The Clayfield retirement village residents help Orange Sky with washing is a good example of seniors taking time from daily life to share moments with the younger generation.
One thing becomes increasingly clear as we age — community matters. This sentiment holds true for people of all ages, but it’s vital for seniors in retirement villages. While the notion of community involvement might conjure images of grand volunteer efforts, it’s the simple, everyday events that often hold the most profound significance for seniors.
The Clayfield Retirement Village
For all of June 2023, the Aveo Group’s Clayfield retirement village in Albion, Queensland, welcomed volunteer crews from the non-profit group Orange Sky, as they came into the complex every Tuesdays to wash used clothes and towels from a school in Brisbane. The residents themselves aid the Orange Sky team in washing the laundry while conversing with them.
The visits aimed to ease the workload of Orange Sky volunteers, who visit disadvantaged communities providing free laundry and shower bathing services. Orange Sky is also looking to use the system for other retired communities.
Clayfield sales Amanda Adams sees the Orange Sky effort as close to her heart as the group cleared her possessions from home when it was flooded last year.
“Not only do our residents assist with the laundry but they chat to Orange Sky’s volunteers. The conversations make for a more enjoyable day for the volunteers who might otherwise be standing around between wash loads at the depot,” she said.
Why Should Seniors Participate in their Community?
With the above taken into account, there’s a rationale for seniors in retirement communities to be part of local activities, not to mention its benefits.
Combating Social Isolation
Social isolation is a significant concern among seniors, especially those in retirement communities. Many older adults find themselves separated from lifelong friends and family members due to the transition into a retirement community.
Participating in local activities provides seniors with opportunities to build new social connections, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Mental and Emotional Well-Being
Engaging in community events has a direct impact on mental health for seniors. Interacting with others and sharing experiences can boost emotional well-being, leading to a more fulfilling retirement. They also provide a sense of purpose, warding off depression and anxiety.
Engaging in community activities stimulates cognitive function, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Keeping the brain sharp and active. Whether it’s solving puzzles, learning new skills, or participating in discussions, seniors benefit from mental stimulation that can help delay cognitive decline.
Physical Health Benefits
Community participation often involves physical activity, which is essential for maintaining seniors’ health and vitality. Whether it’s a gentle exercise class, a walk in the local park, or dancing at a community event, staying active helps seniors maintain their strength, balance, and overall well-being.
Participating in physical activities, even at a modest level, contributes to better physical health. It helps seniors with flexibility, strength, and balance, reducing the risk of falls and other health issues.
A Sense of Belonging
Being part of local activities allows seniors to become integral members of their communities. It instils a sense of belonging and pride in being part of something larger. This feeling of connection enhances seniors’ quality of life and helps them maintain a positive outlook.
Contributing to Society
Seniors have a lifetime of knowledge and experience to share. Participating in community events enables them to contribute to society by offering guidance, mentorship, and wisdom to younger generations. This intergenerational exchange benefits both seniors and the broader community.
Social Interaction and Emotional Support
Community events provide opportunities for social interaction, reducing feelings of loneliness and depression. Seniors can form meaningful friendships, share experiences, and provide emotional support to one another.
Engagement in community activities can act as a stress reliever. Seniors can temporarily put aside worries and immerse themselves in enjoyable experiences, reducing stress and promoting relaxation.
Increased Self-Esteem, Happiness and Satisfaction
Engaging in enjoyable community activities can lead to increased happiness and satisfaction in life. Seniors often report a greater sense of purpose and fulfilment when they are active participants in their communities.
Community involvement can boost self-esteem and confidence among seniors. Feeling valued and appreciated for their contributions reinforces a positive self-image.
Participating in local activities exposes seniors to new experiences and learning opportunities. Whether it’s taking up a new hobby, attending cultural events, or joining clubs, seniors can continue to expand their knowledge and interests.
As a society, we should encourage and facilitate community participation for seniors, recognising their valuable contributions and the profound impact it has on their overall quality of life. By fostering inclusive and engaging communities, we can help seniors continue to thrive, learn, and find joy in their golden years.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage
For seniors in retirement communities, participating in simple community events is far more than just a pastime, it’s a lifeline to a fulfilling and joyful retirement.
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DISCLAIMER: This article is for informational purposes only. The Australian Seniors Advisory Group has no working relationships with any seniors community organisation or retirement community mentioned.