As people grow older and enter their senior years, it’s not unusual to suffer some loneliness and loss of companionship. Not only do seniors lose opportunities to meet new people in social situations (through a job, for example), but they also start to lose loved ones like parents, siblings, spouses, and friends. For seniors that suffer ailments, disabilities, or other issues that keep them somewhat homebound, this situation can become even more pronounced.
Concerned family members or friends may not be able to compensate for such isolation and loneliness due to the demands of their own busy lives or some distance from their elderly loved one. For this reason, it’s important to find ways to help senior remain social, and there are tons of options to explore. Here are several ideas for social program ideas for the elderly that you might want to discuss with the seniors in your life.
There’s something truly rewarding about planting seeds, watching them grow, and enjoying the fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers produced in the process. Many seniors enjoy gardening on their own, but in order to add a social aspect, they may want to participate in a community garden, where contributors work in collaboration to grow produce for the benefit of individuals and families in the area.
Not everyone has a green thumb, but everyone has to eat. Seniors, especially those who live alone, can get stuck in a rut when it comes to meals. Joining a local cooking class provides the opportunity to learn to create new dishes, as well as sample new foods. Seniors can also interact with others in the class, make new friends, and maybe even plan to continue meeting with classmates regularly to cook together.
Staying fit and active isn’t always easy for seniors, especially those who suffer from health concerns. However, exercise is an essential part of maintaining mobility and remaining as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Water aerobics classes provide a low-impact alternative to traditional cardiopulmonary exercise and they also include resistance training to tone muscles and improve overall function in daily life. Plus, seniors can make friends with fellow classmates.
Dance classes/social dances
Dancing can help seniors to stay physically fit and socialize at the same time. However, studies have shown that dancing can also increase cognitive acuity. This is of particular interest to the Alzheimer’s community because it has been postulated that dancing could help to prevent the onset or diminish symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia. When it comes to beneficial social program ideas for the elderly, finding dance classes or social dances in the area could be one of the most comprehensive and attractive options to consider.
Book clubs and movie clubs not only introduce seniors to new forms of information and entertainment; they also provide an opportunity to socialize by discussing the media under review. This is a great way for seniors to interact socially, keep the mind sharp, and consider new ideas and points of view.
Game days with family members and/or friends are an excellent way to socialize and undertake fun mental challenges at the same time. This is an ideal activity for seniors that may be unable to participate in physical activities due to illness, injury, or other physical limitations, especially if they are housebound.
Field trips/road trips
Seniors can take advantage of all kinds of senior discounts at area businesses, from museums, zoos, and aquariums to movie theaters and restaurants. Perhaps even better for adventure-loving seniors, however, are senior travel groups. These groups can provide opportunities for seniors to see new places at low costs with all-inclusive amenities. They can also be a great place for elderly people to meet peers and make new friends.
Joining social groups
Seniors can use hobbies like quilting, golf, walking, and so on to find and join groups, or alternately, create their own and recruit other members. However, there are also a variety of social groups geared toward seniors, including AARP, the Red Hat Society, SCORE, and more.
Some allow seniors to take advantage of discounted activities. Others provide opportunities to give back through charitable endeavors or to offer their expertise through volunteer mentorship. All can help seniors to socialize and maintain a feeling of relevance.
Some seniors are not particularly savvy when it comes to technology, and they could be missing out on easy opportunities to find new social groups and activities as a result. If the seniors in your life don’t yet know about the social platform Meetup, you should help them learn to use it to find social groups to join, or to create their own. For single seniors, dating apps can also be a fun diversion and a way to find love and companionship at any age.
Family fun days
When family members feel pressured to provide social interaction for lonely seniors, it can put a strain on the relationship. You can combat this by spreading the love. Planning family fun days with food, activities, and socialization for all can not only help seniors to stave off loneliness, but also create positive bonding time for the entire family.
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.