By now, most of us are aware that there are many differences between an assisted living facility and a nursing home. In general, those who opt to move into an assisted living facility need some support with personal care and some housekeeping tasks, they may benefit from visits with registered nurses and local doctors paying a professional visit, but they do not require round the clock care.
There are many reasons that seniors opt to move into an assisted living facility, and they include:
- Excellent options for nutritional health
- Preventing isolation and loneliness
- Enabling them to enjoy far easier housekeeping
- The option for support with personal care and other needs right on the premises
One of the main reasons that are often overlooked is that so many of the options for an assisted living facility also include opportunities for life enrichment.
While isolation and loneliness put most humans (of any age) at risk for depression, high blood pressure, and other issues, there is more to the story of life enrichment. Physical activity, emotional and spiritual needs, and even creative outlets must all remain in top condition throughout life, and the best assisted living facilities provide a wide range of engaging and appropriate activities to boost the quality of life.
The Best Activities
As a report from US News and World Report said, “Finding and engaging in appropriate activities for seniors – and these can run the gamut from hobbies and physical exercise to social events and outings – is a major component of a high quality of life for older adults in assisted living facilities.” The same report goes on to emphasize that these activities will help to offset any loneliness and isolation, ensuring good health into later years.
Yes, it is true that registered nurses can come to a loved one’s home once or twice weekly, and professionals in personal care can make daily appearances, but this is not the same as engaging with peers socially and being active mentally and physically. And it goes beyond “just moving into a new community with other people around the same age.”
As one expert said of this matter, there must be “ways for these people to connect, interact and get to know one another that are fun, stimulating and provide a means of fostering that very important social connection.” And this is what the activities that the finer assisted living facilities offer.
The Right Activities
So, what is the right type of activity to ensure people have fun, make new connections, and enjoy mental and physical stimulation? That is going to vary from person to person, but most communities have a diverse range of opportunities. Naturally, asking your loved one what suits their needs best is a good idea.
Some of the most commonly scheduled enrichment activities include cultural activities with the group (i.e. a museum visit or a presentation and program), educational programs, holiday celebrations, therapeutic experiences with music or art (and even with visiting pets), courses in fun and tactile things like cooking, and playing games of all kinds as a group or in pairs.
An article from CBS News indicated that the best programs will also target specific goals, including:
- Improving balance – This helps to prevent falls, and involves seated exercises that strengthen the limbs while ensuring that seniors can stand without using their hands (if possible).
- Building strength – From core muscles to limbs, it is important to have strength as it helps protect the bones as well as ensures self-sufficiency.
- Improving aerobic health – The experts say we should all do cardio and strength training, and so seniors should keep their hearts healthy with senior-oriented aerobics classes.
- Improving flexibility – Having mobility means being capable of moving easily, and many assisted living facilities even have yoga in addition to basic stretching work.
The benefits that come from opting for an assisted living facility include access to personal care and custom services, visits from registered nurses and other medical experts, and the end to any sense of isolation a senior may experience. However, personal care also means physical, mental and spiritual care, and this is what life enrichment activities in a premium assisted living facility offers. Heidi’s Haven in Leesburg, FL creates the kind of stimulating, welcoming and home-like atmosphere that anyone would enjoy, and residents are provided with activities each day and always something to look forward to when they wake up in the morning.