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Conversation Tops Senior Activity List


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May 21, 2011

Keeping busy can help seniors stay healthy and vital as they age. It may not be surprising that the simple act of conversation topped the list of favorite activities in a caregiving survey. That's why family caregivers should do everything they can to ensure older adults have companionship.

Q. I'm an active 80-year-old widow who enjoys a variety of activities. Many of my friends have varied interests as well, but others seem to be at a loss. I was wondering if you knew the most popular activities for seniors today and how to encourage others to get involved?

Senior interests seem to be as varied as the diverse personalities of older adults themselves. For today's active seniors, just about anything goes. However, companionship and the need for it are always at the forefront.

A survey conducted by the Home Instead Senior Care® network asked their CAREGiversSM what the seniors they worked with like to do. It may be no surprise that the top activity listed was conversation – a sign that older North Americans value the time they spend interacting with family and friends. More than three out of four CAREGivers (75.9 percent) who responded listed conversation as the favorite activity for their clients.

Rounding out the top 10 activities were watching television at 71.2 percent, followed by reading at 41.2 percent, walking at 21.8 percent, crossword puzzles at 14.6 percent, cooking and meal preparation at 12.3 percent, playing cards and church functions at 9.7 percent each, senior center functions at 7.6 percent, and knitting, crocheting, embroidery and sewing at 5.6 percent.

When you think about it, most of these activities – even TV-watching – can be enhanced by conversation as well. Human contact is like a lifeline for seniors, particularly those who live alone.

Sometimes, though, conversation can be the most difficult activity for seniors to cultivate. That's because friends and spouses pass away and family members move away.

If you are a senior without meaningful companionship, consider getting involved in senior organizations. Meet others with similar interests at a senior center, church or synagogue. Or hire a professional caregiver to assist with daily activities and accompany you to events. Not surprisingly, close personal relationships frequently develop with Home Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, and matched with seniors of similar interests.

Finding a friend can help you make the most of each day by providing the conversation that is so important to seniors.

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