There are many hours to fill the day during retirement, and seniors may go a little stir-crazy if they don't have stimulation in the home. Sure, you can visit with relatives over the phone or finish a puzzle or crossword, but once that's done, you'll need to find something else to keep yourself occupied. As great as it is to have no professional worries or obligations in retirement, the vacuum left by work or some other responsibility can pose some challenges to staying active, either socially, culturally, educationally, personally or physically.
However, seniors can find all the opportunity they need for learning, exercising, relationship-building and self-enrichment when living in an assisted living community. Such communities are designed not only to care for seniors in old age, but also to provide them with the necessary activities needed for a high quality of life in retirement. And the extent of recreation in assisted living is much more than bingo night—as important as it may be for some residents!
Indeed, there are a wide variety of social activities and other opportunities for seniors to take advantage of when living in assisted living, including:
Day trips and outings
A familiar activity from the days of being a child, field trips are just as enjoyable in senior life, and can be undertaken for a number of reasons. For instance, residents can board a bus—one maybe a little more upscale than the old yellow schoolday shuttles—to get out in nature by visiting a local arboretum or park. Getting a dose of fresh air is always important, and taking in the sights of flora and fauna may also involve a little needed exercise if able. Going to a nearby museum can also be a worthwhile adventure, as there's always something else to learn about, which satisfies a host of cultural and educational stimulation needs.
Sporting events can't be discounted here, either. Perhaps one of the best ways to spend a summer day is at the ballpark. And with minor league and independent teams scattered everywhere across the nation, communities often offer ballpark days as a regular activity.
Ever had a journalistic itch? Or always loved writing and want to get into more now that you have the time? Than a community newspaper might be the best bet for you to finally realize your ambitions. While community papers aren't large-scale affairs, they serve a valuable readership of residents in the market for local news. Papers may publish entirely online or with a limited print circulation, monthly or quarterly, or focus on breaking news versus features, which gives residents ample variety to take advantage of.
There are a couple overarching benefits that residents can derive from working on a community newspaper. They can dive into a passion of theirs, whether it's writing or covering a sports beat, and get involved with their community on a deep level. For instance, interviewing residents, staff and families for a feature piece can help you tell a valuable story and also give back to the community in a sense.
Party planning committee
There's always some observation each month or week or day to celebrate, and you can be sure retirement communities are full of their share of revelers. However, the best parties are pulled off with a lot of planning, and that's why most communities have resident committees charged with those exact hosting duties. Just like any other enrichment opportunity, party planning not only helps seniors enjoy their retirement life more personally, but also helps them feel part of the community, and a valuable one at that.
Just think of all the opportunity there is for throwing a party. Beyond the cornerstone holidays like the Fourth of July, Memorial Day or Labor Day and the winter celebrations, you can also plan season-themed parties or a monthly community-wide birthday party that includes everyone with a birthday that month. Other more formal affairs like fundraisers or New Year's Eve parties can offer you further opportunity to apply your party-throwing skills for everyone to enjoy.
Staying active physically is vital to enjoying a high quality of life in retirement. Getting regular or focused exercise can help improve mobility, keep your body functioning right and even help put you in a better mood. It can be tough to pursue this level of exercise in retirement, especially if conditions like arthritis or other mobility issues get in the way. However, if you can, consider signing up for a fitness class if your community offers one, like yoga or an aerobics seminar in the pool with an instructor at a nearby sports facility.
While water-based activities are popular, there are a range of other exercises to consider when looking to live healthy. A basic starting point for more seniors is stretching, which can be an exercise in and of itself in later life. Getting professional advice from a fitness educator or physical therapist on how to stretch correctly can do a world of good for achy or stiff joints and muscles. Some other options include working with resistance bands to tone your legs or arms, or practicing tai chi or yoga to achieve both physical and mental health gains.
"Time is well spent when in the service of others."
While book clubs are the most obvious social group type, there are likely a number of other options for seniors. For instance, enjoy gardening? There's likely a club for that; and there might even be a dedicated space outside for practitioners to till their horticultural passions. Always fancied yourself an artist? Then inquire if there's a painting club or sketch group. Knitting circles? You know there will be at least a few in each community. Want to talk about cars, movies, music or anything else under the sun? Then start a group up yourself!
Retirement communities are vibrant collections of diverse people, but interests often overlap. You'll always be able to find a like-minded individual in a community to share your interests with. But the greater opportunity resides in finding a new hobby that someone from a different background or culture can turn you onto.
There are a variety of causes and nonprofits that can use help; and if seniors have open time in their days, then there's hardly a better way to use it than by volunteering. Whether helping disadvantaged families and children or assisting at a local pet shelter, you can always feel like your time is well spent when in the service of others. Plus, there's a ton of opportunity for you to bring your volunteering passions to your community: For instance, you can go door to door collecting canned goods, or host a food drive in a main, communal area. This may even inspire others to follow and dedicate some of their time to volunteering efforts.
When looking for a retirement community that can help you live an active life, consider the extent to which it can offer regular activities and other enrichment opportunities. Such a sign is a hallmark of a high-quality community that is committed to providing residents with the chance to enjoy diverse activities later in life. Want to learn more about Edgewood senior living communities and the activities our residents participate in? Contact us today.