10 Sep Helping Seniors Stay Active and Engaged
Retirement Affords More Time for Activities and Hobbies
Sitting under palm trees, sneaking away to extended vacation spots, and spending quality time with grandchildren is the retirement life so many people live for. Others lavish in the fantasy of not having to make any plans. Simply enjoying leisure experiences and relaxation during retirement lends a sense of freedom. Retirement is what most middle-aged working people aim for. Unfortunately, for many retirees, these expectations fail fast. Now what? With mixed results, various studies show that retirees experience increased difficulty with mobility.
As a result, daily activities are hindered by illness, within just a few years of retirement. Even worse, many recent retirees suffer from loneliness and depression, due to isolation and boredom. Residential Assisted Living Academy is educating caregivers about professional strategies to counteract these problems. Regular physical activity and positive social relationships can boost physical and mental health. This is especially helpful for older adults. So the real problem probably isn’t retiring from full-time work; it’s having nothing to fill your time once you do.
This is why it remains relevant to keep residents socially stimulated and physically engaged. There are some fun and exciting ways that caregivers can help seniors accomplish the mission of doing both. While seniors in residential assisted living are surrounded by other people on a regular basis, the need for genuine connection and interaction remains. There are known ways to keep seniors active and engaged in various activities and hobbies.
11 PRO-TIPS TO KEEP SENIORS ACTIVE AND ENGAGED
- Learn something new
- Take a class
- Teach a class
- Stay Active
- Spend time with old friends
- Develop some new relationships
- Get Cooking
- Master the Internet
- Work through a reading list
- Write a book or blog
These strategies are useful for seniors in RAL homes and known to work when caregivers implement them as best practices. Residential Assisted Living National Association suggests the following approach to engage seniors with the following activities.
HOW TO IMPLEMENT PRO-TIPS IN RAL HOMES
1. Learning Something New
Create a fun environment where seniors can learn to canvass paint, play music or prepare gourmet food. Organize a monthly schedule for activities that give seniors something to look forward to. Learning new things keeps the brain stimulated. Also, new hobbies often bring about new social connections. These connections keep life interesting.
2. Taking Classes
It’s important to understand that some seniors don’t want to learn on their own. Consider offering onsite RAL home classes instead. Group art is a current trend that many seniors enjoy. Some seniors enjoy singing in small groups, and others participate in group exercise classes. Try having an instructor provide weekly chair yoga classes. Whether the class is teaching a new language or basic computer skills, small groups are interactive and engaging.
3. Teaching Classes
Most seniors have specialized skills that they developed during their careers. As a result, they are able to teach classes to other seniors and volunteer in local libraries. These skills add a sense of purpose. Community centers are great places for seniors to teach classes on topics like gardening for kids to writing resumes for adults. Always remember that seniors have a host of skills that RAL homes can put to use.
Your community is probably packed with volunteer opportunities. Teach someone to read. Play with children in a nearby nursery. Take meals to shut-ins and organize food drives for the homeless. The options are endless. Remember, most seniors have retired from long-term careers that can be productively applied to volunteer experiences.
5. Staying Active
Staying home, watching television and relaxing while drinking tea and coffee with friends is a tempting way to let each day slip away. However, be sure to balance life in RAL homes with engaging activities that stimulate the mind and body. Fitness classes with friends is a remarkable way to enjoy life during the golden years. Caregivers should find fun ways to motivate seniors to exercise. Many seniors’ health insurance plans come with access to senior-only classes. For example, Silver Sneakers is a plan that enables seniors to explore classes like water aerobics, yoga, and Pilates. Taking fitness classes with other seniors will help ensure that the golden years of your residents are filled with health, happiness, and good friends.
6. Spending Time with Old Friends
Just like you need to make time for family, you’ll also need to make time for old friendships. Encourage residents to reach out to old friends. Plan day visits with family and friends. Caregivers can schedule monthly dinner dates with various groups to stay connected and reminded of the lifetime impact they’ve had on others.
7. Develop Some New Relationships
Be mindful and sensitive that seniors have many friends that have started to expire and others who are moving away. With this in mind, leveraging activities at local community centers, church services, and social gatherings create new social networks. Finding new friends to spend time with and developing new relationships is an engaging experience.
8. Cooking Creates Comfort
If doctors are frowning when checking your residents’ blood pressure, gather seniors together to hone their culinary skills. Cooking classes can create a fun and healthy environment that foster great social gathers. Allow seniors to sign up for cooking series. Learning how to make new gourmet dishes is a delightful opportunity to connect with new friends in the kitchen. In addition, cooking enables residents to explore new plant-based diets that have the potential to lower cholesterol. More often than not, spending time with new friends while sampling their handiwork, is even more fun than learning new recipes. Cooking creates a capacity for comfort.
9. Mastering the Internet
Teach residents how to chat with your grandchildren on social media. Learning how to maneuver the internet helps seniors communicate with doctors and view medical records and bills online. You’re definitely not alone. Many seniors feel uneasy with computers and the internet. Taking a course with new friends empower residents with basic computer skills and allows seniors to bond while overcoming internet barriers.
10. Working Through a Reading List
Inspire seniors to create a list of all the books you’ve always wanted to read. Now you have time to tackle each title one by one. Assisted living homes can create book clubs to encourage seniors to interact after reading various novels.
11. Write a Book or Blog
Teach a writing class to help seniors start writing their memoirs. It can be a creative work of fiction or just a book of poetry. Some residents may be savvy enough to create a blog to discuss daily living experiences as a senior.
With less structure, stimulation, and responsibilities, retirement is shown to hasten declines in mental health, as well as physical well-being. Using these pro-tips, while also making some new ones, creates an exciting experience for seniors in assisted living homes. This is a way to allow seniors to band together to enjoy this well-deserved special season of life.
USING RALNA TO BAND TOGETHER
There is an urgency for unity. Unity is needed to fight for the rights of small-home-care owners in the world of billionaire-big-box companies. Strength in numbers. This is why Residential Assisted Living National Association (RALNA) is engaging with assisted living owners and operators nationwide to empower the industry with best practices. RALNA is creating one voice to connect this industry together for the betterment of quality senior living.
As Warren Buffet once said, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” There is work to be done and RALNA has stepped up to the plate. If you want to join this movement to protect small-care-homes, this is the time. Click www.RALNA.com to learn more about best practices and services available for RAL businesses nationwide.