Life enrichment activities offered at an assisted living community support residents’ physical, social, emotional, and cognitive well-being. In addition to fostering personal growth and creativity, these activities are designed to keep seniors engaged and active.
Participating in activities on a regular basis promotes brain health. It also helps overcome the health risks associated with isolation and loneliness, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, and more. Here are three top reasons why life enrichment programs are important:
Keeping Seniors Active
An active lifestyle is essential to healthy aging. Staying active can help seniors manage chronic medical conditions, maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints, and prolong independence. Unfortunately, many seniors struggle to remain active after retirement. Life enrichment activities that include physical activity can keep seniors moving.
Fostering Social Connection
Strong relationships are important at any age. Feeling connected to others can reduce stress and anxiety, lower the risk of depression, and lead to a longer life. It also provides a sense of belonging, which contributes to self-esteem. It can be challenging for seniors to stay socially active, especially after retirement when they don’t have as many opportunities to meet people. Activities with a social focus, such as those in a group setting, can help seniors make friends.
Preserving Cognitive Health
Many assisted living facilities include activities that promote cognitive health. Keeping the mind active improves memory and reasoning abilities and gives an overall sense of achievement. By participating in activities, seniors can preserve and sometimes improve their brain health. Reading, puzzles, and board games are all examples of activities that stimulate the mind.
If you are considering a move to an assisted living community, be sure to take a close look at the life enrichment opportunities that are offered.
Review the Monthly Activities Calendar
Ask the community’s life enrichment director for copies of the past few months’ activities calendars and take some time to review them.
Are there a wide variety of activities and events offered throughout the week?
- Do you see activities you’d like to participate in? Are there life enrichment programs that engage the body, mind, and spirit?
- How are COVID-19 safety precautions being implemented?
- What happens on weekends and evenings? Are activities offered beyond the usual business hours?
Talk with the Life Enrichment Director
If you can take a tour of an assisted living community, ask to be introduced to the life enrichment director and consider asking the following questions:
- How are new programs and activities added to the calendar? If, for example, you enjoy pastel painting and it’s not offered, is it possible for a class to be added?
- What is the best way to meet other residents who might share your interests? Can the life enrichment director help introduce you to others so you can attend programs and activities together? This is a great way for new residents to feel comfortable getting involved.
- How is the community keeping residents involved and engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Attend Activities and Events
When the coronavirus pandemic is under control and you feel safe, consider attending some activities in person. Highlight a few programs on the calendar that look interesting, then ask the staff if you can join in. Participating will help you get to know some of the current residents and determine whether or not the community is a good fit.
If you are anxious about how an assisted living community is currently managing the coronavirus pandemic, ask about their COVID-19 protocols. It is important to find a living community that has published clear guidance about their approach to health and safety during the pandemic.
Choosing an assisted living facility is about more than finding a place to live. It’s about living your best life, with activities that help you become involved and enjoy every day, enriching body, mind and spirit.
St. Augustine Health Ministries, a leader in serving senior adults and the chronically ill for over 50 years, is dedicated to providing a continuum of health care and social services within our community. We offer a wide variety of enrichment opportunities at both of our assisted living locations: Towers Assisted Living on the St. Augustine Health Campus in Cleveland and Emerald Village Senior Living in North Olmsted. For more information, go to www.staugministries.org/assisted-living.