01 Nov PLAYGROUNDS FOR SENIORS?
“Various forms of senior playgrounds are highly beneficial, especially at preventing loneliness, which is a common problem amongst the elderly population. It is an unquestionable fact that senior playgrounds nurture social, physical and mental health.”
Playgrounds are proven to improve fitness and reduce loneliness, even amongst seniors in assisted living homes. Why do adults think playgrounds are just for kid activities? Perhaps because parents are encouraged to engage their children in extra-curricular activities that involve coordination.
Seniors need the same motor skills. Fresh air and sunshine mixed with social interaction provide a combination of communication skills also needed as seniors age. This is why the idea of playgrounds and parks are not limited to schoolyards for kids only. Small children and senior adults have more in common than any other two age groups.
Four Similar Needs of Small Children and Senior Adults
- Relationship Building
- Peer Group Interaction
- Mild and Informal Physical Activity
Playgrounds enable seniors and children to improve and maintain fitness. There are many differences between senior playgrounds and parks for small children. Senior parks do not ordinarily feature swings, crawl tunnels, and adrenaline-inducing structures.
Nine Features of Senior Playgrounds
- Low-speed treadmills
- Sit-up benches
- Motor coordination
- Exercise bikes
- Flex runners
- Balance and flexibility
- Flex wheels
- Low-impact muscle-strengthening equipment
Many of these features can easily be incorporated into residential assisted living homes. Senior playgrounds do more than serving the purpose of improving physical wellbeing. They allow seniors to escape episodes of loneliness, which leads to isolation. Senior playgrounds can be as simple as walking gardens that allow for socializing and sharing memories.
Various forms of senior playgrounds are highly beneficial, especially at preventing loneliness, which is a common problem amongst the elderly population. It is an unquestionable fact that senior playgrounds nurture social, physical and mental health.
TWO ADDITIONAL NEED-TO-KNOW FACTS ABOUT SENIOR PLAYGROUNDS
- Senior Parks Around the World
- Essential for Reducing Hospitalizations
1. Senior Parks Around the World
The concept of playgrounds for seniors has spread around the world. Europe and Asia introduced these types of parks over 20 years ago. China became a trailblazer in 1995, setting up recreational parks for aging adults. Afterward, Japan and Spain soon followed suit, with Barcelona creating about 300 senior parks alone. The United States is taking a different approach. They are focused on populating the country with multi-generational parks, suited for both seniors and children.
These age groups interact more affably with one another. Many grandparents serve as babysitters in America for working parents. As a result, building multipurpose recreational parks to serve both the young and old works well for social, physical and emotional well-being. This concept also works well when grandchildren visit residential assisted living homes that are equipped with multipurpose playgrounds. These multipurpose play areas are also called multigenerational parks.
Play is a boundless bridge to bond seniors and children. Senior parks around the world offer many benefits of play, such as cognitive and physical benefits, and a combatant of toxic stress.
2. Essential for reducing hospitalization
Exercise helps reduce the rates of hospitalization, especially for aging seniors. Outdoor activities tackle the symptoms that elderly individuals often experience as they continue to age. Medical attention and prescribed medication are required less frequently when senior adults are encouraged to engage in various activities habitually.
Examples of equipment that residential assisted living homes can make available include:
- Fitness steps
- Fitness ramps
- Cobweb floors
- Zig-Zag pipe
- Throttle bar
- Stretching boards
- Seated bar grabs
Such equipment and machines help seniors maintain mobility, flexibility, and improve balance. As a result, senior parks are developing worldwide and these spaces are combating loneliness and symptoms associated with inactivity.
HOW TO STAY AHEAD OF ADVANCING SENIOR LIFESTYLES
Residential Assisted Living National Association is the largest RAL organization providing resources and support to the assisted living industry. The member-based organization stays ahead of industry shifts, detours, and changes.
In addition, your membership grants you the following:
- Access to group purchasing power
- Discounts with over 200 RAL vendors,
- Legal advocacy,
- Industry marketing,
- Educational services,
- Memory care training,
- Certifications, marketing, and
- Relevant newsletters and content.
Visit www.RALNA.com for additional information about the Do Good and Do Well business model. The good news is that RALNA is helping to transform RAL leadership into high-performing management teams that produce expected results.