There is nothing worse in your senior years than feeling like you’ve outlived your usefulness. This is something common among many of our elders but fortunately, there is something we can do about it! If you stop to think about it, there is still much our seniors have to offer and it is a shame that we don’t help them feel like they are still a vital part of the community. With a little bit of thought, we can find ways to help our seniors have an active social life while finding ways to help them realize they are not alone and are still very much needed.
1. Needlecraft Clubs for Charity
Needlecrafts like knitting, crocheting, and sewing are crafts that so many of our younger people simply aren’t interested in anymore. However, many of our seniors lived in a time when they learned to knit their own sweaters and caps while sewing their own clothes. Consider for a moment what it would be like to get a group of seniors in independent living residences together to form a Caps for Chemo club. Seniors in Belmont Village, for example, could get together to crochet and knit caps for chemo patients who have lost their hair when being treated at the Emory Midtown Cancer Treatment facility. Free chemo caps are always in short supply.
2. Surrogate Grandparenting
There are literally millions of children in the United States who either don’t have living grandparents or grandparents they’ve ever met. Becoming a surrogate grandparent can give both the senior and the child a sense of being loved. Whether they have grandchildren of their own or have never been blessed with any, becoming a surrogate grandparent will enrich the lives of those little people while helping an elder feel a sense of being needed once again.
3. Book and Media Clubs
Joining (or starting!) a book and media club can do wonders for bringing our seniors back together in a social group. Perhaps each time they meet a new group leader could take a turn assigning a book or film to watch to be discussed at the next meeting. It’s a fun way to get seniors together while giving them something to exercise their brains at a time when it helps to keep the grey matter flowing.
4. Group Dance Classes
Sometimes dance studios like Arthur Murray’s or Fred Astaire’s have ballroom teachers willing to teach a weekly group lesson. Among the dances that seniors enjoy most are the foxtrot, waltz, and believe it or not, the rhumba! How much fun would that be? Not only is dancing an enjoyable way to get some exercise in but it is equally enjoyable just getting together for a bit of good old-fashioned socialization.
There is always something seniors can do to help them stay connected to the community. From mentoring young professionals in a field they are now retired from to surrogate grandparenting children lost in the cracks, there is something wonderful they have to offer. Let’s let them know just how much they are still very much a part of our community and our lives.