Play On!

August 15, 2016 | Patricia Wuest

Joining a club or pursuing a new activity is more than just fun and games — it’s a way to enrich your life as a senior adult.

What is the value of joining a club — like a book club or card-playing group — or participating in a group activity — such as community gardening or a water aerobics class — as a senior adult? The University of Rochester Medical Center says that “staying socially active and maintaining interpersonal relationships can help you maintain good physical and emotional health and cognitive function.”

Most retirement communities offer amenities, activities and services. On-site recreational centers or clubhouses give seniors the opportunity to connect with people their own age and participate in community activities, such as gardening clubs, card-playing nights, trips to see plays, arts and crafts, holiday gatherings, continuing education classes or movie nights. Retirement communities may also offer facilities such as a swimming pool, fitness center, tennis courts or even a golf course.

Senior adults who move to retirement communities often find they are more active than they were living alone. The benefits of participating in the activities offered by your retirement community include:

  • Reduced feelings of isolation and loneliness. Older adults who stay active may be avoiding “psychological distress such as depression,” according to a study undertaken by researchers from the University of Western Sydney.
  • Lowered risk for developing some health problems, including dementia. According to a study by the National Endowment for the Arts and George Washington University, there are powerful and positive benefits associated with community-based art programs, including “a positive impact on maintaining independence and on reducing dependency.”
  • A longer lifespan. Leisure-time physical activity has been linked to an increase in life expectancy, according to a study by a team of researchers led by the National Cancer Institute.
  • Improved thinking abilities. According to the website helpguide.org, “Playing chess, completing puzzles, or pursuing other fun activities that challenge the brain can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function.”

As the Irish playwright and author George Bernard Shaw once said: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

“With all the trees and the lake, it’s like living in the country.”

Lillie B

“I don’t have to cook, clean or wash my clothes. That’s the best!”

Margaret N

“The people are friendly; I love them all!”

Margaret B

“I’m just overjoyed to be here.”

Matt G

“You have to come and visit us, because it is beautiful.”

Lillie B