When someone you love moves to assisted living, it can be more important than ever to savor your time together. At the same time, family members and friends sometimes aren’t sure how to make that happen. Here are some ideas for making the most of every moment when visiting a special senior, presented by John J. Byrne Community Center.

Fit and Fun

 Many people think older adults should avoid physical activity, but as eLivingtoday explains, seniors can benefit from being mentally and physically fit. It’s an opportunity to boost strength, flexibility, and balance so your loved one can remain more self-sufficient. It also can reduce blood pressure, boost immunity, and lower rates of depression and anxiety. Unless your senior is unwell or medically restricted, why not plan some fun, fitness-oriented activities together? 

Often senior living facilities have programs you can encourage your loved one to enjoy, or you can suggest some alternatives. You can go for a stroll in the park or do some chair yoga. If your senior has a Medicare Advantage plan, check whether she’s eligible for Silver Sneakers. Silver Sneakers is a senior-oriented fitness program that provides access to over 13,000 wellness centers nationwide. It’s a great way to get out and about together, and the various fitness facilities have senior-friendly equipment and classes which can be fun and healthy.

 Naturally Beneficial

 We often think of sunshine and fresh air as giving a health boost, with good reason. According to Aging in Stride, seniors can reap essential benefits from spending time in nature. Getting into the great outdoors can help seniors be more active, engaged, and energetic. It can lift their mood, help improve memory, and even extend life. With all that in mind, plan some fun outdoor activities you can do together. Make a picnic, do some container gardening, or go bird watching. The time savoring nature and the time spent together will be a boon to you!

Now That’s Entertainment

 Watching movies offers the chance to disengage from life, experience various thoughts and emotions, and learn about other people, cultures, and ideas. With that in mind, consider streaming a well-loved film the older generation can appreciate, like Out of Africa or Driving Miss Daisy. Or head to a local cinema to take in something contemporary. Many movie chains offer senior discounts, so it’s an inexpensive way to have a great time together. 

Brain Teasers for a Boost

 Crosswords are often associated with stretching minds, and those mental gymnastics are especially helpful to older adults. Doing crosswords can help ward off Alzheimer’s and dementia issues, keeping older minds more nimble and stimulating healthier processing. It’s also a great way to combat stress and distract minds from troubling thoughts. To make it even more compelling, consider solving crosswords as a team. You can amp up the benefits by doing them together, building collaboration, and bonding with your loved one.

Puzzles of Another Sort

 When was the last time you pieced together a jigsaw puzzle? Puzzles are not only fun; they appear to provide a terrific workout for the brain. When you and your loved one work on a puzzle, both sides of the brain come into play, switching back and forth as your mind sorts information. Because of this, jigsaw puzzles can improve logic, reasoning, and memory, keeping the mind more agile and fit as you analyze shapes, images, and spaces.  

 On top of all that, it’s a chance to involve others in your loved one’s social circle. You’ll not only piece together a puzzle; you’ll piece together special memories for everyone involved. 

 When It’s Time for a Change

When you visit your loved one in assisted living, it’s essential to keep an eye on their health and the level of care. If you find their current accommodations and care are lacking, it may be time to relocate them to an assisted living facility that can better meet their needs. Many websites list amenities and offer detailed reports on hundreds of Brooklyn-area assisted living facilities so you can make the right choice for your senior loved one. 

 There are some beautiful ways to pass the time when you and your seniors connect. Think about what will be fun and stimulating, both mentally and physically. You can get out and about or stay in, but it’s a chance to spend precious time together.

The John J. Byrne Community Center provides quality programs for children, youth, and families in Uniondale and the surrounding neighborhoods. Please look around the site to learn about our services and how you can donate.

[Image courtesy of Pixabay]