Staying connected and engaged with others is an important part of growing older. Not only is this important for older adults’ psychological and emotional well being but also it is important for their physical health. Older adults who socialize with friends and stay connected to family members are in better physical health than those who report social isolation. Sometimes older adulthood can be a lonely time, leaving people feeling sad and depressed. If you’re a senior, read below for a few ideas on how to stay engaged as you age.
If you’re home bound and don’t have many visitors, consider adopting a pet. There are many shelters where you can take a pet home for free. Surely, you will feel the benefits of being a pet owner every day. If you want to learn about the joys of being a pet owner, contact your local animal shelter. They will have all of the necessary information about the steps to becoming a pet owner. They might even allow you to call recent customers who have adopted pets and learn about their experiences.
Some ways to connect with people are through jobs, volunteer opportunities, and continuing education. Part-time jobs and volunteer opportunities are available in most towns and all cities. Many older adults seek out work with children or the elderly. Opportunities can include reading aloud to hospital patients, accompanying children/seniors on outings, and facilitating games with children. If working and volunteering are not up your alley, consider continuing your education. Local colleges and adult enrichment programs often offer courses in creative writing, literature, woodworking, knitting, and others that are open to the public.
Local senior centers or coalition on aging councils are a great way to get out of the house and meet others. Many towns and cities have senior centers, some even with transportation available, so that older adults can come together, play games, exercise, eat lunch, attend information sessions on health and more. The directors of these centers are often well-versed in outreach programs for seniors and keep their center bustling with engaging activities.
At Doolittle Home, there is an activity to engage the residents everyday, thanks to Roz Champagne, Activities Director.
Roz is adored by the residents. Starting as a volunteer in 2001 before being employed as a Dietary Aide for Doolittle Home, a natural fit was realized when the Director of Activities position became open in January 2004. Roz spends the morning in the nursing unit, followed by various activities, such as a morning stretch program, music appreciation, puzzles, games, poetry, and current events. In the afternoon, Roz can be found in the main house, entertaining the residents with bingo, spelling bees, trivia, amongst other enjoyable activities. Roz books all the entertainment for Doolittle Home with visitors ranging from Crossroads Children Center singing their little hearts out for residents to various community groups and musicians. Doolittle Home’s van provides transportation for trips within the region for out of the home services, such as doctor and dentist appointments, local shopping, and trips to Norton Public Library. Roz is coordinator of Doolittle Home’s volunteer program. Volunteer activities include therapy dog visits, a woman’s discussion group, poetry hour, card making and crafts, as well as a one-on-one program, where volunteers are paired with residents. On Wednesdays each week, bowling is a featured activity, with the mornings focusing on competition and afternoons featuring an assisted bowling program designed for those needing extra care from Doolittle Home’s physical therapist, Marge Howard. Roz is a native North Attleboro resident with 8 children, 14 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren and one very tired husband. Roz always brings her sense of humor and passion for helping others