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Beyond the Basics: Why Community Programming Matters

senior community resident painting with a group
Image credit: belahoche/Adobe Stock

Most senior living facilities offer basic amenities like restaurant-style dining, housekeeping, laundry and linen service, nursing, medication management and maintenance to its residents. Some even have medical personnel on staff to attend to their physical health needs. But it’s the “community” aspect and the socially stimulating activities and entertainment of senior living communities that is essential for the mental health of their residents.

Now more than ever, feeling connected to a wider community matters. With the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 crisis in the United States, many of us are confined to our homes. Visitors are being turned away from many senior housing communities, and residents have limited ability to leave their facilities and see their loved ones. Seniors over the age of 65 are being asked to socially distance themselves. The senior population may be feeling extra-isolated and fearful about their health and safety right now.

Staying occupied and socially stimulated can significantly decrease the stress and loneliness seniors are feeling. A close-knit community with plenty of activities can offer your loved one a sense of belonging and purpose, which can ultimately improve both their mental and physical well-being.

What kinds of programs do senior living communities offer?

Community programming is important and should be carefully considered when deciding which senior living community is right for your loved one. Specific community programs vary from facility to facility, but here are some of the general programming categories that senior living communities often offer their residents.

During your search for an independent or assisted living facility, you may wish to ask your senior living placement agency if they can recommend communities with some or all of the following programs. Keep in mind that some regular programs may be adjusted for the foreseeable future to encourage social distancing and decrease potential exposure to coronavirus.

Art programs

Whether your loved one enjoys singing, painting, doing ceramics, writing, building floral arrangements, making jewelry, quilting, or going out to experience the arts through day trips to museums, art programs help seniors get in touch with their creative side.

Fitness programs

Fitness programs focus on the mind and body and can improve flexibility, joint health, and brain function. Some fitness programs may include yoga, walking groups, strength training, and aerobics.

Food programs

Some seniors may find that they’d like to attend a cooking class or take trips out to fine dining establishments with friends -- all of which can be arranged by many senior centers. Cooking classes are typically small and may be hosted by a chef who teaches seniors how to prepare healthy yet delicious meals.

Volunteering programs

Volunteering helps seniors feel good and like they are making a difference in the world. A popular volunteering activity in senior communities is knitting for a cause, where seniors knit shawls, blankets, hats, and scarves that are then sold to raise money for charities.

Spiritual/religious programs

Senior resident communities work with nearby places of worship to coordinate senior visits to and from mass, bible study groups, religious discussions, religious concerts, and more. They may even bring in a religious official to hold worship services on-site.

Gardening programs

Seniors who have an interest in gardening may find themselves enjoying learning about gardening and planting fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs at their facility’s community garden. Many seniors find joy in being able to share what they’ve grown with their peers.

Technology programs

Oftentimes seniors find that they struggle to use technology but would like to learn it so that they can better connect with their children and grandchildren. Technology programs offer lessons on everything from basic computer programming to how to set up and utilize social media pages like Facebook.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and you may find communities with unique programs that truly speak to your loved one’s interests and passions. Some communities will even create new programs requested by its residents. It never hurts to ask!

Looking for a trusted senior placement services agency or have questions about community programming? Contact Welcome Home Senior Services and Placement Co. today for assistance. We are proud to represent more than 500 senior living communities in Miami-Dade, Broward, the Palm Beaches, the Florida Keys, and Lee and Collier Counties.



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