“We live in a youth-obsessed culture that is constantly trying to tell us that if we are not young, and we’re not glowing, that we don’t matter. I refuse to let a system or a culture or a distorted view of reality tell me that I don’t matter. I know that only by owning who and what you are can you start to step into the fullness of life. Every year should be teaching us all something valuable.”
Oprah Winfrey, O Magazine 2011
We are all capable of growth through the course of our lives. While some things may become more difficult, others will become easier because of our experience over the years. This potential to continually and consistently add to our toolbelt as well as build with (and for) others is one of the great benefits of senior living communities.
That is not to say that feelings of discomfort may arise because that is something each and every one of us has had to navigate. However, in senior living, there is a variety of accessible and engaging resources and programs to counter these feelings. In addition, reaching out for support outside of the community can provide the assurance and peace of mind that every resident should feel.
Support for Individuals in Senior Care
Here, we have listed several internal and external support systems available to and for individuals living in senior residential communities.
Senior Exercise Programs
For many seniors, maintaining a consistent, functional, and adaptable exercise routine can be difficult. For those that are involved in these programs, exercise is made easy and social. The pressure and stress of exercising is simplified and almost disguised through social interaction with friends and neighbors who also attend these classes, walks, and activities.
Even if your residential community does not sponsor exercise programming, most gyms offer incredible senior discounts or memberships waivers based on insurance. Organizing a group that goes together each week can also be a fun way to get to know and spend time with fellow residents.
Senior Social Activities
Sometimes physical activity just is not an interest for senior living or assisted living residents. Other residents may only have limited mobility. All of this is more than okay! Senior living communities also tend to sponsor or at least naturally cultivate a social landscape for their residents. This includes social activities geared toward the seniors’ interests.
In doing so, residents are able to connect, share, relate, support, and encourage one another. Whether these networks are built through breakfasts, park outings, game nights, theme dinners, the fan favorite “senior prom”, or just residence culture, they can serve as a major point of kinship, connection, and fulfillment for individuals and partners.
This is one of the most influential but understated resources for seniors and their experiences. Senior living can provide the state of the art facilities and unmatched care as far as health and wellness is concerned. While it is the goal and practice of every facility to achieve those standards, the wellness component of that objective can always be supplemented or reinforced by familial confidence.
Even small gestures can go a long way in terms of supporting family members in a senior living residence. Often times this can aid in memory care as well. We’ve listed a few things that families can do and seniors can ask for below:
- Regular phone calls
- Schedule visits at their residence
- Schedule visits to go out
- Sending cards, photos, trinkets, etc.
- Holiday activity invitations
Accommodating the needs, abilities, and desires of all parties can sometimes seem a little involved but the benefits of social and emotional health are a powerful asset. There is even an AARP study on intergenerational communications, highlighting the worth technology in these interactions. Remember, not all technology is the same and there is technology that is accessible and compatible for all users.
There is something to be learned and gained at every stage of life. By ignoring the capacity for growth of seniors, seniors are forced to detaching or subdue their interests as well as their interaction in their community. Finding a senior living residence whose values align with yours can make a world of difference!