Leisure and recreational activities are key components of the quality of life of each individual, and as they also optimize their health, these activities may become even more important for the well-being of older adults as they reach their retirement years.
In some cases, a person’s health conditions may limit their physical, cognitive, emotional, or social abilities, which may make it more difficult for them to access and participate in meaningful recreation and leisure activities. It is important to ensure we enable all individuals – especially those with limitations – to enjoy their quality of life and better health through meaningful participation in recreational activities. The focus of recreation for seniors should been on finding leisure activities that seniors can benefit from and participate in safely regardless of any limiting health conditions.
Research has shown time and time again that retirees of all ages and health conditions can benefit in many ways from therapeutic recreation and leisure services. For one example, falls are the cause of 90 percent of hip fractures in older adults – and recreation therapy programs significantly improve the mobility of older adults, which can reduce the risk of falls and subsequent injuries.
Therapeutic recreation programs have been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, increase flexibility and strength, and increase ambulatory skills in retired adults. Light exercise, such as walking and swimming, have a great positive effect on conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension, and various mental illnesses. Additionally, studies have shown that recreation programs for seniors reduce loneliness and depression and help to significantly improve morale.