With each passing day, it seems like there’s more news about the benefits of keeping a mind active and engaged with others and the local community. For the elderly, it’s even more important, as activities can stimulate the mind and help avoid the onset of dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other degenerative diseases. Even if a family member has already been diagnosed as such, science tells us that keeping active while stimulating the mind is one of the best defenses against further cognitive decline.
And if you can’t be there in person to help out, most elderly family members will benefit from group activities for adults with intellectual disabilities. In fact, day program activities for adults with developmental disabilities are a frequent occurrence at adult day care, and the activities are designed to get the most participation and interaction from everyone involved. That’s better than periodic interactions with family and friends, which is often far too infrequent to make much of a real difference in the long run.
Indeed, adult day care activities are possible every day of the week at most care centers, and that can be a practical way to get the most out of your loved one’s day. Here are some fun and engaging adult day care activities that they can look forward to.
While it may not seem like much, games are an ideal way to stimulate the mind and activity level of seniors. At an adult day care, these activities may be adapted with simplified instructions and larger print, which makes them ideally suited to the needs of the elderly. After all, games bring people together, encourage them to think critically and interact with others, all of which helps improve cognition and increase engagement. Some games may be card-based, such as Uno, Gin Rummy or Go Fish, while others may be tabletop staples, such as checkers, dominos or bingo.
If you’ve ever been amazed at how easy it is to remember verse after verse of songs you haven’t heard in years, you’ll know why music is a great idea for activities at adult day care. All it takes is a phone or computer — or, better yet a record or tape player — to get started, but the best kind of adult day care activities for music involve sing-alongs or individual or group performances. Once the music starts, it’s amazing to see everyone’s eyes light up and the words come to mind, even with significant cognitive impairment. Not only does music help lift the mood, but it can also help interaction and socialization.
Your loved one has likely spent a lifetime cooking and enjoying a full kitchen with all the commotion and intrigue that’s associated with cooking. But did you know that cooking is actually a great adult day care activity? Even if a loved one doesn’t enjoy or know how to cook, they can still sample the food, participate in discussion or learn to cook themselves with cooking opportunities on the premises. Facilities and communities already have kitchens that are used to prepare meals for residents, and working with recipes can be a collaborative and fun learning experience for everyone.
Arts and Crafts
Arts and craft time may sound reminiscent of grade school, but that’s what makes it one of those ideal adult day care activities. It’s easy to get started with whatever might be lying around — be it paper, crayons or other items — but the best communities will have plenty of opportunities for your loved one to express themselves. Painting, collage, ceramics, potting plants, flower arranging and simple jewelry making are but a few staples, and they can all give purpose to someone that may otherwise spend their days watching TV. For those that may have difficulty creating, they may find it best to engage in sorting and other, more simple activities.
It’s true that most people don’t get the requisite amount of exercise each day, especially as we get older. Sure, it’s easy to get exercise when you’re younger, playing sports and spending time outside with friends, but most of us lose that as we enter adulthood. But at an adult day care, these activities can come to life in the form of bocce ball or croquet. Furthermore, yoga and Tai Chi can help increase balance and stamina, and so can dancing, stretching and other activities. Even some video games with a movement component can be ideal, such as VR and other tech. For those with limited mobility, chair exercises or balloon volleyball can be an option.
Not only is a daily walk a great way to get exercise and stimulate the body, the fresh air can help stimulate the mind, too. And when your loved one goes on a walk with friends, that means more social interaction and an increase in mood. Beyond the daily walk, adult day care activities also provide an opportunity to see more of the local community.