Staying active can be a challenge for older adults who live alone. Unfortunately, traditional senior living communities are generally not thought to be conducive to an active lifestyle. Terms like “nursing home” infer that your loved one will have few opportunities for activities and engagement. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
Modern active senior living communities promote full body wellness, focusing on everything from diet to exercise to mental health. To get a better picture, we’ve outlined a few ways that senior living communities can help you or your loved one remain engaged and energetic through the golden years.
The Benefits of an Active Lifestyle
Research shows that some level of activity is crucial to older adults’ well-being. In fact, studies found that staying physically active is associated with a longer life expectancy. Overall, exercising helps maintain a healthy weight, lower blood pressure, strengthen bones, improve flexibility and boost your mood.
Active senior living communities promote motion and movement at every juncture and make it feel fun rather than a chore. It’s a lot easier for older adults to participate in pre-planned classes and outings than motivate themselves to initiate activities.
Moreover, while exercise may come to mind with the word activity, engaging in social events and other wellness activities are just as important. Research also shows that staying socially active can fight loneliness, isolation and anxiety that many adults feel as they age.
How to Take Advantage of an Active Senior Living Community
The beauty of a senior living community is the availability of programming and healthy options at your fingertips. Whether it’s for you or your loved one, some of the responsibility does fall on your plate to participate. For an ideal balance, aim for a blend of the following areas:
Experts suggest that older adults aim for 2.5 hours of total physical activity each week with a mix of aerobic, strength and balance activities. If you or your loved one is part of a senior living community, there are likely staff members or activity coordinators who can help lead exercise routines.
If you’re not sure where to begin, here are just a few suggested activities for older adults:
- Aerobic: anything that gets your heart pumping. Try walking, dancing, swimming or gardening.
- Strength: try using resistance bands or light hand weights (use bottled water or canned foods in a pinch!) or opt for a gentle pilates class.
- Balance: consider chair yoga or tai chi, both of which can improve mindfulness as well!
Check your community activity calendar. Odds are, many of the above options are available!
(Before beginning any new fitness regime, consult with your doctor and be sure to start slowly. Even just 5-10 minutes of exercise can be beneficial).
While the thought of moving into a new place is daunting for many older adults, the socialization aspect of senior communities is especially beneficial for residents. In active senior living communities, older adults can engage in a range of meaningful pursuits. These opportunities allow residents to interact with their peers and try new experiences, such as:
- Crafts and art therapy
- Music performances and music therapy
- Cooking and new culinary classes
- Gardening and outdoor activities
- Community outings and visits
Making new friends can be challenging, but once you or your loved one takes the first steps and gets involved, the benefits will be immediate. Remember, getting out of an individual living space to socialize can do wonders for wellbeing and disposition.
Senior wellness routines have evolved—they’re not only focused on being physically healthy but also emotionally purposeful. Part of the framework for active senior living means expanding your horizon to encompass purpose-driven community initiatives, stress management, mental wellness and more.
Wellbeing doesn’t just mean your body, but your mind and soul as well. New and dynamic communities, like Vineyard Senior, embrace this mindset and encourage their residents to live a fulfilling life that promotes overall wellness.
Setting Wellness Goals
No matter how you or your loved one choose to stay active, make a daily effort towards getting out and about. Set tangible goals based on unique needs and track progress. Perhaps you opt for a fitness tracker or a set number of appearances at community social events.
In addition, switch up activity routines to prevent burnout. Encourage family and friends to join in for community events.
Along the journey, it’s important not to feel pressured or uncomfortable. While setting milestones helps you stay on track, the overall goal should always be to find enjoyable ways to embrace an active and happy lifestyle.
The Importance of Active Senior Living (and How Senior Living Communities Can Help!)
As we grow older, maintaining an active lifestyle becomes increasingly difficult. Despite that, staying both physically and socially active are more important than ever. (It’s a bit of a catch-22!)
Research shows that longevity and activity are closely tied together. Fortunately, today’s aging adults have a variety of community settings to help them stay active and enjoy a sense of purpose in their later years.
Active senior living communities promote a dynamic environment that can provide you or your loved one with needed support while improving overall wellbeing.
To find out more, schedule your visit to one of Vineyard’s Communities today!