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 adult 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 loneliness and depression.
- Limited mobility – physically unable to partake in activities they may have been accustomed to, which require a wide range of movement. Transportation services for disabled/elderly persons are limited and pavements for walking are not user-friendly.
- Neglect – Family members may be heavily 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 due to proximity. 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 drastically improve the efficiency and success of 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!