Activities for the elderly: types, how to do them and examples

Currently, active aging and the creation of policies for social participation and protection of the health of older people are some of the central issues in debates on aging.

As part of this different activities have been developed for the elderly which, far from being a series of exercises specifically for the elderly, are activities already known but adapted to the needs of this life cycle.

Continuing with that, below we’ll look at some activities that can be done with older adults, along with the goals that each pursue.

    Activities for the elderly and promotion of active aging

    According to the World Health Organization (2002), active aging is the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and safety, with the aim of: improve people’s quality of life as they age. It aims to improve physical, social and mental well-being throughout the life cycle, while encouraging participation in the community according to personal needs, wants and abilities.

    In this sense, the socio-educational process linked to active aging can only be carried out if it is based on collaboration, participation and the detection of the needs of the elderly. In other words, that is to say given his experiences, concerns, life stories and personal biography.

    The above can be promoted by two major groups of activities, such as the following (Bermejo, 2010):

    • Cross-cutting activities, that promote active aging and promote independence; it can include cultural, scientific and intergenerational programs.
    • Instrumental activities, what understands the manipulation of information and communication technologies, As well as various technological products.

    These activities can take place in many places and institutions, provided that they meet the minimum requirements, such as space, furniture, tools and materials needed for each activity, and the human resources trained to run them.

    So activities for the elderly they can be carried out in civic or cultural centers, Health centers, associations, universities, public places, etc.

      How to plan its realization?

      The planning of each activity can be done through practical guides, worksheets or tables, where the following elements are explained: the justification of the activity, the objectives, the content, Specific strategies or activities, necessary material, organizational aspects, evaluation and bibliographic resources.

      This type of planning makes it possible to adapt each activity to the specific needs of the elderly person or of the group to which it is addressed. In this sense, it is important that the activities take into account the preferences of the participants and the context in which they take place. finally identify and develop the resources present.

      From this, the general objectives of activities for the elderly can be as follows:

      • Provide meaningful information for the well-being of the person and / or the group.
      • Encourage reflection and analysis processes on what can best accompany your aging.
      • Live experiences that help prevent addiction.

      Types of activities and examples

      As we have already said, there are no specific activities for the elderly, rather it is a question of adapting the existing activities to the needs of the elderly person or the group of elderly people, so that they can promote the above objectives.

      Thus, any activity already known is valid and can be adapted favorably. whether the detection of the motivations and needs of the elderly is a priority. In this context, activities can be planned according to the three main objectives related to active aging: promoting physical well-being, strengthening cognitive and emotional well-being and promoting the relational well-being of partners.

      1. Physical well-being

      One of the important aspects is to seek physical well-being. This can be promoted in two main areas: nutrition and exercise. In the case of physical exercise, activities are aimed at promoting dynamic states of energy and vitality, which help the person to perform usual daily tasks, as well as to enjoy active leisure, to cope with fatigue excessive and finally prevent the development of diseases related to sedentary lifestyle.

      Activities can be developed to promote the following: cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular endurance, flexibility and balance, motor coordination, body composition, among others. To work this there are many activities, for example:

      • Rhythmic Gymnastics.
      • Relaxation and stretching techniques.

      • Sports such as basketball or volleyball.
      • Expressive rhythmic activities such as dancing.
      • Outdoor work aerobics or pilates.
      • Swimming with joint mobility exercises.

      2. Psychico-cognitive emotional well-being

      This topic includes a number of strategies for promote brain plasticity and cognitive functions. This can be done precisely through cognitive training, which includes information processing techniques such as the following:

      • Teach relaxation.
      • Training in attention and concentration, selecting relevant information (selective attention), or performing more than one task simultaneously (divided attention) and finally activities that require long periods of concentration (sustained attention).
      • Abstract reasoning and verbal fluency exercises.
      • Categorization, classification and classification tasks of information.
      • Problem-solving activities at different difficulty levels.
      • Activities that encourage curiosity and creativity.

      On the other hand, and in relation to the next point, there is an emotional training, strengthening self-esteem and development of the skills necessary for assertive communication.

      Likewise, there is the prevention of depression and other conditions sometimes associated with old age. This can work by directly accompanying the person in psychotherapy, but also in group sessions where experiences are exchanged. It is also possible to work by group or individual simulation of situations where different emotions are triggered.

      3. Socio-relational well-being

      These activities aim to foster cordial relationships, maintain social contact and increase interpersonal bonds. They help counter feelings of loneliness and to avoid the discomfort associated with this life cycle. Likewise, they can strengthen socio-adaptive skills.

      Here are some examples of activities that can be carried out in this dimension:

      • Encourage the creation of groups of members according to common interests, and performing board games or other leisure and recreation activities.
      • Hands-on cooking workshops, which include segregation of duties for menu planning and shopping at nearby stores.
      • Group visits to shops or exhibitions.
      • Create a movie forum, i.e. watch and comment on movies that deal with relevant issues according to your preferences and needs.
      • Speak if possible share practical information on the environment and the resources it offers.
      • Identify relevant content and initiatives to improve the information that has been shared.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Bermejo, L. (2010). Active aging and socio-educational activities. Guide to good practices. Pan-American medical editorial: Madrid.
      • Fernández, F, Carral, JM and Pérez, V. (2001). Prescribe exercises for the elderly. Normative values ​​of physical condition. International Journal of Medicine and Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, 1 (2): 136-154.
      • Limon, MA (2011). Active aging and improvement of the quality of life of the elderly. Journal of Psychology and Education, 6: 225-238.
      • World Health Organization (2002). Active aging: a policy framework. Spanish Journal of Geriatrics and Gerontology, 37 (2): 74-105.

      Leave a Comment