Beyond Bingo: Activities at Senior Centers Today
Last Updated: April 4, 2019
“If my mother moves to a senior living community, she will be cared for, safe and well-fed, but those facts alone do not mean she will be happy.” These are common thoughts for caregivers to have if they are considering senior care for a loved one.
Learn more about the activities at senior centers that allow seniors to be happy and healthy today.
Activities at Senior Centers Today
People have the same basic needs as at any age — the need to explore, have fun, learn and live life to its fullest. That’s why the importance of activities at senior centers — particularly in assisted living and independent living — cannot be exaggerated.
Senior centers today, recognizing that residents’ abilities and tastes vary, try to offer something for everyone and allow residents to choose from an array of enriching activities.
A Place for Mom spoke with a few of our partner communities to learn more about the activities their residents enjoy:
1. Classes and workshops.
Lifelong learning opportunities are a crucial ingredient in a great senior activities program. MacKenzie Place in Fort Collins, Colorado offers painting and sign language classes to their residents. Book clubs, computer classes, foreign language classes and writing workshops are also a hit at many senior centers.
Dancing remains ever popular at senior communities and are a daily event for most. Assisted living and independent living residents often enjoy ballroom dancing, line dancing, swing dancing and more. Dancing is not only fun, but it keeps residents fit. Not to mention, it’s also an excellent social opportunity.
Entertainment is a mainstay of most senior centers. If a Frank Sinatra impersonator isn’t up your alley, try a luau with a fire thower and Hawaiian dancers, an event offered at the Peaks at Santa Rita in Green Valley, Arizona. Other live entertainment frequently offered by senior communities includes drama groups, standup comedy and visiting choirs. If dance and song isn’t your thing, MacKenzie Place even recently hosted a pedigree dog show for their residents.
4. Field trips.
Senior communities frequently host field trips to concerts, museums, sports games and shows. Recently, during a sports-themed week, residents at Meadow Lark Estates in Kansas not only toured the University of Kansas Football Stadium but they were also treated to a “Football 101” course from a University of Kansas football coach, teaching them the nuances of the game to will help them more fully appreciate the sport as spectators.
Fitness at senior centers today involves a lot more than “the morning stretch.” Tai Chi and Yoga are now some of the most popular gentle senior fitness classes across the country. Residents at MacKenzie Place even enjoy Zumba. Today’s senior communities strive to make fitness fun (and dignified) in order to encourage residents to view exercise as a pleasure.
There’s no such thing as bad singing if it comes from the heart. Singing is great for the soul. Many senior communities stage their own “American Idol” type competitions, but even old-fashioned karaoke is a blast. The activities director at Peaks at Santa Rita in Green Valley, Arizona, says that her residents, “love karaoke.”
7. Outdoor excursions.
People of all ages need opportunities to breathe fresh clean air, immerse themselves in nature — smell a wildflower or walk among the trees. Senior communities recognize this and offer frequent outdoor excursions. For example, residents at the Peaks at Santa Rita enjoy weekly picnics at Lake Patagonia, Madera Canyon and even Mount Lemmon.
8. Special events.
Often events are holiday themed, but no special occasion is needed. MacKenzie Place recently held a carnival for residents with a bouncy castle, cotton candy and dunk tanks. Edgewood Point in Beaverton, Oregon, held a classic car show for their residents last month.
9. Virtual bowling.
A video game system made by Nintendo, the Wii allows you to interact with the game by moving your body rather than manipulating a joystick. It may sound tricky, but senior community residents will tell you otherwise. Residents have found Wii easy to use, fun and downright addictive. Games like Wii baseball, bowling and tennis are easy, fun and safe competitive outlets for seniors for whom the real thing would be impractical or unsafe. Similar devices like the Xbox Connect are also popular at senior centers across the country.
There’s an infinite variety of activities within the thousands of senior communities in A Place for Mom’s network. The activities we highlight here are just a small sampling, but clearly show how senior communities have moved “beyond bingo.”
Interested in finding out what activities are offered near you? Contact a Senior Living Advisor who can provide you with local activities at senior centers that will keep you happy and involved.
We Can Help! Our local advisors can help your family make a confident decision about senior living.
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