So many seniors today find a great deal of joy in residing in an assisted living home. Many of these homes and communities are able to offer their senior residents all of the care and amenities that they need in order to live a fun, engaging and safe life among their peers. However, even though most seniors truly love their homes in assisted living, it is important that they are still able to go on outings with friends, family members and loved ones.
While most assisted living communities have plenty of exciting outings planned for their residents to do as a community, there is something very special about planning outings with family and friends only. This can be a great way to lift a senior's spirits and to give families plenty of quality time together. Before planning one of these outings, it may be a good idea to choose a time when the senior doesn't already have an outing with their community, this way they don't need to feel like they are missing out or as if they are not staying included in community events.
This is a great way to make sure that seniors don't start to develop feelings of loneliness or isolation, or feel as though their loved ones have abandoned them. Even seniors who truly enjoy their time in assisted living can feel abandoned when their friends and family members don't visit and take them on outings enough. Unfortunately issues with isolation and depression are increasingly common in the senior community, and planned family outings are a great way to help combat these growing feelings among seniors.
Choosing the Right Activity
The right activity can make or break any senior outing. While different seniors will ultimately enjoy different types of experiences, it is important to choose something that will not only be enjoyable for the whole family, but that won't overwhelm or exhaust the senior. While the family may love hiking, not all seniors in assisted living communities will be able to safely participate in a hiking adventure.
Keep the senior included in the planning process when choosing an outing activity. After all, this will undoubtedly be a big highlight of their week, month or year, so keeping them involved is always a great idea. Here are just a few types of activities that seniors can enjoy during a day out of their community:
- Visiting museums, libraries and tourist attractions in their home town or nearby towns.
- Going on historical tours and visiting historic sites. Many of these historic tours are even done on Segways or buses, meaning seniors won't have to do too much walking.
- A day outdoors. Planning an outdoor trip doesn't have to include white water rafting or overnight camping. Let the senior enjoy the great outdoors with a picnic in the park or a stroll around the local botanical garden.
- Attending special events or festivals. Whether it is an art show, craft fair, farmers market or parade, when there is a special event in town, most seniors will want to get out and see the action.
- Take a class or do a workshop. No one is ever too old to learn a new skill. Whether it is a senior-friendly yoga class or a painting workshop, there are plenty of activities to choose from.
- A leisurely entertainment activity. From movies and plays to concerts and sporting events, many times there is nothing better for seniors than sitting back, relaxing and being entertained.
Along with the right activity, it is important to include the right individuals in the fun. While including the entire family is always a great way for seniors to enjoy some familial bonding, inviting too many people can be overwhelming and take the attention away from the senior. Try to limit the number of friends, acquaintances and distant relatives on the outing so it doesn't become too much of a spectacle for the senior.
Senior outings can be a wonderful experience for elderly individuals and their loved ones. However, in order to make sure it is a positive and memorable experience, it is important that the individuals planning these excursions take their time to plan ahead for their trip. The first and most important element of effective planning is to make sure there is more than enough time scheduled for the event.
When seniors feel rushed or as if they are being hurried during their outing, it can only make them feel like they are being a burden. It generally takes seniors more time to get around than younger adults, so extra time should be added into the plan to ensure the senior never feels rushed on this special day.
Before family members arrive to pick up their senior, they will also want to make certain the senior is dressed appropriately for the outing. Comfortable walking shoes with strong traction should be worn whenever there is an event with even minimal walking. The more comfortable and mobile seniors are the better. Encourage seniors to dress in layers so they can add or remove clothing as needed throughout the day. Most older adults are more susceptible to heat and cold than others, so having options is always smart during a day-long outing.
Finally, the family should keep their loved one's normal routine in mind. Many seniors, especially those dealing with dementia and Alzheimer's, thrive when they are able to stay on schedule. This means planning activities around the senior's normal eating schedule and around their nap schedule, if they do rest during the day. Seniors should try to wake up, eat and go to bed around the same time before and during their outing to help them stay refreshed and focused during their time away.
Working together with the assisted living community regarding the senior's schedule, is the best way to make certain that the day is planned in a way that meets their needs and plays to their advantages. Setting seniors up for success when tackling big outings outside of their community is the best way to make certain it is an enjoyable experience for all parties involved.