Here at Institute on Aging, there are few things we emphasize more than the importance of socialization and the positive impact it has, mentally, physically and physiologically. Or, to put it another way: being with people is good. It’s not really groundbreaking. Except for people who genuinely prefer to be alone (and there is nothing wrong with that), being around other people helps stimulate the mind in a number of ways, including:
- Practicing empathy
- Remembering names and faces
- Setting routines
- Keeping appointments
- Planning events
When you are friends with someone or with a group of people, you have to make plans to see them, even if it is just stopping by for lunch or to play cards. But sometimes, the plans you are making are bigger. Sometimes, you’re making group activities. And that’s where the real fun comes in.
Group outings can be extremely important for seniors, as they increase interaction and expand a social horizon. With activities, you might see new things and new people, or see familiar things in new ways. The planning and execution of an outing are perfect for exercising the mind, and activities often have at least some physical component (though you shouldn’t exclude people unable to participate, physically).
We encourage group outings, both our own and to plan on your own. That’s why over the last few weeks, we’ve run a series on how you can plan group outings, with ideas on what to do and where to go.
Remember that this is your story and your life. Despite what many people think, getting older doesn’t mean that you stop writing it. You can always add new chapters, and each story you tell, from each group activity, adds up to a larger one. It adds up to the story of your life. So keep writing.
5 Great Group Activity Ideas
Here are five of our broad idea categories, with more details and descriptions in the article.
Movies, depending on what you watch, can be a celebration of memory. Watching older movies evokes how you felt when you saw it, as well as a world you remember but that has changed. There’s nothing melancholy about that; you’ve changed as well. Seeing an old movie you remember well is a great way to bring up and share memories. It makes your personal experience part of the art.
Features: Movie ideas and selections from the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.
There are few things that leave you more exhilarated than dance, maybe the most purely physical of human art forms. Your body takes on a life of its own, whether you’re by yourself, with a partner, or in a group. And with that combination of mental freedom and physical activity comes a huge litany of health benefits.
- The physical benefits of dance
- The mental benefits of dance
- The social benefits of dance
- Places to find dance lessons
- Places to find group dances
A lot happens when you see something new. You discover not just different scenery, but something new within yourself. You have to. You take in new information, and that makes you, even ever so slightly, different. That’s why we encourage seniors and their caregivers to take as many day trips in the Bay Area as possible, whether with a senior group or not. There is so much to see and so much to learn. Most of what you learn, though, will be about yourself.
- 5 different outing ideas
- Outings for all levels of physical health
- Travel times from San Francisco
Bay Area boat tours are an incredible way to see the very reason our magnificent city and region were built in the first place. They are ways to spend time with friends, to laugh and gasp in awe as the sea mists itself against your smiling face. They are a chance to be thrilled, to relax, to contemplate, or to yell out loud. They are chance to be fully alive.
- Seven great boat tours
- Luxury cruises
- Sailboat tours
- Ways to see nature and the city
Many older adult groups are looking for places in the Bay Area to volunteer, where they can spend time helping others and spend time with each other. Volunteering your group, or finding other older adults to work with, is a wonderful way to stay active, to help each other out, and to meet new friends.
- Explanation of different types of volunteer opportunities
- Volunteer ideas across the Bay
- Opportunities for all interests, backgrounds, and education levels
Creating A New Chapter In Your Story
But remember, these are just ideas; like everything else in life, we want you to put your own spin on it. Find avenues for your own exploration. Create adventures big and small for yourself or for groups. Remember that whatever you do, you’ll be continuing to experience life and all it has to offer. You’ll continue to write your own story.
We’d love to know about your group activities, so please email us. After all, your activity may inspire others to plan one of their own. Let us know what you planned, and how it was. After all, you now have a new story to tell. We want to hear it.
At Institute on Aging, our programs and services help older adults, their families, and caregivers explore aging together, through good times and bad, as an adventure and a journey. Connect with us today to learn more.