Ever hear the expression, “Use it or lose it?” Turns out there’s some truth in that old chestnut. People of any age thrive better when they flex their capabilities frequently. And as we advance in years, research proves it becomes increasingly critical that we strive to preserve those personal strengths and connections that come so much easier in our youth. If not, we might endure the negative consequences.
Why Is It So Important for Seniors to Stay Active?
Being inactive can adversely impact seniors’ physical, intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual wellness. They could experience severe medical conditions, illness and disease, such as hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis and more, in addition to feelings of dependency and inadequacy, deep depression, anxiety and loneliness.
Luckily, it’s entirely doable to reverse, delay or avoid these possibilities and also introduce a number of benefits. By implementing some simple, daily activities into an individual’s routine, you could help with maintaining stamina and motor skills, enhancing cognitive functions, memory, concentration and mood, fostering personal relationships, and achieving a sense of independence, satisfaction and accomplishment.
Read on to discover some of the most stimulating activities for seniors you love – or for yourself. And remember, the more active elderly folks remain, the happier and healthier they’ll be, and the longer they could live.
- Get Artsy and Crafty
Seniors with creative flair appreciate the free time that finally comes during retirement to explore that side of their personalities. Whether polishing an existing talent, experimenting with a new one or purely having fun, they can express themselves through an assortment of options – minimal or more complex, depending on their preferences.
Consider homespun craft projects, drawing and sketching with pencils, crayons, markers or chalk, painting with acrylics, oils or watercolors, or making beautiful jewelry or pottery. Crocheting and knitting are always popular, and some senior living communities like Cardinal Bay even offer clubs for those who want to share their enthusiasm.
- Be On the Move
Introducing a focus on physical activity helps ensure that elderly adults receive the adequate amount of exercise each day that becomes progressively crucial as we age. Motivate seniors to keep moving, and you’ll help them improve mobility, body awareness, mental health, sociability and more.
Walk around their community or living spaces. Shop together, or tour local landmarks. Set up home exercise videos on the TV or computer. Better yet, encourage them to join a senior-oriented fitness center or organized group exercise classes and wellness programs. For instance, Cardinal Bay’s senior living communities provide appropriately heart-pumping and strength-building activities, including Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Sit & Fit Aerobics and Dance.
- Stay Playful
Let the good times roll! Perhaps surprisingly, playing different types of games provides seniors with serious mental stimulation, critical socialization and improved hand and finger dexterity. From board games and parlor games, to bingo and puzzles, to dominoes and any number of card games, they’ll bask in the numerous benefits and all of that boisterous laughter with friends and family. No wonder so many senior living communities count games, movies and other forms of entertainment among their residents’ top activities.
- Grow Through Gardening – and Just Going Outdoors
There’s certainly no shortage of medical and mood-boosting benefits to heading into The Great Outdoors. Awaken the senses, soak up some vital Vitamin D and find bliss in the fresh breeze. Stroll, lounge and dine alfresco.
For seniors who like to be more hands-on, gardening gives a chance for extra exercise and the satisfaction of witnessing the yields of their labor. Tend to flowers, plants, shrubs, vegetables, fruits and herbs. Gardening accommodates most levels of physical strength and agility, ranging from basic (seed placement and watering) to advanced (potting, digging, weeding, raking) tasks. Look for senior gardening classes, too.
- Cultivate Love for the Literary
If reading is a favorite pastime, stock up on books, magazines and other reading materials, so the senior always has them on hand. This activity can be enjoyed solo, as a twosome or in a group. Perhaps the senior prefers discussing opinions on recent reads with others – a possibility as a member of a book club.
For born storytellers, maybe now’s the moment to become an author themselves. Inspire them to do some writing of their own: family history, personal memoirs or autobiography, poetry, fiction, how-to articles or any genre of their choosing.
- Learn Your Lessons
It’s never too late to pursue higher learning. Seniors who are into scholarly studies can participate in continuing education classes and fascinating lectures and workshops, or apply themselves to picking up new skills and hobbies.
Some senior living residences and local community centers schedule these types of opportunities. Check out the offerings at nearby community colleges and other educational institutions, as well as calendars for academic and cultural events in the area. Look for free or reduced-tuition courses and online degrees, meant for retirees.
- Nurture Culinary Passions
Cooking, barbecuing and baking – yum! True foodies should love whipping up a meal or some goodies and, especially, sharing them with hungry diners. Involve them in meal planning, preparation and serving.
From basic recipes for salads, pancakes, cookies and more, to intricate menus entailing greater prowess, these epicurean endeavors are not only stimulating – they can be fun and lead to incredibly delectable results. Contemplating a senior living community? Ask if it offers cooking classes and workshops.
- Fine-Tune Musical Pursuits
Research shows profoundly positive impacts resulting from music-centered activities. In fact, even elderly people experiencing advanced cognitive impairments or dementia benefit remarkably from listening to music, music therapy and various forms of musical stimulation. Certain types of music can aid in prompting memories and feelings of happiness, calm and contentment.
Attend a live concert, orchestra, opera, ballet or another kind of performance. Or is now the moment to perfect that singing voice, or to return to a familiar instrument, or learn a new one? If the senior has a passion for dance, try group dance lessons or community dances and gatherings.
- Enjoy Some Indulgent Behavior
Everyone deserves to be spoiled once in a while, and seniors, in particular, have earned their right to a touch of luxury. With regular pampering sessions – at home, or in a beauty parlor, barbershop or spa – women and men alike will look and feel their best, as well as gain more chances to socialize. Some senior living communities offer these types of services on-site.
Primp with an attractive haircut, coloring and/or style. Rejuvenate with a gentle skin treatment or facial or body massage, options that can stimulate blood circulation, relieve stiffness from arthritis, encourage quality sleep and restore that natural glow. Ensure safe, healthy grooming with a manicure and pedicure, both necessary, challenging and occasionally neglected tasks.
- Simply Engage in Conversation
Daily social interactions deliver a free and easy way to enrich seniors’ lives. As a matter of fact, extensive research proves that real-world social circles are essential to our overall wellbeing – and as valuable as a nutritious diet and an exercise regimen. They’ll appreciate the visits and chats and benefit deeply from the companionship.
When seniors reside in a community, they relish many hours of time with neighbors and staff, promising ample opportunities to build new friendships. They share meals together, partake of group programs and celebrate special moments – from ice cream socials, to volunteer projects, to Bible study and faith services, to simply relaxing – and beyond.
Count on a Trusted Senior Living Expert
Cardinal Bay provides independent living, assisted living and memory care communities in Texas and Oklahoma. In a spirited environment, our residents experience a wealth of stimulating activities like those listed above, as well as daily social interactions and, ultimately, healthier, richer and more fulfilling lives.
Choose one of our local communitiesand schedule a complimentary visit to see for yourself how our residents thrive. Or learn more with our free, valuable resource, “Your Elementary Guide to Senior Living and Care Options in Texas and Oklahoma.” Get your copy now.