Growing older can be a challenge, not only for the body but also for the mind and emotions. Studies have shown that as many as 1 in 3 elders are socially isolated. Finding activities suitable for their mobility and cognitive abilities can sometimes feel like a lost cause.
While options such as bingo are the stereotypically popular choice for a reason—bingo is a fun, easy-to-understand way to get out and about—many other options are available for seniors who want to keep their social lives active while avoiding elderly loneliness and acknowledging that they can’t engage in many of the tasks that they used to.
When searching for inspiration for exciting and entertaining senior activities for weekly or monthly engagements, consider the following: Remember—the following can be adjusted, depending on a person’s mobility.
Most elderly individuals no longer have the strength or stamina to head onto the field for a soccer game, but that shouldn’t stop them from participating in sports! Advances in technology allow the use of games such as Wii Sports and Ring Fit to keep older folks active from the comfort of their own spaces.
Thanks to motion-sensing controls, even those who cannot offer the fine motor control necessary to grasp a bowling ball can still score a strike thanks to easy-to-hold Nintendo controllers with optional grips. These help to encourage a wide range of motion, and with a number of potential games to cycle through, things won’t get boring.
Few things are as appealing as sharing thoughts with like-minded individuals, and one of the easiest ways to achieve this is through a book club. Book clubs often meet weekly or monthly so members can discuss the assigned chapters, and many clubs will cycle through who chooses the next book.
Some focus on specific genres, while others target individual authors. The combination of social engagement and mental stimulation that book clubs provide makes them one of the top choices for seniors.
Learning does not have to stop once school has ended. Many older individuals find great joy in pursuing education in topics they are passionate about, regardless of whether they receive a degree or certificate.
For those who are able to leave home, attending campus can be a great social engagement. But, even those who participate online can still find conversation among forum posts with other students.
Listening to music has many cognitive benefits, but going to live shows adds a social element that cannot compare to private listening. Even if the older individual is not speaking to anyone or simply watching from a distance, they can enjoy the shared experience with others and even discuss it later among friends and family or online.
Pets and Animals
Humans are naturally social creatures, but we do not necessarily need to fulfill these needs solely with human socialization. Pets trigger many of the same reactions in the brain that human socialization does, and caring for a pet can positively impact seniors.
Whether they enjoy the companionship of a dog or cat or need something with less stringent care requirements, like plants or even rock gardens, the joy gained from caring for something else is powerful. Remember, too, that you need not own a pet to enjoy their company—consider visiting with service dogs in training!
Thanks to technological advancement online, gaming opportunities are more accessible than ever. From Words with Friends and daily crosswords to more involved multiplayer or co-op experiences, online gaming can offer unique opportunities to maintain motor skills while socializing with others.
Whether your loved one enjoys Minecraft as a creative outlet or rides the Wordle trend, getting into online gaming is simple.
Many older folks have cultivated skills that younger people might not have access to, and teaching is a powerful way to engage the brain and provide social interaction.
Consider how an older person could share their knowledge among peers or other interested individuals. Can they sew, create scrapbooks, or take excellent pictures? These are skills you can share with others!
Explore Opportunities in Your Area for Weekly Socialization
Socialization can become increasingly difficult with age. With some creativity, maintaining an active social life is still highly possible. If you are looking for weekly social activities for your loved one or family member, be sure to explore resources such as the Shepherd’s Center of Northern Virginia to see what is available.
Contact SCNOVA to discover social activities happening around you and learn more about how to help your loved one age in place with joy and excitement.