It's an unfortunate myth that older people do not need social and intellectual stimulation. Often the elderly are isolated -- either physically in their homes, or by infirmities -- and lack challenging psychosocial activities in which to engage. Not only does this leave them bored and unfulfilled, but it also places seniors at risk for losing the mental capabilities they do have from lack of use. Luckily, many activities exist for you to do with the elderly for their continued psychosocial development.
Music and Dancing
Listening to music, especially classical, may have a positive impact on the elderly. If classical is not to the taste of your elderly group, new age or another similarly relaxing type is appropriate. Of course, if you want to rock to the swinging sixties, there's nothing wrong with that either. Singing karaoke style is another helpful idea. If you have enough volunteers, you can even dance with your group, although this may involve little more than wiggling in place, as some seniors have limited mobility.
If your seniors have enough mental capacity, try discussing current events with them. Get a copy of the newspaper and read articles aloud; then talk with them and ask questions on various reports. Consider starting a newsletter for your local senior centre, and ask the residents to get involved. They can conduct or submit to interviews, post notices and generally comment on the comings and goings of the facility.
Puzzles and Games
Puzzles and games are another fitting way to attend to the psychosocial development of elders. Supply them with crossword puzzles, word searches or other mentally challenging items. Certain seniors, however, may need your help with these activities: their mental abilities may be fading, or they might have problems with eyesight or holding writing implements.
Arts and crafts is another activity that seniors can do in social settings -- and one that gets their brains going as well. Watercolour painting, needlework and colouring will give them hours of pleasure and mental stimulation. Be sure to pick projects that are in line with the physical abilities of your seniors.
Although putting on a full-stage play production may be beyond the limits of some seniors, reading plays aloud can be just as enjoyable. Classics such as Shakespeare or more modern works will allow the elderly to enjoy drama without the limitations of physical handicaps.
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