activities for older adults,
Posted By: Ashlee
Gardens provide many benefits in addition to landscaping beauty. Researchers have found that the accessibility to nature is an important factor in life satisfaction. Gardening or horticulture therapy offers many benefits for people of all ages and skill levels. Benefits include working with nature, physical exercise, alleviating stress and depression, providing social interaction, and using thinking skills and problem solving. Working in the garden can be a great relaxation practice to reduce stress levels and related conditions.
There has been an increased acknowledgement of the restorative value of gardens and plants in care communities for the elderly. Specific benefits for the elderly who work in gardens and with plants include increasing their attention span, elevating their concentration skills, and providing gentle exercise which can increase their strength and muscle tone. Patients with dementia tend to feel safe in an enclosed garden area which lessens their anxiety.
Gardening also brings the community together. The Courtyard of Loveland has partnered with the Loveland Youth Gardeners. The Leaf Out interns visit The Courtyard Gardens all summer working together with our residents tending to our flower and vegetable gardens. Our residents enjoy their youthful energy and in turn the young volunteers learn to treasure our elders. The gardens at the Courtyard of Loveland Care Community offer our residents landscape beauty, the joy of nature, companionship, health benefits, and fresh garden to table food.
Posted By: Ashlee
As the human body ages, it will inevitably lose some level of the functionality and strength that it once had. But losing functionality does not mean that we cannot remain active. A variety of physical impairments will eventually affect all of us. It is important to remember, however, that the challenges of physical aging affect each person in different ways and in varying levels of intensity. In order to select appropriate activities for elderly it is important to be aware of the unique physical and sensory challenges they may have. Learning the specific physical, cognitive, and sensory needs of elderly individuals can help to better determine which activities are most suited for them. Some activities that individuals may enjoy include card games, movies, indoor picnics, sharing stories, board games, listening to music, and puzzles.
Engagement in meaningful activity is an important aspect of human existence, regardless of one’s cognitive abilities. Even in the later stages of dementia, people can still be engaged in activities at a level that allows them to be successful. In fact in these later stages, where cognitive abilities may be waning, the need for activity becomes greater, as cognitive stimulation helps preserve what skills remain intact. It is important not to stigmatize older individuals who are afflicted with mental dysfunction or disease. For older individuals who are affected by the challenges of declining brain function or dementia, simple activities are usually appropriate and appreciated. Sharing conversations, going for walks, or even singing songs can be helpful. Choose activities that allow them to use their cognitive abilities, but are not so complicated as to cause confusion or frustration.
Social isolation becomes a major concern for adults as they age and begin experiencing losses such as the death of spouses, family members, and friends, and loss of independence and social support. Providing these individuals with activities that engage them in their home or out in community, helps prevent such isolation from occurring. It is never too late to make friends and be involved. Whether individuals live at home or in a facility, are disabled, or have declining cognitive function, keeping older adults engaged is important. It allows them to remain active, meet new people, and continue doing the things they’ve always loved to do!