Being active and engaged in life with opportunities to grow and learn is important at every age. Many seniors say that participating in life enrichment activities is one of the primary reasons they decided to move to a senior living community. While programs and events might seem like a luxury, they really are a necessity. And while COVID-19 is still a threat, it is important to find ways to be active and engaged yet still remain healthy.
Why are life enrichment and wellness programs important as we age?
Participating in life enrichment programs and 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’s what else researchers have to say.
The Importance of Staying Engaged with Life
There have been a variety of studies published on the topic of life enrichment and aging. Many of them identify benefits, especially in later life:
- Promotes cognitive health: A study published in 2003 in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that staying socially engaged during the retirement years keeps brain cells stimulated. This can help older adults maintain their cognitive abilities longer.
- Prevents isolation: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), feelings of disconnection and social isolation can place the physical health of seniors in jeopardy. The health risks associated with isolation range from obesity and heart disease to depression and early mortality.
- Sedentary lifestyle dangers: While we’ve all heard that being physically active is one of the keys to aging well, exercise can’t overcome the dangers of sitting too much. In fact, health experts say living a sedentary lifestyle may be just as dangerous as smoking. Life enrichment programs keep seniors moving.
Evaluating Life Enrichment Activities at Senior Communities
If you are considering a move to a senior living community, be sure to take a close look at the life enrichment opportunities each one offers.
Here are a few tips to help you do that:
1. 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 programs 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?
- Are their activities that residents can participate in from the comfort of their home? If not, how are COVID-19 safety precautions being implemented?
- What happens on weekends and evenings? Is programming offered beyond traditional business hours?
2. Talk with the life enrichment director.
If you are able to have a tour of a senior living community, ask the team member showing you around to introduce you to the life enrichment director. Here are some questions you can ask regarding life enrichment programs:
- 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.
- Are there additional charges for classes and workshops? It will help you better budget your future expenses if you know what additional fees you are likely to incur.
- How is the community keeping residents involved and engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic?
3. Attend a few activities and events
When the coronavirus pandemic is under control and you feel safe, we suggest that you attend 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 a senior living community is currently managing the coronavirus pandemic, ask to see their COVID-19 operations plan. It is important to find a senior living community that has published clear guidance about their approach to health and safety during this global pandemic. It is also important that a senior living community be transparent about who they consulted in creating this plan and the steps they are taking to implement their safety and wellness measures.
Live With Purpose™ at Sunrise
At Sunrise Senior Living communities, we know how important it is to Live With Purpose™. We offer eight Signature Programs that help residents make the most of life every day. From life-long learning to exercise and creative outlets, our dedicated team of life enrichment professionals creates opportunities for each resident to live a purposeful life.
Sunrise Senior Living communities have taken a proactive approach to coronavirus infection control. We’ve shared our plans openly on our site and update this information often. Visit our We Are Prepared page to learn more or call us at 888-434-4648 with any questions.