You could look at aging as getting older or see it as freedom to do the things you didn’t have time for when you were working a 9-to-5 and raising your family. As George Burns said, “You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” Senior life is what you make of it, despite creaky joints or the occasional flare up of arthritis.
It is the day-to-day activities that are the most challenging for the man or woman who has worked their entire life. But you miss out on more than fun with friends when you aren’t getting out and about on a regular basis. Lack of social support has a negative effect on both psychological and physical wellbeing—especially for older adults. Depression in seniors is a growing concern in this country.
The way to combat the senior blues is to find daily activities that provide entertainment, mental stimulation and socialization.
- Afternoon cards games
- Yoga class for seniors
- Wii games
- Quilting club
These are all examples of group activities that work well for the older set. Throw in one or two weekly and monthly events like golfing, book club or bingo, and you have well-rounded and fun ways to experience senior life.
Being older doesn’t that the thought of a good road trip loses its shine. The occasional day trip to a place of interest like a museum or antique store will help break up the monotony of life after retirement. Gallery openings, county fairs or a night at the symphony all mean a few hours doing something different. If you don’t have your own vehicle, there are plenty of public and private transportation services that can get you where you need to go.
Go Back to School
There is evidence that learning something new helps ward off dementia and improves executive functioning as you grow older. Look into lifelong learning opportunities at a nearby university or take advantage of free online classes from major national institutions like UC Berkley. If you’re a more creative spirit, try the painting or pottery classes offered at a local community college..
Even physical classes like line dancing or archery will improve cognitive function and give seniors a way to stay active.
Volunteer to Serve
Volunteering allows seniors to give back to their communities while improving their quality of life. Nothing makes you feel better about yourself like helping others.
Senior Corps connects retired individuals with organizations that can utilize their abilities. They become mentors, coaches and help work on community projects. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities for those seniors who are less mobile, too. Check out the local animal shelter or veterinary hospital and spend time petting a dog or cat that needs love.
If you’re getting nostalgic for the pitter-patter of tiny feet, there are plenty of kids out there who need attention from a loving adult. Baby cuddling, for example, is a real volunteer service that is becoming more popular among the elderly.
Neonatal hospital, orphanages, and group homes bring in volunteers to hold babies who otherwise wouldn’t get enough physical contact. Research shows that this bonding helps them develop social interaction skills that will increase their ability to learn later in life.
Adult Day Programs
If you need a little more day-to-day assistance, but still want to stay active, an adult day program may be for you! These programs are typically run my senior communities, so you know that you have professional help if you need it, but they’re structured like a social club for the elderly. The organization does all the work, so all you have to do is show up.
There’s plenty of variety in the activities too:
- Day trips
- Regular exercise
- Card games
It’s ideal for the person who wants to spend time with other people, but needs help making that happen.
Age— It’s Nothing But a Number.
Is staying active the key to remaining young? It certainly is part of feeling young, regardless of your age. From regular exercise to stretching the brain cells, you will find that staying busying is part of living senior life to its fullest and remaining independent.