By Nori Patnode. 

Working with seniors throughout my career has been very rewarding on many levels. Each person I have worked with has such a unique story, interests, family dynamics, and life history.

The most popular senior activities I have experienced during my career include:
• Dancing
• Bowling
• Bingo
• Trips to the Casino
• Sewing/Quilting
• Woodwork
• Crocheting
• Painting
• Karaoke
• Scenic Drives or Day Trips
• Reading
• Cooking
• Finding treasures at Garage Sales
• Shopping
• Involvement in Church Activities

Senior Activity Centers are great place to get connected with other people who enjoy the same activities with their contemporaries. There are many clubs or groups in the community for seniors to join and meet others with similar interests.

A client and his wife who I had the pleasure of working with recently were very involved with a Square Dancing Group. When the gentlemen became ill and needed support, the friends he and his wife made through the Square Dancing Club rallied around this couple in such a heart warming way. It was wonderful to witness.

I am also blessed to be working with a wonderful lady who up until recently was very active with a dancing group and a bowling league. The friends she has met through this group are so important to her that her family was adamant about her living in an Adult Family Home near her friends because they know these friends will come and visit her often, and provide additional emotional support.

Activities are so important in maintaining physical, cognitive and emotional health. Isolation is a senior’s worst enemy. Often people are resistant to starting something new, joining a new club, or visiting a Senior Center. Quality of life is so important and so it is important to encourage your loved ones to join in. If your loved one is resistant, I have found that one way to encourage a new activity is to go with them the first couple of times. You may think that it won’t work, but I’ve seen it done many times, and you may be surprised! Sometimes all that is needed is an introduction, and the rest takes care of itself. Seniors thrive when they have something to look forward to every day and are engaged with others.