I’ve been trying to come up with a new slogan for area senior centers. So far I’ve come up with Senior Centers: come for the free food, stay for the crafts! or Senior Centers: It’s WAY more than BINGO!
But seriously, senior centers offer independence for aging adults. They play a very important role in the lives of elders today by encouraging them to become and remain social.
Socializing can help seniors with depression, dementia, or alzheimers. I know, you will say, Mom or Dad will not go to a senior center. Then make it easy for them. Go along with your parent for the day. Make it an outing and then take them to lunch. In most communities any aging adult who is 60 years old or older can join a senior center. You can also see the things that a senior center has to offer that Mom or Dad might be interested in or enjoy. Knowing that your parent is at a center, or on an escorted day-trip can reduce the stress and anxiety you may have about your parents sitting home watching television all day or being alone. The main thing is to get them out and about.
Senior centers allow elders to develop a social network by making and meeting new friends. Senior centers offer programs and services like crafts, bingo, fitness, dances classes, travel to museums, computer classes, health screenings, informational speakers, daily meals, birthday luncheons to celebrate each member’s birthday and much more. Many senior centers also offer outings to do things such as live performances, fall foliage tours, and tours of Newport Mansions. Your loved one gets out of house, has an opportunity to socialize, while getting some light exercise and enjoying a good meal with great friends. Each senior center usually publishes a monthly calendar with a schedule of daily activities or programs.
To get your elder started, sign them up at your local center and tell them that they do not need to go everyday. They can start once a week, playing bingo, let’s say. This way they will not feel pressured. You will see that before you know it, Mom and/or Dad will be visiting the senior center on a daily basis. Suddenly catching up on their favorite television program may not be a priority anymore. (But hey, that’s what TiVo is for!)
So what if your parent/loved suffers from Alzheimers/Dementia and is too far gone to meaningfully participate at a Senior Center? Why not explore Adult Day options? These programs offer the socialization that some say is vital to keeping the disease at bay while also providing a safe, secure environment, specifically catered to your parent’s needs.
Thank you to Senior Living for contributing material for this blog.