Hobbies and Pastimes for Seniors In Memory Care Communities
Providing opportunities to engage in life enriching hobbies and pastimes are just one of the many advantages memory care communities can offer a loved one dealing with memory loss.
Very often a senior entering the early phases of memory loss will disengage from activities they have previously enjoyed. They may stop going out to eat with their friends because they are struggling to keep up with the thread of conversation or to find the right words to express themselves. They may avoid spending time at their favorite sports bar, concert hall, or parties and social events because they find large crowds and loud noises disorienting. The result for someone with early dementia can be social withdrawal and depressed mood.
The antidote for these seniors is to stay engaged to preserve mental, physical, and emotional well-being. This is why programs promoting hobbies and pastimes for seniors in memory care communities are a vital part of helping your loved one continue to enjoy life to the fullest extent possible.
There are a variety of fun and fulfilling activities seniors in early stages of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia can benefit from. Memory care communities understand the importance of taking personal interests, abilities and physical limitations into consideration when choosing activities that would appeal most to their residents.
Here’s a sampling of the mental and physical options that can enrich the lives of seniors coping with the challenges of memory loss:
- Walking – While it is one of the simplest pastimes, walking holds out more than a few physical and mental health benefits. Memory care communities are often designed with figure-eight patterns that encourage movement with rewarding destination points. Depending on their mobility, residents can take a brisk walk or leisurely stroll through the halls alone or with a friend. Other communities have outdoor paths where family and friends can accompany their loved one in the fresh air, watch birds and other wildlife, as well as soak up a little Vitamin D.
- Singing and Dancing – Music and movement are a tonic for body and soul. Memory care communities often offer instructor-led dance classes featuring line, swing, ballroom, and even hip hop. Others host sing-alongs of timeless tunes across the genres. Studies have shown even just listening to music can awaken and rejuvenate areas of the brain. The benefits of music and dance for those in memory care include reduced levels of agitation, anxiety, stress and depression.
- Scrapbooking – Whether it’s creating collages of old family photos or using images cut from magazines that reflect a personal interest in fashion, cooking or cars, the act of selecting and arranging visual elements is stimulating and a conversation starter for a small gathering of family and friends.
- Gardening – Digging in the dirt and coaxing seeds into sprout is a sensory-rich pastime therapeutic for any age. Gardening draws on a lifetime of long-term memory experience and doesn’t require learning new skills. Even a pretty container filled with potting soil and a packet of seeds has the potential of a miniature garden. Many memory care communities have secure outdoor gardens residents can cultivate. The familiar routines of watering, pulling weeds, and picking vegetables or flowers is deeply satisfying. Enjoying these activities can help improve mood and sleep quality, lower stress, while providing a gratifying sense of accomplishment.
- Doing Puzzles – Putting together colorful, large-piece puzzles or those with tactile features can help relieve stress, improve cognition, and elevate mood, as well as provide a natural way to connect socially.
- Watching Old Movies – Many memory care communities host movie nights that screen classic films or old television shows. The familiar characters and plot lines are easy to follow and bring back great memories. Add a bag of popcorn and an audience of fellow residents and you’ve got a stimulating activity everyone can enjoy.
- Drawing and Painting – Your loved one doesn’t have to be an artist to rediscover the creative pleasures of doodling or painting. Providing big rolls of butcher paper and brightly colored paints or crayons gives memory-challenged seniors an easy way to express emotions and feelings. This relaxing, stress-free activity often results in a keepsake that reflects the creativity still shining in your loved one.
Providing daily opportunities to engage in life-enriching hobbies and pastimes is just one of the advantages memory care communities can offer a loved one dealing with memory loss.
About MorningStar Senior Living
An integrated developer, owner and operator of premier retirement communities, MorningStar’s portfolio encompasses over 40 properties under operation or development representing 5,000+ units under management or in development in twelve states in the Midwest and Western United States. Offering independent living, assisted living and memory care, MorningStar is privileged to elevate life for those who taught the rest of us how to live. For more information, visit MorningStarSeniorLiving.com.