At any age, our health and wellbeing are enhanced by regularly participating in the events and activities that bring purpose, hope and joy. For seniors, taking part in these activities can be more difficult, but it’s also more important to find a way to participate as we get older. Elderly people who feel younger than their age show less brain aging, better memory and less depression.
Studies show that staying engaged is important for a senior’s mental health, but avoiding social isolation and maintaining a sense of purpose can have physical effects too. Medical professionals recognize that social determinants of health, especially those that affect mental, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, impact health outcomes and quality of life.
It’s important for seniors to work with their families, caregivers and health professionals to develop a plan that allows them to take part in activities they love and maintain positive mental health through activity and connection. There are always opportunities for meaningful moments and joyful days with a little planning, conversation and intentional action.
The holidays are filled with opportunities to enjoy music, celebrations with family and service.
- For some, holiday shopping is a nice way to spend time outside of the house and can be a good way to get in some walking for those that are following a physician-prescribed exercise program.
- Singing, dancing, playing instruments and listening to holiday carols are ways that seniors can enjoy music, even if they have mobility issues or have to stay home due to inclement weather. Streaming music services often have a wide selection, allowing seniors to pick their favorites to listen to through a phone, virtual assistant or computer.
- While there are ways that seniors can serve others year-round, volunteering can be even more meaningful around the holidays. Working at a soup kitchen, reading to children or participating in food and clothing drives can help spread holiday cheer and foster a sense of purpose.
Spring brings warmer weather, holidays that encourage fun and an opportunity to start the new year right.
- For those that have been given approval from their physician to exercise, many gyms and fitness centers have discounts at the beginning of the year. This is a great chance to explore new exercise classes and facilities.
- Before the weather gets too warm, it’s good to consider a spring-cleaning project. And, a spring refresh doesn’t have to be a chore – seniors can make housework fun by playing upbeat music or using the time to look at photos and mementos with loved ones.
- Spring serves up holidays that are pure fun – seniors and their loved ones should make it a point to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, Easter and the first day of spring. Whether it’s making a special meal, dressing up or going to festivals or community events, spring offers lots of opportunities for connection.
- Many older adults find that gardening is a perfect spring activity for those that like to be outside, and can involve anyone that wants to help!
Hot summer days and warm summer nights offer many opportunities for outdoor activities, as well as enjoyable things to do in the AC when it gets too steamy out.
- Because seniors are more sensitive to the sun, gyms and community centers often have pools that offer water aerobics classes in the cooler morning or evening hours. Seniors interested in these programs should discuss their exercise plans with a healthcare professional before signing up.
- For seniors looking to avoid the sun, there are a number of activities that take place in air-conditioned environments – this includes spending an afternoon at the movies, walking through an indoor mall or hosting friends and family for iced tea and card games.
- Picnics, BBQ’s, concerts in the park and stargazing are all summertime activities that can be enjoyed by people of any age, and are great for seniors and their families to do together. Many of these can be done out in the community or near the home.
Fall activities tend to focus on connecting with loved ones, enjoying the turning season and spending time outside before the weather gets icy.
- Fall is a dream for seniors that enjoy football, baseball and hockey. And, many sports facilities are accessible for those with mobility issues. For those that don’t live near their favorite team, seniors and their loved ones have many opportunities for parties at home.
- Enjoying fall foliage is an activity in itself, and can be done sitting on the porch, going for a short walk or on a longer hike outside. Raking leaves can even be fun when done with loved ones.
- Eating is another activity that seems to be more fun in the fall – family dinners, baking projects and Halloween celebrations are all opportunities for seniors to participate in activities they enjoy while maintaining their nutrition goals.
Comfort Keepers® can Help
At Comfort Keepers®, we create individual care plans for every client. These plans include wellness goals that consider physical, mental and emotional health. Our caregivers can help support physician-prescribed diet and exercise plans, provide medication reminders, provide transportation to events and appointments and help seniors engage in the activities they love the most. And, our caregivers can help senior stay connected with loved ones through video chats, phone calls and care updates. We believe that every senior should experience the best in life. If you have questions about Comfort Keepers uplifting in-home care services, please contact us today.
AARP. “Keep Your Brain Active by Doing Things You Love.” Web (video).
Science Daily. “Feeling Young Could Mean Your Brain is Aging More Slowly.” Web. 2018.
Forbes. “The Risks of Social Isolation for Older Adults.” Web. 2017.
Lifehack. “19 Fun Activities for Seniors to Stay Active Physically and Mentally.” Web.