Elderly Enrichment: The Importance of Activities for Seniors

Posted on

Elderly Enrichment: The Importance of Activities for Seniors

The decision to move yourself or an elderly loved one into an assisted living community can be a difficult one to make. Just as importantly, it can be a difficult decision to stick with after you’ve actually made it. Understanding the benefits of assisted living is the best way to reassure yourself that you’ve made the correct decision for you and your family. The purpose of this post is to describe the many ways residents benefit from the senior activities that are available in an assisted living setting.

In the end, all anyone truly wants for their elderly loved one is to know they’re cared for and to help enrich their lives. This post will summarize the ways that assisted living can accomplish this worthy goal– through the healthy maintenance of body, mind, and spirit that the top facilities deliver. In the ensuing sections, we will discuss the following:

  • Why senior activities are important
  • Physical activities for senior citizens
  • Elderly activities with a social focus
  • Mental activities for seniors with dementia
  • How American Orchards addresses the importance of activities for seniors

Why Senior Activities Are Important

iStock-519656088

Simple common sense tells us that people of any age fare much better in life when they’re physically, socially, and mentally active. This is especially true when we begin to grow older, as our bodies and minds begin to lose their youthful levels of fitness and their natural healing abilities. Unfortunately, grave problems can arise if a senior citizen does not make pointed efforts to remain active in meaningful ways.

As harsh as it may sound, the bottom line of senior inactivity is actually very simple-– it can contribute to cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, hypertension, and premature death.  Conversely, the relationship between reasonable amounts of activity among seniors and optimal health outcomes is also quite apparent. In other words, the more active a senior citizen is, the healthier they’ll be.

Not only do active seniors avoid the above conditions more often than inactive ones, they also experience a number of positive benefits as well. These benefits range across the spectrum of senor well-being and include things like improved physical health, increased stamina, improvements in mood, better concentration, and the ability to continue learning. Although this relationship between activity and well-being applies to younger persons as well, both the positive and negative effects are amplified in the case of seniors.

Broadly speaking, there are three categories of activities that are recommended for optimal senior well-being: physical, social, and mental. We will discuss each of these categories in turn, including examples of each of them.

Physical Activities for Seniors

iStock-518185878

Physical activities provide the foundation for all other forms of senior wellness. A sedentary lifestyle during the senior years can lead to greater susceptibility to injury, higher incidence of obesity, cardiovascular problems, and a number of other serious diseases. Oppositely, persons who continue to stay active into their senior years decrease the risk of these adverse conditions. Additionally, senior physical activity decreases the risk of stroke, cancers, type 2 diabetes, depression, and dementia. It also arrests the deterioration of overall health and allows seniors to maintain their independence longer.

Depending on preference and ability, activities such as dancing, walking, hiking, and swimming are enormously beneficial to persons over 65 years of age.

Here are a few guidelines to follow for senior physical activities:

  • Seniors should participate in approximately 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, with each session lasting about 10 minutes.
  • For additional benefits, the total time of moderate aerobic activity can be increased to 300 minutes per week.
  • Seniors who experience mobility problems should engage in physical activity at least 3 times a week to improve balance and prevent falls.
  • Seniors should engage in muscle strengthening exercises at least 2 times per week.

Elderly Activities With a Social Focus

iStock-588251526

Elderly activities with a social focus are also crucial to overall wellness, especially for the maintenance of a meaningful and satisfying life. Without consistent social interaction, seniors can experience a variety of distressing conditions, including debilitating loneliness, depression, and an increased risk of dementia. On the other hand, when seniors consistently engage in social activities, they experience significant improvements in their physical, mental, and emotional health outcomes. Much of this improvement results from the ability to maintain healthy relationships and a continued sense of being part of society.

Volunteer opportunities are especially beneficial in this regard, as the experience of helping others enhances the meaning of seniors’ lives and provides much needed stimulation. Lunch clubs, dances, and social centers also deliver enormous benefits to these life areas. The key is staying involved. This means continuing to participate actively in the lives of others in both an individual and a group setting. A healthy social life also requires that seniors allow others to have meaningful access to their lives as well. It’s only through this level of reciprocity that elderly persons can continue to experience emotional wellness.

Mental Activities For Seniors

iStock-157739718

The third and final category are activities with a mental focus. There is no doubt that human beings must continue to receive intellectual stimulation over the entire course of their lives, if they are to achieve and maintain a fulfilling and unimpaired life. A certain decrease of mental abilities during the aging process is inevitable, but active pursuit of cognitive engagement has been proven to slow this cognitive deterioration significantly.

Continued mental activity improves the quality of all life areas. By having a variety of salutary effects on the physical state of the brain, mental activity improves reasoning abilities, memory, and the ability to continue to learn. Activities that engage the mental faculties are also incredibly helpful to overall senior wellness, especially in preventing or slowing the progress of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

The variety of helpful activities is wide enough to accommodate many individual preferences and includes puzzle solving, dancing, board games, reading, and practicing a musical instrument. These sorts of mental activities will also improve the emotional health outcomes of seniors, especially when combined with physical and social activities.

The Importance of Senior Activities at American Orchards in AZ

iStock-511524094

As you can see from the research cited above, participation in physical, social, and mental activities is of paramount importance to overall senior health and wellness. It’s a given that our 24-hour nursing staff looks after the health of all our residents, but you might not be aware of the emphasis we place upon activities and overall wellness. It all goes back to the notion of continuously enriching our residents’ lives, which is the driving force behind everything we do at American Orchards.

Here is a brief summary of how we put this commitment into action on a daily basis at American Orchards:

  • The physical environment of our residential facilities. Our residents live in spaces that are designed with a perfect blend of charm, convenience, and safety. Although there is nothing clinical about these homey settings, they each cater to an individual’s diverse and specific needs while helping residents feel connected to the place they call home.
  • Our Heartwood Memory Care Building. This setting caters to the distinct needs of our residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. It is staffed by a memory support team of nurses and caregivers who put our “Pathways to Promise” initiatives into operation. This is a specialized protocol that focuses on all aspects of senior well-being, including a variety of activities for seniors with dementia.
  • Our Soul Purpose Program. This is a highly integrative approach to all the myriad aspects of senior wellness, with an emphasis on keeping our residents meaningfully engaged with hourly activities that are designed and facilitated by dedicated specialists.

Our Commitment To Our Residents’ Overall Wellness is Second to None

We’ve taken great care in this post to reassure you that your elderly loved ones will be well-cared for in every way imaginable at American Orchards in Gilbert, Arizona. It is our mission to tend to our beloved residents’ needs with patience, compassion, and efficiency.

We deliver our services in a way that consistently acknowledges the accomplishments and dignity of our residents. Together with the round-the-clock care our team members provide and the aesthetic beauty of our community, we strive to ensure that your elderly loved ones will receive exactly the loving care they deserve. Please contact us today with any questions you may have or to organize a guided tour of American Orchards. We look forward to taking care of your loved one just as we would our own.