Assisted living facilities serve very useful purposes, helping to care for people as they get older or deal with disabilities, but moving into one can mean a very drastic change of lifestyles. You could easily go from leading an active, happening social life to one where it's really quiet and people don't tend to get to know each other too well.
Why not take the initiative and get more people together? How about giving them something to talk about, something good to eat, and a little something to wake up the left sides of their brains?
Here are five ways to get started turning your assisted living neighborhood into a healthier, happier, and hopping place:
1. Create A Learning Group
Learning is still an essential part of your good health, both mentally and physically, and it's certainly beneficial to get together with others in your neighborhood or building. Ask around the area until you find someone who was perhaps a linguist, artist, or fitness instructor or enthusiast in earlier years and see if they'd be interested in heading a group of residents. You yourself may be quite handy with a paintbrush or guitar and could form a network of others wanting to learn or show off their existing talents. Agree to meet at a time and place that's convenient for everyone, such as a community room in the assisted living facility, and you're all going to be smarter, happier, and more connected for the experience.
2. Get Cooking
Food speaks a universal language, conveying friendship and caring, while reflecting on the personality of each cook presenting their dish. Ask those able to and willing to partake of their culinary talents to meet together for a "Soup-er Tuesday," where you can all present different homemade soups and breads to boot, or set aside one night each month for a potluck dinner, to be held at one of your homes or in the general dining area of your assisted living facility, if they have one.
There's no limit to the delicious dishes and friends you could make, discovering more about your neighbors' cultures and personalities. Just be sure to ask the resident chefs to accommodate any food intolerances or allergies that may plague other participants.
3. Connect Your Relatives With Each Other
While it may be difficult to coordinate the schedules of you and your neighbor's relatives, having them get to know each other a little bit could prove very helpful. Imagine that your neighbor has an important appointment to get to, only her daughter, providing the transportation, suddenly can't make it, but someone from your family is coming over anyway. Giving that helping hand would mean a lot to your neighbor, and you might find yourself in a similar situation in the future.
You could invite relatives to get together at various functions put on at your assisted living facility, so that they won't be total strangers when situations where their help is needed arise. Also, your daughter might get along so well with your neighbor's that they become good friends—all the while working together to make everyone's lives a little easier and a lot more pleasant.
4. Shop Together And Save
Ordering items online can be a very convenient way to have them delivered right to your door, but unless you spend a certain amount, you'll have to pay for shipping costs. Order together and you'll meet that spending criteria every time. For example, you might be about to order a new coffee maker from your favorite online retailer, and the folks next door to you are looking to purchase a new mop; however, neither order is expensive enough to garner that coveted "free shipping" bonus, but together, it does.
Designate a certain day of the month for ordering and let people know in advance, giving everyone plenty of time to allocate the funds needed. You could also order necessary items, such as toilet paper, paper towels, and soaps together, earning major savings for the bulk purchases. So long as proper payment arrangements are made to avoid misunderstandings or squabbles, your shopping system will be a convenient and economical way to buy, along with getting folks together at the same time.
5. Start A Walking Club
Exercise is needed at every age and stage of life, but it's particularly beneficial to folks in assisted living who might be older, need regular physical therapy or just to get out and enjoy more of the fresh air outside. Whatever the circumstances affecting each individual, all of you will be better off for walking together. You'll be doing something good for your hearts, minds, creativity, and of course, social wellness. People who hang out with other people tend to enjoy greater health and live longer, so organize a walking club and get to know your neighbors, while doing something good for your mind and body.
Life truly is what you make of it, and you can truly make assisted living an awesome, all-encompassing experience for you and the wonderful people around you. Just offer your time and talent, ask others to do the same, and together you'll create something amazing.