Keeping the minds and social connections of our senior loved ones active is every bit as important to as caring for their physical wellbeing. Senior citizens don’t have to slow down or stop feeling young at heart just because they are older. As a caregiver, there are many fun, low cost and even free activities you can help your senior get involved with so that he or she can enjoy being socially engaged all year round.
The Golden Years can be a time full of interesting places to go and things to do. Now that your senior isn’t tethered to making a livelihood or managing a household like their younger counterparts, they can experience the joy of learning and doing new activities, developing hobbies and managing a social calendar of encounters with friends old and new as they explore and discover their interests.
‘Bloom where you’re planted,’ is an appropriate adage. Seniors can make connections with like-minded people of all ages or find activities geared just for elder adults practically right in their own back yard. Whether it’s exploring local neighborhoods, visiting a museum, taking part in a health fair, signing up for a course at a local adult education center, an area college or university, opportunities abound. Local libraries, and the parks and recreation centers offer activities both indoors and out. Your senior can take up everything from painting and pottery to hiking, cycling or bird watching. Local Y programs and senior centers also offer new learning and recreational programs and often include group activities like bingo, dances, potluck dinners and bus trips to sites of interest as well.
Don’t forget about local churches, temples and synagogues. Sharing faith experiences with others are good for the soul and social interaction. May religious organizations offer experiences like retreats or opportunities to take part in weekly worship services. You senior may have musical talents or choral interests that he or she can offer the community, too.
Volunteering for charity or in the local community is also a great way for seniors to stay active and involved. Everywhere you look there is need for service. The energy, vibrancy, skills and talents of seniors in our society is valuable and needed. The wisdom and knowledge they have are key ingredients to the success of efforts throughout local neighborhoods. From helping feed the hungry in their city, to tutoring students struggling with reading or math, working in a local hospital, teaching music in schools without funding, or helping to house the homeless. Local civic, arts and cultural organizations would also relish the contribution your senior could make.
Still looking for other ideas? Here are some websites that offer even more alternatives:
- Love to Know: Lists activities for seniors that are independent and can do activities on their own, and also a small list of activities for those seniors in nursing homes.
- Excellent Senior Activities: A comprehensive list of activities for social seniors who like to do group activities.
- Seniors-site: Activities for those seniors that are in nursing homes and cannot get outdoors.
- Seniorark: A site with a list of 57 hobbies that a senior can do and may enjoy, including indoor and outdoor activities.
- Boomers With Parents: Geared towards adult children and how to create activities for your elderly parents to keep them fit and active.
- Aging: Article for adult children with parents that have dementia, and gives ideas that they can still do together.
- Parent Giving: For adult children who want to keep their elderly parents from getting depressed or melancholy by giving them activities to do.
- Ask Mike: Brain games to keep the aging mind young and fresh, geared towards the older mind.
- Canville: Starting a hobby in older age can increase your happiness, add years to your life and make the retirement age more enjoyable. Written by a geriatric social worker who has years of experience working with older adults.
- Recreation Therapy: Discussion by a Certified Recreation Therapist about the importance of leisure and recreation in the older population.
- Community College Review: College courses for senior citizens are a great way for retired adults to spend time and keep their minds young and active.
- Eldertreks: A website that plans trips for senior citizens, ranges from safaris to backpacking.
- Memory Jogging Puzzles: Memory jogging games for those elders that have memory loss issues. Geared towards art from their generations, with art they grew up with.
- Grandloving: Have fun with your grandchildren: this website has games, activities and trips that a grandparent can do with their grandchildren.
For senior citizens who are willing and able, the only challenge to staying socially active is narrowing the list of options available!
- “Inexpensive or Free Group Activities for Senior Citizens for Every Season”, by Carla Fuentes, Yahoo! Contributor Network, www.Yahoo!.com
- “Senior Citizen Summer Activities for the Seasned Citizen”, by Charles Manley, Yahoo! Contributor Network, www.Yahoo!.com
“Back to School Guide for Senior Citizens”, by Nora Beane, Yahoo! Contributor Network, www.Yahoo!.com
- “47 Posts of Fun Activities for the Elderly Who Are Young at Heart”, by Senior Citizen Housing Staff, www.SeniorCitizenHousing.org.