Living an active and engaged life with opportunities to grow and learn is important at every age. Many seniors say the chance to participate 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.
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. Here are the benefits that a few found:
- Promotes cognitive health: A study published in 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that staying socially engaged during retirement years keeps brain cells stimulated. That helps older adults maintain their cognitive abilities longer.
- Prevents isolation: A 2009 study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that “social disconnectedness and perceived isolation are independently associated with lower levels of self-rated physical health” among seniors. 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 physical activity 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 weighing which senior living community might be the best fit, 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.
- Is a wide variety of programs and events offered throughout the week?
- Do you see activities you’d like to participate in? An ideal life enrichment program will offer activities that engage the body, mind, and spirit.
- What happens on weekends and evenings? Is programming offered beyond traditional business hours?
2. Talk with the life enrichment director.
If the team member showing you around doesn’t introduce you to the life enrichment director, ask to meet them. You should ask the director questions such as these:
- 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 each month?
- Also inquire about 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.
3. Attend a few activities and events
Our final tip is to actually 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 going alone, most senior living communities are happy to have you bring a friend or family member along with you.
Live With Purpose at Sunrise
At Sunrise Senior Living communities, we know how important it is to Live With Purpose. We offer eight signature activities programs that help each resident make the most of life every day. From generosity to reflection and artistry, our dedicated team of life enrichment professionals creates opportunities for residents to live purposeful lives every day.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living