interact with each other. Seniors need these interactions because as they grow older, they sometimes lose social circles or partners.
Music nourishes the brain. If there is a musical instrument your loved one has always wanted to learn to play, it is never too late to learn something new. It can be a violin, saxophone, piano or guitar. A musical instrument allows seniors to get their creative juices flowing which in turn keeps their hand-eye coordination intact and their minds sharp. Studies show that senior adults who play musical instruments perform better in cognitive tests than their peers.
Senior citizens need social, physical and mental simulation to lessen risks of depression and to support optimal health. The list of best social activities for senior citizens above has combined fun activities that seniors can engage in. As mentioned, it is vital to consider factor such as interests, physical tolerance and sense of cooperation when picking the right set of activities for your aged love one.
For great ideas about the best retirement cities for active senior citizens, click here.