Category Archives: Activities for Seniors

Remaining Socially Active with Age

With the absence of child rearing and demanding careers, seniors – many for the first time – finally have the opportunity to engage in numerous activities and maintain active social lives. However, the reality is that most seniors, experiencing the losses associated with aging, become isolated and risk suffering from debilitating depression rather than staying socially active with friends and within the community. The health benefits associated with maintaining an active social life are substantial, however. The Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) found that elderly people who maintain an active social life have a slower rate of memory decline. According to PubMed Central, socially active and productive people also live significantly longer than those who are not.

Here are some activities that will aid in keeping seniors independent and engaged with the world around them:

• Meals with Peers: Seniors may have difficulty with preparing meals or lose interest in food if they become depressed. Shared meals can take place in the home or at senior centers – many of which include transportation. Sharing meals with one’s peers provides the social interaction necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
• Engage in Social Media: Social media allows those who are homebound or isolated to talk, share and laugh with others. The elderly are able to participate in conversations and see those who they otherwise might not see regularly. Many senior living communities offer how-to classes on social media outlets. Engaging in video chats allow friends and family to stay in-touch with loved ones.

• Get Involved in the Community: Experience Corps was created for seniors to mobilize their time, talent and experience. With EC seniors are given the opportunity to act as tutors and mentors to children in participating communities. Senior Corps is another program that gives seniors the opportunity to give back. By offering numerous programs that seniors can engage in ( i.e. counseling new business owners and teen parents, building houses, etc.) they are sure to develop and maintain an active social life.

Summer Vacation Planning with the Elderly

After two summers of staycations and thwarted getaway plans, Americans are ready to take to the road and the sky again. Now that the money issue has been resolved, a new stumbling block may arise this summer regarding what to do with Grandma or Grandpa. Whether you plan on taking your parent on vacation with you or setting up a support system back home, don’t fret, you can still cherish your getaway.

While you may be filled with feelings of guilt if you choose to leave your loved one at home, it is important for you to re-energize, relax and recharge your battery so you can come back refreshed and ready to resume your caregiver role. These feelings of guilt are normal, and you have to find a balance between caring for yourself and caring for your parent to avoid caregiver burnout.

Set up a system of checks and balances if you are leaving your parent at home. Medical alert systems like LifeFone provide immediate and caring assistance from trained emergency care specialists 24 hours a day. This way your parent can rest at home in your absence.

Hiring a home health aide for the duration of your trip may also decrease your uneasiness about leaving your parent at home. Home health agency costs range from about $15 to $40 an hour depending on location, services and training. However, these costs may be covered short-term by Medicare.

If you plan on taking your elder parent with you on vacation, it is important to obtain medical clearances from a physician to ensure the planned trip is realistic and appropriate for your family member. Physicians can also assist in ordering extra medication that may be needed for the trip and provide access to medical records in case of emergency.

It is also necessary to factor in additional time when traveling with an elderly family member. Airlines often offer priority boarding for special needs passengers and priority check-ins for wheelchairs and mobility devices. When driving, plan for additional stops. You may even want to consider renting a more spacious vehicle for the trip, or one that offers more accessibility. Prior to your actual vacation, try taking your parent on a shorter trip to a local destination to test the waters and see how they do in their new environment before going on an extended stay.

If you take the time to decide which option is best for your parent before buckling the kids in the car and slathering on the sunscreen this vacation season, you will have a much more enjoyable and relaxing vacation regardless of which route you choose.