Social interaction is one of the most beneficial components of well-being and happiness at any age. The social benefits of group activities and the options for getting together increase as warmer months approach. In this blog, we’ll be discussing the perks of increased social interaction as well as group activities for seniors. Whether you’re looking to stay indoors or get outside there are plenty of options for enjoying and benefiting from group activities with friends and family.
The Importance of Social Activities
At Prestige Senior Living we believe human interaction, especially social interaction through group activities, is increasingly important as we age. Looking forward to seeing people, especially those with common interests, provides feelings of joy, love, purpose and companionship. These activities can include outings with family or friends, an hour set aside for table games or arts and crafts, an exercise class or simply watching a movie with a few friends.
As we age in place and connect with new communities designed with older adults in mind the importance of social relationships becomes even greater. If you or a loved one is considering moving to, or already living in, an assisted living or memory care community it’s important to make time for social activities. The social benefits of group interaction and social activity is well documented in many reputable research publications.
Social reciprocity which is the idea of giving to and receiving from one’s community has shown to be an important component of social interaction for seniors. Activities that are steeped in social reciprocity foster feelings of accomplishment, service and an overall sense of wellbeing.
Below we outline four opportunities for reaping the social benefits of interaction that are attainable and bring joy and connectedness to communities.
Advocacy & Civic Engagement
From volunteering at a local food bank to helping people register to vote there are plenty of opportunities for older adults to engage civically and advocate for people in their communities. The local AARP chapter may be a good place to start if you’re looking for volunteer opportunities or ideas.
-Join the Easterseals - The Easterseals are always looking for new and motivated volunteers. They were founded in 1947 and have been advocating for those living with disabilities across Washington ever since.
-Volunteer at a local food bank - Food banks are a great way to meet new people, volunteer with friends and positively impact the lives of others. There are many places looking for volunteers just like you!
-Register residents to vote - There are countless opportunities to help people register to vote no matter what time of year it is. If politics is something that revs your engine you shouldn’t pass up this opportunity to connect with people in your community.
Games & Leisure
Playing games with friends or taking an outing to relax at the theatre are great ways to benefit from social activity. This is especially true if you’re looking to stay indoors on a rainy day or take it easy after a morning of exercise.
-Film screenings - Watching a film in the theater or at a local film festival with friends or family is an incredible way to connect with the people you love while getting a much-needed dose of entertainment. But we also know movie theaters may not be the safest place at the moment – in that case we suggest hosting a virtual film night, or one in-person if distancing can be followed. Many Prestige communities have continued showing movies while spacing out the seating area.
-Try a new recipe - Cooking with friends or for friends can be a great way to unwind, show off or simply try your hand at something new! If creating a full meal causes you to feel a bit of trepidation, try sending out invites for a potluck instead. Potlucks are a simple and fun way to connect with old friends and meet new ones too!
-Attend church service - Going to a weekly service or attending a new church for the first time with friends or family can really boost your spirits and solidify your social relationships. No matter your religion, many churches and places of worship are offering outdoor or virtual options during the pandemic so you can stay safe and healthy!
There is no lack of outdoor activities to partake in this time of year. From garden walks in local neighborhoods to picnics at the beach the outdoors is yours for the taking. Don’t forget your SPF and be sure to pack snacks and extra water if you plan on being away from home for an extended period of time.
-Join a communal garden - Communal gardens are the best of both worlds with exercise and time spent outdoors with friends! The best part about being a member of a communal garden is all the fresh, organic goodies that you get to take home come harvest season.
-Hit the farmer’s market - Farmer’s markets are unique and seasonal opportunities to support your community, get some exercise and bring home fresh and beautiful produce or flowers. Plus, these days farmer’s markets also offer a bounty of other offerings like jams, crafts and local art.
-Start a walking group - Walking tours and groups are perfect for this time of year. It’s not too hot and the rain is beginning to subside. Walking with friends and family is the perfect opportunity to see new parts of the neighborhood or state and strike up brilliant conversation.
Social Activity With Prestige
Fostering friendships and community is a big part of what we do at Prestige, and much of our programming is centered around keeping our residents engaged with each other.
However, that was upended during COVID, and we had to pivot accordingly. But as we’ve been able to vaccinate our residents and staff, we have re-implemented group activities while adhering to local safety and distancing measures.
Whether it’s car parades, fashion shows, ladies’ night out or a paint and sip, we are not your grandma’s nursing home. Find the location nearest you and contact them to learn more about what kinds of activities are available.