Engaging local seniors benefits their health
As seniors age, their ability to engage with others in their community may begin to fade. Although most seniors still desperately want to have active social lives, many older adults can find themselves with limited mobility and other medical issues, preventing them from taking part in the hobbies and events they previously enjoyed. Older adults who reside in senior living communities may live far from family members and life-long friends. Isolation from loved ones leads to depression, which can result in poor health and a low quality of life.
Study after study has confirmed that the mood and the outlook on life of older adults have a direct relationship to their physical health. A study published in Current Directions in Psychological Science found a positive attitude could reduce stress, diminish pain, and help to prevent illness in mature adults. A different study, released in Psychology: Health and Well-Being, concluded happier than average people tend to live longer.
What can I do?
Caregivers and local community members interested in engaging with seniors in their area can help. If you are someone who wants to ensure a high quality of life for local seniors, there are a few simple things you can do to make a tremendous difference in the lives of seniors.
Start a book club
Spearheading a book club at a senior living community is a great way to help seniors keep mentally fit, stay social, and have fun. Most seniors love to read and share their ideas about books. Book clubs are a great way to allow older adults to express themselves, debate, and share their own opinions.
It is not difficult to run a book club. If you need some help selecting titles, try contacting your local library.
Organize a cooking night or potluck dinner
Though many senior living communities have great dining options, community residents may not always have access to their favorite dishes. This can be especially true for immigrants. Creating a potluck dinner or a cooking night is a wonderful way to collaborate over food.
Senior living communities with kitchens available for others to use are perfect for a cooking night. Before the planned event, visit the community and ask for favorite recipes from the residents. Have the residents decide on a planned menu for the event and buy ingredients for the recipes. On the night of the event, gather the residents together to prepare and cook the meal, then sit down and enjoy the meal together.
In senior living communities without accessible kitchens, you can collect recipes from the residents, prepare the meals at home, and serve it potluck dinner-style at the community.
Promote religious studies and fellowship
Many older adults are spiritual, but may lack easy access to churches and Bible study groups. Creating a fellowship or a Bible study group within their communities is a wonderful idea. Groups can be self-led, or you can invite clergy from local churches to come to the senior center to lead the events. Most clergy are more than happy to reach out to those in the area who need religious guidance. You may even find in some instances that residents at the independent senior living communities were once members of the clergy as well.
Put together a craft night
If your passion is crafting, bring it to your local senior living community. Whether you love painting, scrapbooking, pottery, or making jewelry, seniors would love to join you. Crafting is a great way to relax and express creativity. Organizing a craft night will help seniors explore a forgotten talent or maybe even discover a new one.
Coordinate lectures and panel discussions
Learning is a lifelong activity. If you have a particularly strong interest in a topic, why not give a lecture about it at your local Holiday Retirement community? If you do not feel comfortable giving a speech, you can help organize lectures and panel discussions from local experts. There are many individuals who are willing to present engaging talks; it just takes some time to find them. Try looking at local colleges, universities, and business associations.
Whatever event you choose to bring to a senior living community, you will provide joy and a sense of community, which seniors truly benefit from. In fact, socializing is one of Holiday Retirement's seven Layers of the Holiday Lifestyle. Fostering social interactions among residents and the larger community helps to enrich our residents’ lives. Contact us if you are interested in getting your local community more involved with a Holiday Retirement community near you.