Moving into retirement housing can be a stressful experience for many seniors. Often, the question is asked “What is there to do?” With many retirement homes employing only one activities director and operating on a small budget, the answer to that question may shape a senior’s decision to move to an assisted living community. Even with the limited budget, there are many activities that assisted living homes can coordinate for their residents.
- Exercise is one of the most important things to look for in a retirement home activity list. Studies have shown that seniors who remain active are at a lower risk for dementia and are less likely to suffer debilitating falls. Many retirement homes offer yoga and tai chi, and encourage residents to take long walks around the yard and building.
- Mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness, so many assisted living homes have libraries and offer classes in technology. Some senior living facilities even offer college-level classes and continuing education programs to help seniors keep learning.
- Social interaction is another integral part of any quality activities program. Aside from holding parties, ice cream socials, and other gatherings for residents, some retirement homes will bring in outside company to brighten residents’ days. Volunteers may sing Christmas carols, bring in pets for animal therapy, or even just sit and visit with residents, giving them someone to talk to when their family isn’t there. Often, children from local schools and scout troops will stop by to visit the residents and keep them company.
When visiting a retirement home, it is important to speak to the activities director to find out what the options are. Ask to see a copy of the activities calendar, and ask about how they overcome staffing and budgetary obstacles. Make sure there are activities that fit the senior’s interests. If your family member likes being active and moving around, a facility that only offers quiet watercolors and movie nights will probably not be a good fit. It’s important to find a retirement home that meets your family’s needs.