This post, discussing senior living activities programs, is part of a series exploring the different questions that come up when searching for senior living solutions. Follow along in our “What is Senior Living?” series to learn more about the ins and outs of senior living.
One of the great benefits of calling a senior living community home is that daily life is no longer filled with tasks like home maintenance, yard work, cleaning, cooking, etc., but instead is filled with activities one would want to do. It is a great time and place to try new things and delve further into hobbies and interests.
When one moves into senior living, they may transition from handling daily-living tasks to embracing activity and relaxation opportunities. But, you may wonder, is it a seamless shift? Adjusting to a new place with new faces can bring worries about the ease in which one may begin socializing or engaging in games, learning, exercise, or outings. Rest assured, a well-trained care team can help with that. Senior living communities typically feature communal settings which encourage daily interactions. In addition, skilled activity leaders and their teams aim to provide structure with an activity calendar of regularly-occurring events, and they encourage involvement by all who are able to take part in an activity. Engagement is encouraged at a level and pace healthy for each individual resident in a great life-enrichment program. And boredom? Not an issue!
Importance of an Engaging Life-Enrichment Program
Engagement is often a top priority as part of a wellness program at any senior living community. Research studies suggest that there is a strong correlation between older adults’ emotional and physical health and how social they are in their daily lives. The Mayo Clinic shared in 2016 that having friends in one’s life can increase sense of belonging and purpose, boost happiness and reduce stress, improve self-confidence and self worth, help with coping through traumas, and encourage positive lifestyle habits.
Memory and cognition, too, are affected by engagement levels. The Alzheimer’s Association has stated that brain vitality can best be maintained through physical and mental activities that involve social engagement, along with a brain-healthy diet. They shared on their website that “remaining socially active may support brain health and possible delay the onset of dementia.”
Explore Life Enrichment Programs
While many communities provide rich life-engagement opportunities, it is important to explore those opportunities to see if they will be a fit for your, or your loved one’s, lifestyle, interests, and needs. Below are tips for what to look for in a well-rounded wellness program as well as ways to explore life-enrichment programs for a senior living community you are considering.
Three things to look for in a well-rounded life-enrichment program:
- Look for a variety of scheduled events and activities that focus on different aspects of life-enrichment. Radiant Senior Living communities focus on events and activities that help to nurture the mind, body, and spirit. In doing so, our calendars typically reflect everything from brain games to daily exercise groups, to art classes and live music.
- Ways in which resident interests are incorporated. Look for opportunities such as Resident Council meetings or One-on-One activity programming. These things scheduled into the calendar reflects the community’s commitment to making sure resident interests are a part of regular programming.
- Search for open-ended activity programming. Open-ended activities, with light parameters and a focus on process rather than product, can help one to relieve stress, communicate emotions, express choices and desires, and feel less intimidation toward participation. One of our resident’s favorite open-ended activities is pulling up a google map of home-towns on our iN2L touch-screen system and going down memory-lane!
Look for our upcoming series about open-ended activities coming to the blog soon!
Three ways to explore senior living activities programs before moving in:
- Explore the community’s Events and Activities Calendar. Most senior care communities are posting their senior living Activities Calendars online. However, if the most recent calendars are not posted, send out an email and ask for a few recent calendars to be shared. Find a Radiant Senior Living community near you and explore our Event & Activities Calendars by visiting the Calendar of Events page.
- Visit the community during an activity… participate! See an interesting activity or event on the calendar? Schedule a visit during that time and participate or watch for resident participation in activities. Talk with the community Life Enrichment Director and ask how resident’s interests and needs are taken in consideration in planning their event calendar.
- Follow a community on Facebook or Instagram. Look for photos of residents enjoying activities as well as family members engaging on comment threads.
Boredom is typically not an issue in communities with well-rounded and engaging life-enrichment programs. Look for programs that feature resident-focus events and activities that cover areas of physical activity, cognitive-enrichment, and spiritual nurturing. Ask to speak with the Life Enrichment Director while touring a community or even participate in an event!