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The Importance Of Recreation In Assisted Living Facilities

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Is it time for your loved one to be moved to an assisted living facility? Even if that is the best option for your aging relative, you may be nervous to make the transition. With the elderly at higher risk for depression, you might worry about the facility's ability to provide for all their needs. However, you shouldn't have to worry. Not only will a quality facility make sure to provide the antidepressants and therapy your loved one could need, but they will also provide plenty of recreation.

Recreation is a natural way to fight depression that cannot be overlooked. Watching TV in their room all day will not be healthy for your aging relative, no matter how well their other needs are taken care of. While most people equate senior centers with Bingo night, there are so many other activities the elderly can take part in. Look for a facility that offers the following kinds of recreation:

Outdoor Activities

Getting outside can play a big part in fighting depression. That's why some people suffer from seasonal depression—winter doesn't get as much sunlight. When you tour a possible facility for your loved one, ask about opportunities to get outdoors. For example, they may have a walking group every day. Maybe there are opportunities for gardening, even if it's just small potted plants. Pay attention to the landscaping when you visit. A beautiful outdoor area to relax in will surely raise your loved one's spirits. Also look for wheelchair-friendly paths around the facility so you can be assured that every patient can spend time outside, regardless of ability.

Creative Projects

Being creative is good for the soul. There are countless projects the elderly can do. These patients are nearing the end of their lives and may appreciate time for journaling or scrapbooking as a way to share their stories with their descendants. Even if patients are not physically able to do many arts and crafts, they can still participate in other ways, such as dictating a story from their life for someone else to write.

They could also learn to make photo books on the computer if that's easier for them. Recording their history will help them feel that their life has meaning, which will fight depression. Other forms of crafting, like painting, are doable for many ability levels. Seeing their room decorated with something they created is sure to help your loved one feel happy. Be sure to ask about what kinds of creative projects the facility makes available for patients.

Active Movement

It's no secret that exercise is a natural antidepressant. However, you may wonder what kind of exercise your relative can do at this point in their life. They may not be running marathons anymore, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be active. Ask the facility if they provide exercise groups, such as aerobic dance or yoga geared specifically for this age group. Even games such as balloon volleyball or virtual sports can be great exercise. The endorphins that exercise creates will help your loved one feel good and stay healthier for a longer time. 

These kinds of activities, as well as many others, will naturally help the elderly fight depression. So, when you're touring different assisted living facilities, be sure to include quality recreation on your list of things you're looking for. 

For further tips, reach out to a local assisted living facility.