At Deupree House, We know that it’s possible for your body to be in excellent physical condition, but for you not to be at the peak of wellness.
Living well isn’t just about regular exercise or good nutrition. We believe that true wellness has 6 dimensions—physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, vocational, and social. Activities, volunteering and social engagements can be a great way to stimulate all of the dimensions of wellness. It’s not always easy to know where to go for appropriate activities for seniors, however. So here are some suggestions to start.
Be Part of a Community.
We know that many older adults often move into independent living communities not for the care services available, but to take advantage of the leisure, social, and educational opportunities these communities offer.
“So [at Deupree House,] we have a concert series, a speaker series and dinners at well-reviewed restaurants. We invite authors to discuss their just-released books,” says Tarrah Pickard, our Director of Life Enrichment at Deupree House.
It can be difficult to find meaningful experiences to enrich your life when you don’t live in an independent living or retirement community that sponsors regular events and activities. We have a few tips that can help you get started on the path to living well either from home or from a retirement community.
Join a club or start a hobby
Beyond the obvious social benefits, club activities can help stimulate the mind and body.
Try joining a health club or fitness program for older adults. Connect with your peers, and see the dots start to form between physical, social and even mental wellness. Plus, there’s always a certain thrill to starting something new. You can find some interesting clubs at web sites such as meetup.com which often list many different groups with common hobbies.
Get involved in community outreach
Plugging into a local charitable endeavor is a good way to find fulfillment. Not only does it offer the satisfaction of doing good, but social interaction and an opportunity to build lasting relationships.
Our Deupree Meals on Wheels program is always a great opportunity to meet other older adults and deliver vital meals that they so desperately need.
If you’re a crafter, look for programs like Blanketed With Love, that donates handmade blankets to the homeless, displaced, and disadvantaged.
Rediscover Your Purpose and Identity.
At Deupree House, we know that having a purpose plays a significant role in living well, and many times it is hard to maintain that sense of purpose during retirement or after the children have grown.
A recently updated University of Cincinnati study notes that wellness can be difficult for older adults to attain after transitioning out of formal employment—especially in light of how intertwined occupation can become with self-identification and worth.
Job and family have a way of defining us. Just think about how many times we introduce ourselves as a sibling, child or parent and follow it up with what we do for a living?
At Deupree House, and all other Episcopal Retirement Communities, we promote vocational wellness which goes beyond occupation to address the core of who you are—your interests, talents, values, skills, and personality.
Laura Lamb, ERH’s Vice President of Residential Housing and Health Care, worked to found the Council For Lifelong Engagement (CLLE) in 2007 which encourages and enables seniors to share their knowledge and talents with school children.
With the CLLE program, older adults engage in the community and turn the traditional roles of volunteerism on their head, sharing their knowledge and talents with school children in the Cincinnati area. As guest lecturers, seniors can educate students on areas of their specific expertise—anything from history to art to business to science.
If you’d like to engage in purpose driven activities, and are unable to participate in enrichment programs like CLEE, we have some other ways you can find fulfillment as you enjoy your retirement and empty nest on your own.
Take up a hobby that gives you tangible results like gardening or woodworking. This kind of physical labor keeps you active and gives you a sense of accomplishment.
If your family lives nearby, fill your house with children’s laughter by volunteering to babysit a few hours a week.
Participate in the creation of art—dance, write, sew, or make music. Be a part of something beautiful.
Be an activist. Don’t withdraw from the world around you. Get involved in your community through tutoring, mentoring or civic engagement.