Across the country there seems to be a shortage of senior-friendly activities, especially in rural areas. It is not surprising that such activities are becoming increasingly important as the extended family model becomes a rarer commodity, and elderly folk are left to their own devices during the workday/workweek.
Lest you overlook the realities of being a senior in T&T, I’ll point out some possible features:
- Loneliness & Depression – Close friends and family members of their generation have passed on or are ill. Few recreational activities in which seniors can socialize which can cause feelings of isolation and sadness.
- Limited mobility – physically unable to partake in activities which require a wide range of movement. Transportation services for disabled/elderly persons are limited and pavements are not always elderly-friendly.
- Neglect – Family members may be occupied managing children or with their own lives and consider elderly care burdensome.
- Health matters – Deteriorating vitals negatively affect hearing, sight and mobility. Complex health monitoring requirements needed. Dietary restrictions limit the kinds of food and drink they can consume.
- Financial constraints – Pension increases not commensurate with increased cost of living. Difficulties faced in purchasing the basics needed to get by.
These are but a few of the challenges experienced by the elderly. Though there are national associations for the elderly, a community-based approach could be helpful in facilitating participation in group activities. The identification of sub-groups within Arima’s population to concentrate outreach efforts and coordinate the utilization of key social services (such as ELDAMO transportation services) for this age group, could facilitate participation in programmes/projects for senior citizens.
Drawing upon activities already available for the wider population, some activities can be tailored to senior citizens, and include the following:
- Yoga & Meditation
- Adult Beginner Computer Courses
- Dancing Classes
- Writing memoirs (reading and writing classes)
- Game of Memory with family photo cut-outs
- Music and Movies
- Video games
Anything missing? Any comments? Message below!