Healthy Tips for Older Adults in Assisted Living Facilities

For over 90 years, The Cedars has helped to transform aging. We have found a wonderful mix of activities, hobbies, and events that will keep you healthy during your stay at an assisted living facility.

When you move from aging in place to life in senior living communities, there is no need to slow down or stop enjoying treasured hobbies or activities. In fact, one of the biggest assisted living benefits is the way it frees older adults to pursue their passions in a safe, stress-free environment.

Ready to make the most of assisted living? Read on!

Healthy Aging Tips for Seniors

Staying Active in a Community for Older AdultsElderly Woman Partaking in Fitness at Assisted Living

Many older adults choose to move into senior living communities when they realize keeping up with housekeeping and the activities of daily living has become more difficult and less rewarding. Now that mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, and cleaning, dusting, laundry, and cooking are done by caring and committed staff, it can be tempting to become more sedentary.

“In an assisted living environment, focusing on fitness is a lot more fun!” says Sarah Martin, Lifestyles Manager at The Cedars. “One of the best healthy living tips for seniors is to keep moving. As we age, regular physical activity becomes even more important to our cardiovascular health—and our cardiovascular health directly impacts our cognitive functioning. To keep your body and mind at their best, you need to add regular physical activity to your schedule.”

“Older adults who use walkers or wheelchairs for mobility might think they can’t exercise,” Sarah adds. “Lifting arm weights or trying chair aerobics will raise your heart rate and increase your muscle mass. Talk to your personal physician and the staff at your senior living community about exercises that are safe for you.”

Regular exercise strengthens muscles, builds bone mass, improves cognition and immunity, and releases endorphins that boost your mood. Many activities for seniors in assisted living feature some form of physical exercise for all levels of physical fitness and mobility, from water aerobics to chair yoga. Try them all, find one that works for you, and keep doing it.

Creating a Healthy Routine

When you are aging in place, your daily routine is filled with errands, chores, and responsibilities. Once you move into senior living communities filled with services and amenities, your days can suddenly feel a lot longer. Without structure to your days, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy habits … or even into a mild depression.

Healthy aging tips for seniors emphasize that being mentally and physically engaged in our lives creates a sense of purpose and wellbeing. You have more free time now. Our advice to seniors? Use it to your fullest advantage.

“In our Households, residents choose when to wake, when to eat, and how to spend their days,” explains Angie Hunt, Administrator at The Cedars. “Our job is to offer them a wonderful range of choices and to support them in whatever they choose to do.”

Activities for seniors in an assisted living range from arts and crafts to cultural events to community service, religious observances, outdoor adventures, health and fitness classes, book and game clubs, cooking classes, and online college courses. Sign up for an old favorite or try something new! And if there is an activity you love that doesn’t appear on the schedule of your assisted living residence, ask to include it or start a group for it yourself.

Activities at senior living facilities can sometimes feel overwhelming. That’s okay! Quiet and reflective time for yourself is also important. “Set aside some time each day to connect with an old friend or a beloved family member,” suggests Melissa Weber, Life Enrichment Manager at The Cedars. “Write an email, schedule a Zoom call, or write a good, old-fashioned letter.”

Be social. The time we spend with friends raises our spirits and strengthens our sense of community. Arrange to meet friends in your assisted living facility for lunch, a cup of tea in the afternoon, or a glass of wine before dinner. And get a healthy amount of sleep. This can become more challenging as we age but good sleeping habits are critical to our mental and physical health.

And if you find yourself struggling to get into the groove at your senior living community, ask for help. Anxiety and depression are common ailments as we age and there are so many ways staff can help. Whether they offer advice, connect you with services, or simply lend a listening ear, they care about your overall health and wellbeing. 

Planning Fun Family Events

Many activities for seniors in assisted living are designed to encourage family involvement. Birthday and holiday celebrations, concerts and art shows, and more are usually open to family members and friends.

“When we are aging in place, family know when they are welcome in our homes,” Angie Hunt. “The move to a senior living community should not stop friendly drop-ins or standing Sunday dinners. A great healthy living tip for seniors is to make sure the people you love know that you would love to see them whenever possible.”

Many senior living communities have private dining rooms or lounges that can be reserved for family events and celebrations. Most meal plans will include a limited number of guest passes, and many holiday meals or events offer free or paid access to family members as well.

If there are times of day when you feel less social, let the people close to you know. And if there are items they can bring, activities they can do, or errands they can run to make your life easier, say so! You will be surprised at how many people in your life want to help you but are not sure how.

Whenever possible, attend events with family and friends outside of your senior living community. Many assisted living facilities offer transportation to and from essential errands and activities. Birthdays and anniversaries, weddings, graduations—go to as many celebrations as you can. A feeling of connection to the wider world can do wonders.

To see exceptional assisted living in action, visit The Osher Inn at The Cedars or learn more about our brand-new assisted living memory care household at The Sam L. Cohen Households at The Cedars.