It’s no secret that seniors are at risk for depression. Statistics show that nearly half of them suffer from loneliness, and isolation is one of the most important factors in the development of health problems and loss of physical independence. In addition, people of all ages who struggle with depression are at a much higher risk of mental and physical decline.
So the best ideas for keeping older adults active are activities that include socialization. But let’s look at one of the good things about getting older: no work commitments or young children to care for means you have a lot of free time, so all you need are ideas. Here’s a list to get you started on staying active and always busy.
How to Keep a Senior Active and Busy
It’s finally time to take up that hobby you’ve always loved. Or to find a new one. The mistake is to stay home alone. If there’s something you particularly like, you need to do it with someone else, and if it’s a group, all the better.
If you already have a hobby you enjoy, now is the time to share your knowledge or seek out new approaches. In community centers, there are always senior groups for reading, writing, knitting, crafts, dancing, woodworking, painting, etc. It doesn’t have to be a class, with a teacher. It is simply people getting together a few days a week to do what they are most passionate about.
If you haven’t yet found a hobby you’re passionate about, here are some ideas to get you started.
– Easy fiber construction and decoration: dollhouses, toys, gift boxes. You can also buy them ready-made and just paint them.
– Biographical scrapbooking
– theater groups
2- Programs at the community center
All community centers offer activities for seniors. These are usually classes or specific events. Just show up and pick up a printed brochure with the activities for the season. The most common ones are crafts, cooking, games, trips or outdoor activities.
3- Find a partner
Exercise is essential at any age, but in an older person it also has the benefit of keeping the mind fit. But starting a physical activity, no matter how light, has a great enemy: laziness. It’s easy to get beaten! That’s why it’s best to look for a partner and commit to meeting at a certain time: leaving someone else standing is usually not in our habits.
Where can you find a partner to go for a walk, yoga or stretching in the park? You’d be surprised how many people ask the same question. Just ask a family member if they know someone who wants to do the same, search for groups on social media, or just invite a neighbor. It is very common to see groups of 3 or 4 seniors walking down the street in any neighborhood. You will surely be welcomed if you ask if you can join the group.
4- Create your own group
It’s time to make those calls to old friends that you always put off. Contacting those you haven’t seen in a while and setting up a meeting can be the start of a new group, and it opens the door to great opportunities to keep the senior active and with friends. Going out once a week to a restaurant, or meeting at someone’s house to play cards, taking short trips together… surely they are going through the same thing and waiting for someone to call them.
Not only is it a great way to give back, but volunteering also has many health benefits. It has been shown that seniors who volunteer have fewer functional limitations, fewer symptoms of depression and a longer life expectancy. Two or three hours a week is plenty – you can make a difference in your own life and in someone else’s. There are organizations that still need the most valuable thing a person can give: their time.
Here are some examples of volunteering:
– Teaching or informally lecturing at-risk youth about what you know how to do: from your favorite hobby to your life’s work.
– Helping with homework at community or civic centers.
– Reading aloud to the blind or ill
– Knitting or sewing groups to donate
– Repairing electrical or electronic appliances to donate
– Clowns in hospitals (check with your local hospital)
– Management of donated clothing in parish centers
Perhaps, you are not reading this article for yourself but for your elderly relative and if so, what about enrolling your senior in an adult day care? Golden Years Activity Center is a trusted facility where Miami-Dade seniors can enjoy their days in community. Call them today to learn more!