Recreational activities enrich our lives in so many ways. Consider all of your favorite activities and how they make life better. Think about why they are enjoyable and what life would be like without them. Recall all of the positive experiences and memories that were created as a result. We forget all of the hard work that went into mastering skills to truly enjoy these pursuits, but looking back, the time and effort was well worth it!
A Different Perspective When Aging
As we age or become sick, it may be difficult to enjoy our favorite activities. Illness or injury can make it difficult to perform tasks that were effortless in the past. Failing eyesight, shaking hands and the inability to concentrate make pastimes frustrating. Perhaps a peer group that was associated with an activity is no longer around. Social isolation can be an unintended result of later life. There are many reasons why people give up doing things they once enjoyed. However, it is still critical to schedule time to enjoy recreational activities.
Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) offer recreational activities on a daily basis. This offering is not the primary reason for enrollment, but is one of the services that improve the quality of life for participants. There are many benefits to enjoying recreational activities well into later life. Participating in recreational activities helps improve:
- Physical well-being
- Emotional health
- Cognitive functioning
- Socialization with peers
Therapeutic recreational activities at a PACE center teaches new techniques to enjoy familiar activities. It could also prevent further decline. It diverts the mind from unhealthy or unproductive thought processes. New skills or adaptive techniques can be acquired for use at home with family or friends. Quality of life improves for the participant and their family members
The Benefits of Recreational Activities
Recreational activities are a good way to practice transferable skills in a non-threatening situation. For example, playing a game that requires the use of fingers and hands gives the participant the confidence to use those physical skills to perform other tasks like dressing or bathing. Participating in recreational activities increases overall activity level.
Physical benefits include increased muscle strength and endurance. Fine motor skills such as using the elegant strength of the hands and fingers is practiced during games like Bingo. Gross motor skills require bigger movements of the arms and legs are used during simple activities like catching a ball. Morning exercise routines help to increase mobility, flexibility and also improve range of motion. We gain a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of pride as our sense of self improves.
There is more than meets the eye when playing a game of Yahtzee! Playing table games or cards help to increase attention span and alertness. Some games require the ability to demonstrate problem-solving skills. Other situations require planning and organizational skills to enjoy and win the game. Advanced strategic skills and following multi-step directions are skills that will transfer back to the home setting.
Engaging in recreational activities is like taking a little vacation from the everyday. A sense of relaxation and stress reduction is experienced. Acquiring new skills can offer a feeling of increased self-esteem. Emotional benefits also include the realization there are still goals to be set and achieved in life.
Socialization may be one of the most enjoyable aspects of participating in recreational activities. Making social connections with others is a vital part of maintaining good health. Social isolation is decreased and feelings of loneliness are alleviated. Having a positive experience to anticipate is equally as enjoyable as the activity itself.
Enrolling in a PACE program offers many benefits from a medical management standpoint. Access to physicians and other clinicians in a setting that provides supervision and safety is the primary reason why participants enroll. The benefits of the recreational activities are why participants stay.
To learn more about Beacon of Life services or to refer a participant to our facility, click here to contact us or call us at 732-592-3400.