Engaging in meaningful activities and staying social are vitally important for the well-being of all of us, at any age. It can provide us with goals, new skills and give us a reason to enjoy each and every day to the fullest.
At Melrose Care Home, that’s what we’re all about: providing a home where our residents can live how they want, pursuing the things they are interested in and spending their days doing what they want to do.
We are not here to tell anyone how they should spend their time. We simply try and facilitate each individual’s needs and wants as best as we possibly can. This includes consulting all our residents and asking them which activities and entertainment they want to see as part of our monthly calendars. It also involves ensuring that we provide the food they want to eat and even run workshops about their favourite meals.
Why are social activities good for the elderly?
While solo pursuits are, of course, a very important part of life at Melrose – just as they are with life in general – in this article, we are going to pay particular attention to social activities for the elderly.
The reason for this is that, while keeping up hobbies and interests is important at any age, a lack of social activities is something that disproportionately affects elderly people to a worrying extent.
We are, after all, social creatures and social activities are important for all of us, but few people are aware of the scale of the loneliness problem among the elderly community. It is estimated by Age UK that 1.9 million older people feel ignored or invisible, and research shows that loneliness can be as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Not only that but people with high degrees of loneliness are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
When we talk about the importance of social activity and the problems associated with loneliness, we are not simply talking about people feeling bored or wanting some company. We are also talking about a subject that has such a huge emotional toll which is actually dangerous to its sufferer’s health.
A lack of social activities may not be viewed as a public health issue by as many as it should, but the evidence of its importance is clear to see.
Social activities are a vital part of combatting loneliness. They allow people to form new friendships and interests, and to improve their mental and, in the case of many social activities, physical health. If you want to understand the benefits of social activities for the elderly, all you need to do is consider how much damage is caused when a person does not have access to ways to socialise, as we can see by the millions of elderly people who feel left out.
What are good social activities for the elderly?
Well, the great thing about social activities is that, as long as they can include a few people all enjoying themselves, they can be pretty much whatever you want them to be. With so many options available – from the physically to the mentally stimulating – there is always some meaningful activities that our residents will want to enjoy together. While this is group focused, this is another area where our individually focused approach to care helps greatly.
Getting to know what our residents enjoy and are interested in, along with good communication, really helps get a foundation for planning social activities at Melrose Care Home. Of course, the kind of activities we provide in general is something that is always an ongoing process. That’s because people like different things and their interests can change as time goes. That’s why we make sure to adjust accordingly to provide the best possible experiences.
Just a few quick examples of the types of social activities available at Melrose include quizzes, musical sessions, flower arranging, weekly choir practise, various days out, exercise classes and game afternoons. The sky really is the limit and the kind of social activities our residents partake in, just as with all the activities at Melrose, are down to them.
We’ve created guides to overcoming loneliness as you or your loved ones get older, with various pieces of advice about how you can help yourself and others.