As the weather cools and the warm, brilliant hues of Autumn begin to cover the landscape, our thoughts automatically run to pumpkins, apples, and spice from lattes to donuts we begin to crave, and can't wait to indulge in the abundance of the season. Some people believe that the cooling temperature means it is time for seniors to head indoors and pull out the puzzles, knitting kits, and other forms of indoor entertainment. But not so fast. There is still more fun to be had outside. The fall is an opportune time for seniors to get out and enjoy outdoor recreations. Let explore a few.
In a recent post, we explored The Truth About Play & Why It’s Not Just for Children, detailing how the practice of play impacts the human mind, body, and soul—and why it’s so important for seniors to engage in play regularly. From neurology to physiology and psychology, the benefits of play for seniors are clear and present, which is why this topic has become such a popular one. But as people age, they often lose their sense of play and its priority in their lives. Here, we’re exploring 10 inspiring ways to help seniors reignite their sense of play and find the fun again.
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In childhood, play is practically a way of life. It’s how kids relate to one another, how they spend their free time, how they discover the world around them. As we age, however, play seems to become less and less of a focus in our everyday lives. Work and responsibility begin to take center stage, and play is often relegated to a tiny corner of our minds. The truth is play remains as valuable and important as ever, regardless of age. In fact, learning to reprioritize play can bring about major benefits for seniors in terms of health and wellbeing.
Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about the importance of human connection in seniors’ lives. Socialization seems to be a major gateway to overall health and a longer lifespan, and curating a sense of community can have immense benefits with regard to a senior’s ability to thrive. One interesting byproduct of this human connection piece is the opportunity for laughter.
It’s been just about a year and a half since the pandemic first reared its ugly head and began reshaping the “normal” we’d been accustomed to living. Now, with vaccine distribution in full swing, as well as declining numbers of severe illnesses from COVID, we’re seeing the beginnings of recovery from such a challenging time in our lives.
There’s no shortage of challenges seniors face when it comes to staying connected to the larger community. From diminished mobility and lack of transportation options to the inevitable loss of family and friends in their social circle, it can be difficult to maintain a strong base of human relationships and a wide sense of community. But these aspects of a senior’s life are critical to healthy aging and the capacity to thrive.
The housing market is booming. After a year of pandemic-style living, it seems homes are flying off real estate listings in a matter of hours—that’s if they even make it there at all. Mortgages reached historic lows, and the demand for housing is at an all-time high. In fact, the National Association of Realtors recently reported the median sales price of homes to be up over 17 percent since last year.
Over the last 30+ years, the field of interpersonal neurobiology has emerged as a framework for studying the effects of relationships on the human mind and body. It’s an area focused on the fundamental role of human connection in our lives. Whereas important aspects of physical and mental health, like diet and exercise, have long been recognized as leading contributors to a long and healthy life, many researchers, scientists, and medical professionals are now acknowledging interpersonal relationships as an undeniable influence on living and aging well.
Guilt, by any measure, is one of the most difficult feelings senior caregivers face when transitioning a loved one from home to a care facility. Family members who find themselves up against this decision do not typically go into it lightly, often laboring over the question of what’s best for the senior in their life. Many times, the move is dictated by unforeseen circumstances or newly emerged medical conditions that make it impractical to care for the loved one at home. Whatever the case, both the decision and the logistics of placement can leave a caregiver riddled with an overwhelming sense of guilt.
According to The State of Mental Health and Aging in America, an estimated 20% of people aged 55 years or older experience some type of mental health concern. The most common conditions include anxiety, severe cognitive impairment, and mood disorders like depression, which is the most prevalent mental health problem among older adults. Depression can result in personal distress and suffering, as well as impairments in physical, mental, and social functioning.
If you read our last blog article, The Secret to Health & Longevity That’s Too Important to Miss , you are familiar with the concept of “The Village Effect.” This metaphor for how human connection significantly impacts our minds and bodies points to the powerful link between socialization and lifespan. It’s an incredible concept supported by studies in social neuroscience, and it makes the case for just how important human connection is in the life of a senior.