Picture this – a husband and wife who can no longer communicate due to dementia begin individually swaying to music, unaware of each other’s presence. Within minutes, the gentleman is leading his wife in a dance and they joyfully move together in a sweet reunion of sorts. It’s a beautiful and true moment – one that captures the ability of expressive therapies to connect with our patients on levels not always possible.
Our residential communities at Hebrew SeniorLife are filled with people living diverse lifestyles who requiring varying levels of support in their lives. I frequently witness active, healthy seniors, who are busy with social engagements and enjoying new interests. They are often experiencing a more carefree lifestyle without the responsibilities of home ownership. I observe others who are benefitting more from the support of health and wellness programs, while managing chronic diseases with regular physician visits. Some face more serious medical issues, requiring round-the-clock care that they receive in a stimulating and supportive environment.
Research shows that creativity can help reduce stress and improve physical functioning. As we age, it’s important to explore new activities and ways to express ourselves. While it can be tempting to get stuck in a routine rut, seniors can benefit from fostering a creative mind with new experiences and ideas. From art and music to creative writing, there are endless options.
Many seniors in our communities thrive when introduced to new creative opportunities, such as art classes or performing in a choral group. Sometimes, they are trying these things for the first time. Often, they are renewing old passions. Either way, the experiences are fulfilling and enjoyable. Here are some ways to find the perfect activities for the creative mind.
As children, we often have fond memories of the winter months. Remember eagerly waiting for that first snow? How about enjoying sledding or joyfully making snow angels when it finally arrived? Or hoping for a storm big enough to close school? As adults and seniors, the once beloved winter often transforms into inconvenience and isolation.
It’s important, however, to stay active and engaged when the temperatures dip. There’s fun to be had, if you have the right attitude. Don’t hibernate, but instead, look for new ventures to engage your inner child.
This blog is part of a year-long series aimed at addressing some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from family and adult children on the topics most concerning them regarding their aging parents or loved one. In 2012 Hebrew SeniorLife published the eBook "You & Your Aging Parent: A Family Approach to Lifelong Health, Wellness & Care," a compilation of answers from HSL geriatric experts in response to the many of the most frequently asked questions. We're reposting some of the most popular Q&A posts from our original eBook which was downloaded over 2,000 times. We're also adding new Q&As throughout the series that address topics not originally included in our eBook.
I want to lose weight. I want to be healthier. I want to get in shape. As Orchard Cove’s Vitalize360 Coach, I often hear these goals, especially as the New Year approaches. And while made with positive intentions, they are sometimes flawed in their vagueness.
In several of our evidence-based programs at Hebrew SeniorLife, we use a goal planning system known as SMART, meaning that goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time specific.
Anyone who knows me, is certainly aware that I have very strong feelings about how we should deliver health care – especially to older patients. That’s why I’m so proud that I’m part of an effort to expand geriatric health care access to Hebrew SeniorLife’s primary care medical services to more and more seniors both within and beyond the walls of HSL’s senior housing communities. In October, we held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially announce the opening of Hebrew SeniorLife Medical Group located in the Sloane Family/Century Bank Primary & Specialty Care Center in Brookline. For the first time any senior who wishes to can take advantage of our specialized services.
My connection to Hebrew SeniorLife extends beyond my residency at NewBridge on the Charles, a senior community of Hebrew SeniorLife. As a former Hebrew SeniorLife Board Chair, the concept of ReAge is near and dear to my heart. ReAge is best realized when community members are able to support the concept and the organization as a whole. ReAge thrives because members of the Hebrew SeniorLife community, both residents and supporters, are sending a message about how we look at aging and how we adapt to the changing needs of our community. The work at Hebrew SeniorLife benefits everyone.
The senior years can be the best years of an individual’s life. I see evidence of this truth every day in our senior housing communities. It’s all about embracing what is still possible from forging new relationships, to learning new skills, to simply enjoying interests that may have taken a back burner earlier in life. In my role as executive director at Orchard Cove, I support our residents to renew, reinvent and rediscover their interests while living a life reflective of an engaging and healthy lifestyle. It’s important at any stage to set, and plan a course to achieving one’s goals.
Volunteerism among seniors is on the rise. A report released by the Administration on Aging noted that the number of volunteers age 65+ increased by 1.4 million people in a seven year span. There are many good reasons behind the jump. Older adults today are on average better off than those in the past. Their better financial standing and higher levels of education may be playing a role in their willingness to serve the community.