Loneliness is a big problem for elderly people. As their friends or spouses die and their children and grandchildren become overwhelmed with busy schedules, older people can lose connections to others. Facilitators at assisted living communities can go a long way toward helping to solve this problem by planning social activities for their residents so that they can develop friendships and make new connections with other people.
A book club is a fantastic activity that assisted living communities can offer residents. They can help keep the mind sharp, encourage conversation with others, and are accessible even to those with low mobility. Each month, the facility can choose a book for the group, or group members can vote. Facilitators should be careful to get to know the group dynamic when choosing books. Some groups might enjoy topics that could generate debates, like politics or history, while others might enjoy storylines that wouldn't stir up emotions.
Exercise is important for senior citizens so that they can retain or improve their balance and maintain bone and muscle strength. Falls are very common -- and dangerous -- in this age group, and exercise helps prevent them. Exercise groups are wonderful in assisted living communities because even residents with low mobility can participate in exercise groups, as long as the exercises can be done while participants are sitting.
There's nothing more exciting than a movie night with friends. Build anticipation for the film by advertising the choice a week ahead of time. Pop popcorn and provide fun snacks, and invite residents to enjoy a weekly movie night with others. Current films are fun to show, but residents also might prefer films they remember from their youth. Choose the films based on the desires of residents. To keep the fun going, consider hosting a discussion group the day after the film is shown to get residents talking and building relationships.
Not every social activity in an assisted living facility has to involve sitting down. During mild weather months, host a weekly walking club. Getting outside in the fresh air with other people can improve mood and encourage interaction between residents. To keep walking club members from getting bored, consider changing the route on occasion or taking the residents off-site to a walking path with easy terrain.
A weekly game night is often recommended for family bonding, and it can help forge connections between residents at an assisted living facility as well. Make it fun by providing an assortment of board games and a few decks of cards, play soft music so it won't interfere with conversation, and provide healthy snacks. Residents will be making friends in no time.