Many of us, regardless of age, have the same goal each year: to be more “active.” Though often referring to physical activity, being “active” isn’t just about exercise. An “active” lifestyle may also include activities like volunteering, painting, or even meeting up regularly with friends for happy hour.
Everyone can benefit from an active lifestyle. For older adults, though, active senior living can do wonders for each of the five dimensions of wellness which are key to a healthy and well-rounded life – physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual.
For example, studies show that seniors over age 74 experience the largest relative gains in survival and healthy life from physical activity. But those activities that focus on the other dimensions of wellness can be just as beneficial.
Here are four of the most life-changing benefits of active senior living.
Increased life expectancy
The guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend that older adults engage in at least “150 minutes of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes of vigorous, aerobic physical activity per week.” Because studies show an overall lower risk of mortality and a significant decrease in functional abilities of adults who are physically active (versus those who are sedentary), every effort should be made for seniors to get moving.
Active senior living activities that might be suitable include, taking walks as tolerated, chair exercises, slow stretching, and flexibility exercises. Or consider outdoor hobbies such as gardening, fishing or birdwatching.
Even if you are limited in your mobility, staying active with puzzles, card games, crafting, knitting, writing, reading, and music can make your golden years some of the best.
Alzheimer’s experts have found a connection between lifelong readers and dementia. Those who show a lifelong practice of reading and writing experienced 14% less decline in their mental capacity at the end of their lives versus those who did not engage in such activities. Even if you don’t start sharpening your brain until late, however, doing “brain exercises” can help build brain cells and preserve the precious connections between them. Incorporating mental exercises into an active senior living routine is not only a maintenance task; it can improve function at the cellular level.
That brings us to one of the best parts of growing older: friendships. With 70 to 80 years of connections, it can be hard to see how anyone in their old age could be lonely. The truth is that it can take a bit of work to nurture those relationships, especially if we move or change activities in those later years. Finding an active senior living community that puts people first is a crucial first step in ensuring you never have to be alone.
Whether you join a club, show up for an activity that attracts curious and congenial participants, or seek out new faces at a place of worship, the act of extending a handshake won’t go unrewarded. Social activities are among the most valued in the senior years, as these can sustain through even the most challenging obstacles of aging.
Peace of mind
Finally, being at peace is something we all want to say we achieved in life. There’s no better time to find spiritual fulfillment than as an older adult. Whether you choose to worship, pray, meditate, or simply reflect on the deep philosophical connections we have with the world around us, the benefits include a deeper sense of purpose at a time that can be difficult for some seniors.
Nightingale Healthcare is a privately held, family-owned healthcare management company located in picturesque Bellingham, Washington. Founded in 2014, it has been our mission to serve the communities in which we are located with superior skilled nursing and assisted living services. Our patient-centered approach to care incorporates individualized care plans alongside an unmatched level of compassion, patience, and love.
We proudly operate nursing communities throughout Washington and Oregon. For more information about our nursing communities and the services we provide, please visit our website or contact Nightingale Healthcare directly at 360-656-6609.