6 Ways to Celebrate and Embrace Aging During Active Aging Week
The thought of aging can be scary, especially during a global pandemic. The importance of health and wellbeing is relevant now more than ever. Assisted living and long-term care communities across the globe are putting forth an effort to help residents and staff maintain a happy, healthy lifestyle during these challenging times. Participating in Active Aging Week is a wonderful way to celebrate where we currently are in life, regardless of our circumstances or age. With a focus on overall wellness, it is an opportunity to have fun, improve physical health, reduce stress, connect with others, and maybe even learn something new.
What is Active Aging Week?
Active Aging Week (AAW) was formed in 2003 by the International Council of Active Aging as a weeklong campaign to celebrate and promote healthy aging. This year, AAW is being held October 4th through the 10th. Communities throughout the globe use this week as an opportunity to host activities and events that focus on the various dimensions of wellness – emotional, environmental, intellectual, physical, professional, social, and spiritual.
How Can I Participate?
Hosting an event or activity at your facility is a great way to get your team and residents involved. Broadcasting these events online is an easy, safe way to invite family members and your local community to participate.
If hosting your own event is not feasible, there are a number of online resources available. You can also check with other assisted living and long-term care communities in the area. Many fitness groups, libraries, local organizations, and businesses often offer opportunities to the public as well.
Types of activities:
- Getting Active
While there is no “secret to longevity”, experts recommend incorporating daily physical activity into a healthy lifestyle to achieve a long, fulfilling life. Group activities are a fun way to get your residents active. Low impact activities such as walking, yoga, and aerobics are great ways to get the body moving. Some organizations even host online classes giving people the opportunity to participate virtually.
- Support Groups
Aging can be an emotional process. Not only have residents had to move from their homes, but many also have experienced grief, memory loss, various health conditions, and other major lifestyle changes. Hosting a support group gives residents the opportunity to process what their going through, connect with others, and find healthy ways to navigate through their new circumstances.
- Educational Classes
No matter how old we are, we can always continue to learn and grow. Learning new things be exciting and fun, while also improving brain function and prevent cognitive decline. Try hosting various classes and workshops, such as dancing, cooking, gardening, and painting, that allow residents to improve their skills and gives them the opportunity to try something they’ve never done before.
- Meditation Workshops
While it may be a new concept for many, meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. Meditation clears the mind of daily stressors, lowers blood pressure, improves focus, and some studies have even shown it can enhance short and long-term memory. There is an abundance of online videos to play for guided meditations, but even closing your eyes and focusing on your breath for a few moments can be very effective.
Regardless of their background, each resident has a unique story to tell. Sharing these stories can help spark their memory while allowing them to reminisce about old times. It also gives them the opportunity to connect with other residents. If families and friends can participate, even better! It is a great reminder to everyone of all the wonderful things life has to offer.
- Goal Setting
After living a long, fulfilling life many seniors may think they’ve accomplished all they can, but it is important to encourage them to keep working towards something new. It brings a sense of purpose to each day, allowing them to grow, and reminding them they still have so much to live for. Taking the time to set attainable goals with each resident regularly will surely contribute to a happy, healthy life.
Getting older can be intimidating, especially during these uncertain times, but we are not defined by our age. Aging is inevitable and it is a beautiful thing that we should all embrace. Active Aging Week gives us an opportunity to celebrate how far we’ve come in life and encourages us to continue to evolve and improve, no matter how old we are. Take this week to get active, try new things, celebrate, have fun, and work towards a better tomorrow with your residents.