Senior activities are much more than an excuse to have fun.
With careful planning and focused strategies, senior recreation activities can be an important part of rehabilitation.
Planning A Fun Activity
Here is a guide for family members who have a loved one in rehabilitation or, who wish to produce their own activity for a relative.
Let’s look at some of what goes into planning a senior recreational activity.
The Activity Leader
A special rehabilitation activity, begins of course, with a special leader.
An activity leader should be gentle, encouraging and empathetic, yet bubbling with positive energy and cheerfulness. A good activity department will be run by a person with a professional background. Their knowledge will be expressed in an enjoyable, sensitive and well-planned activity.
Choosing an Activity
An activity can be a memorable event, that the participants will fondly recall after it is over. Perhaps there might be a guest speaker, such as a well-known author or chef or a presentation about a subject that the participants can relate to from their earlier years.
The activity department could collect some rare and interesting items for show and tell, these items might even be memory joggers for the participants.
Any chosen activity must be planned with care; it should be fun but not patronizing in any way. Be sensitive to what the participants will enjoy. Don’t bring back bad memories or make a participant feel small or helpless. Don’t spring surprises that might shock a participant.
A Joint Effort
Sometimes an activity should be planned together with either other professionals or some of the family members. The activity leader should be aware of the needs of the participants. For example, a patient who is in need of occupational therapy to improve their fine motor skills should or should not be chosen to be dealer of the cards in a card game – it would depend on the individual patients abilities at that time. Family members are a valuable resource. They can and should have a say in the recreation activities of their loved one, letting the Activity Department know which activities should be favored if possible.
Familiarity with the Participants
The activity leader should enjoy chatting with the participants, so that they can get to know each other. A leader who is familiar with the group will exude more cheerfulness when they are sharing a senior activity.
Vary the Age Ranges
Occasionally, the activity leader can include other participants of different ages than that of the rehabilitation group. This would stimulate the participants and add a whole new dimension to any activity.
Senior Recreational Activities – Why?
We have shown how careful and professional planning is important for every senior recreational activity. There are many interesting studies on this topic. Each study brings out the importance of senior activities for senior health.
A separate article will follow that will discuss some of the great benefits that can be harvested from senior activities.
A Grove of Silver Birch Trees
A grove of Silver Birch trees stand in silence
As years seem to pass them by,
And the eighty years plus that these tree live
Is testimony to a special life,
The trials it has withstood,
And challenges overcome, form its story,
Don’t ever say that it looks gray
Its silver color is its glory.