One of the biggest challenges that seniors all over face is not so much health, but loneliness and inactivity. I should know, my mom just barely became one a few years ago and one of her biggest complaints is just that. She basically wants more of my time. A lot more. But how do we as caregivers find a balance between what our senior parents need or want and what we can properly provide.
This article covers a few good ideas on ways that seniors whether living independently at home or in an assisted facility, can stay active and fight off the dreaded lonesome blues.
1. Fun Local Clubs/Groups/Organizations –
It’s truly amazing to me that plethora of groups, clubs and organizations right in our backyards that we all have access to. All we need to do is look, seek and ask around about them. Everything from fitness centers for seniors to local clubs that provide activities for those aged 50 and over to simply the local mental health center that usually have loads of programming and workshops or groups for inactive seniors. Just keep in mind that one thing you will want make sure of is that whatever activity, club or group you look into is one that involves interaction of some kind, as this is what is most sought after by seniors. And while you’re at it, why not seek out an activity that is not only healthy and functional, but also fun. Maybe an art class, photography, computer instruction, jewelry making, scrapbooking, collage making, etc.
2. Outdoor Time –
They say that a leisurely paced walk can work wonders for anyone regarding most issues. Why not apply this same ideal to your senior relative or friend and make sure they get plenty of outdoor time. This could be in the form of a neighborhood walk, a picnic in the park, a minor bike stroll, kite flying or even a mild outdoor game of some sort such as Bocce. Again the key is to provide plenty of company to go along with the activity.
3. Family Play –
This idea is quite simple really and it involves regular family time. Be it a weekly dinner or lunch, play time with grandchildren, a monthly or weekly visit, etc. The bigger your family, the more members can take turns doing the socializing. From a cousin to uncle to nieces and nephews anyone with a bit of time on their hands and the kind disposition to simply “be there” will work wonders for granny or grandpappy.
4. Online Friendships and Stimulation –
Did you know that the Senior population is one of the fastest growing segments of online interaction. Those aged 65 and older have embraced the web like no other group and in droves according to this article by the Pew Internet Research firm. And according to Mashable, they’re also embracing social media to connect and share with others. Everything from email to hopping on Facebook and sharing photos, news and or jokes with friends and family members. But another great use of the web by Seniors is simply for online friendships and stimulation. Sites like (ThirdAge.com) post huge traffic and member numbers for a reason, because there is big demand. However your friend or relative might need some help jumping on this online social bandwagon. Help them along by introducing them to one or two sites, maybe Facebook to start with and then showing him or her how best to use it along with sharing a few safety tips.
There you have it. Four good ways to help the senior or seniors in your life stay active this and any Winter. They’ll be healthier for it, you’ll be happier for helping them and basically you’ll have a win win situation for everyone involved. Keep in mind there are many other things you can do, but the ideas above are a good start.