Why are senior activities especially important for seniors in rehabilitation?
Activities for people who are in rehab can actually aid progress, apart from the enjoyment, fun and satisfaction involved. Carefully chosen activities can facilitate the journey towards recuperation and independence.
Leisure activities are important for every person at different points in their life. This is true, more so for seniors, who need and will appreciate activities.
The diversity of the senior population – they have come from varying backgrounds and have had different experiences – means that they have different strengths and abilities. Some seniors already know how to have a little fun, and are used setting aside time for leisure. Others might be more reserved and need to be drawn into the activity. Everybody has their own idea of what constitutes fun and recreation.
Let us look at some of the myriad benefits of recreation for seniors in general and then discuss ways to make sure that everyone can enjoy an activity.
Gains from Senior Activities
There are many benefits from recreational activities.
We can categorize these into three main groups:
- Stimulation of the brain and cognitive processes, such as memory and perception of the self.
- Boosting emotional well-being and state of mind, such as feeling happy and a sense of being in control.
- Cause improvements in the physical state of the body, such as strengthening arm muscles or improving the hand’s grip.
Getting involved in a recreational activity brings non-tangible benefits:
- Being absorbed to the point that one can forget about life’s challenges for a while.
- Not having to feel under pressure to perform for someone, nor worry about the consequences of your effort.
- Being occupied, being stimulated mentally.
- Feeling enjoyment, feeling lightness, feeling alive.
- Having a sense of time used productively for oneself, and one’s own gain.
- The satisfaction of using skills that one is familiar with.
- Happiness from learning something new.
- Feeling fit and healthy from movement, if applicable.
- Socializing – the chatting, companionship, being with other in a similar situation.
- Connecting with nature, yourself or others can bring a sense of revitalization.
- A sense of pride in achievement.
- A sense of adventure in tackling something out of the ordinary – such as new technology .
There are many lists of types of activities and games for seniors. Suggestions for activities can often be adjusted to meet the needs of a person in rehabilitation. A little creativity goes a long way. Here are some resources: Fun Activities for Seniors , Game suggestions ,
How to include Everyone in an Activity
Here are some ways to motivate people to join the activity.
– the goals are few and manageable.
– the activity will bring out who they are and not attack their identity in any way.
– there is a purpose in the activity since we all like to feel useful.
– that they will be able to find a way to adapt their abilities to the activity.
– the activity builds on their existing knowledge
– the activity will be at a comfortable pace for the participants
– consistent language in activities gives a sense of familiarity and comfort
At the planning stage, the activity leader should show initiative in choosing an activity that is suitable for the individuals in the group. A separate article discusses some of the planning involved in preparing a senior recreational activity.
A Final Note
On a final note, an activity could be in a group setting or on an individual basis. Of course, an activity could be led by a professional or by a family member. The same activity, if done indoors or outdoors can take on a completely different flavor.
After having discussed the great benefits people can receive from senior activities and how to make the activity happen in a pleasant way for all involved, all that is left to say is,
“I hope your senior activity goes well! Happy planning and enjoy yourselves!”