Activities that are enjoyable and meaningful
How might an older person want to spend their time? Bingo? Listening to Vera Lynn? Well for some people, sure, that's a treat, but it's certainly not true for everyone. Ageist, institutionalised approaches to elder-care tend to lump all 'older people' into one group and make assumptions about what is 'good for them', without really asking.
Given that many of us are living to 100 years old these days (with average life expectancy in the UK as 86) - it's illogical to think that someone who is 105 will want the same things as a newly retired person at 67, simply because both are deemed 'old'. That would be equivalent to saying people in their 40s would likely enjoy the music of 12 year-olds, because they're both 'young'!
Keeping physically and cognitively active is absolutely essential for health and wellbeing - but only if the activities we are doing are enjoyable and meaningful to us in some way.
Take a look at the list below and think about what you yourself enjoy doing. If someone you know is being cared for, perhaps fill in the details of this list with them and share the outcome with their primary carers.
Also find out the following...
In my life I have had the following professions and roles (e.g. baker, accountant, guitarist, husband, father):
There are certain topics I don’t want to talk about or explore. These are...
There are certain topics I really love to talk about and explore that haven’t been mentioned yet. These are....
It doesn't stop there - possibly the most important skill now is in adapting activities we know and love to suit the individual's physical and cognitive abilities. The trick is to ensure that no-one feels excluded by creating a 'failure free' environment.
Try one-stop-shops such as Live Better With to buy dementia-friendly resources for meaningful activities