We believe everybody
deserves to enjoy life,
whatever their age
Keep active and enjoy life. That’s the message from Enliven recreation advisor Mary Lawson, who says meaningful activity is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
“There’s a quote that says we don’t stop playing because we are old, but we grow old because we stop playing,” says Mary. “Meaningful activity contributes to a person’s sense of purpose and fulfillment in life.”
Mary says the trick to maintaining an active brain is to find activities that are meaningful and fulfilling.
“If an activity isn’t meaningful to you then it’s not going to work. It’s about what motivates you and gives you a sense of purpose as an individual and this varies with each person.”
Mary says all Enliven homes use the Eden Alternative, a model of care focused on the resident which encourages meaningful activity to ensure residents thrive.
“At all Enliven homes we help each individual to find activities which they enjoy and find meaningful and engaging. Instead of focusing on what people can’t do, we support them to continue doing the things they’ve always done – that’s what keeps people active and engaged.”
For those looking for meaningful activities, start by stimulating your brain.
“Challenge yourself with crosswords, quizzes, learning a new skill, or hobby. Play music, join a choir, do gardening, art and craft, anything that you enjoy that has a purpose.”
She says staying social and keeping in touch with friends and family is a motivator for keeping active.
“Socialising can make activities more fun and engaging. If your family doesn’t live nearby try being involved with your local community by volunteering. If you’re not quite mobile enough, try Enliven’s day programmes.”
Being physically active is also beneficial for the brain as it helps to increase blood flow. Mary says exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous, with Tai Chi being her top pick for older people.
“Enliven’s modified Tai Chi classes are a great form of exercise for older people because it’s gentle. It helps improve balance, flexibility, circulation and strength, plus it’s a great way to meet people and socialise.”