Recreational activities for the elderly should be available in every community

WHILE this is a youth column or youth-related section, I still try my best to speak up for every disadvantaged/minor group I can think of. I’ve written about the elderly a few times and have committed myself to continue to do so. As a youth of my country, I believe it’s an obligation to stand up for the elderly of our country to ensure their rights are respected and observed. Many people, especially young people, hold a preconceived notion that older adults have lived their life already and, as such, they don’t need recreations, activities, or events as younger people would need. I believe that recreational activities are of utmost importance to ageing. Recreation doesn’t mean a rigid run in the park or swimming in a pool.

It can be as simple as playing bingo games with their peers or reading the Bible in a reading club. It should be tailored to cater to the generalised physical and mental limitations of old age. Take a look around. How many community activities are geared towards an older age group? We encourage the formation of youth groups and clubs, but how often do we encourage the same for senior citizens? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in for uplifting and including our young people in everything we do. However, I do believe we can do both at the same time. When you think of it, one day, most of us will live to see those golden years, and I am sure we would like to still feel included in society. Many older adults would feel discarded or on the offside of society because of how little to no emphasis is placed when it comes to being involved in community engagements.

We can encourage our older adults to engage in meaningful activities, but how can we do so without first making those activities accessible for them to begin with? While recreation and leisure activities are fun, they also help improve the livelihood and well-being of our older adults. I am saddened at the fact that we treat the backbones of our society as a marginalised group. They are not a bunch of discards. If you’re reading this and you are an active leader in your community, I urge you to have this discussion within your community. You can also actively help by facilitating age-appropriate activities or events for the older adults in your community. You can even go as far as helping them form senior citizen groups within the community. It will allow them to have a sense of support from their peers.

If you’re reading this and you have an older adult in your family, you should also encourage and facilitate them to engage in recreational activities. Not only will it help them physically, but it can also improve their mental health. No matter how old you are, you should be able to enjoy and relax during your leisure time. Your age, ability or interest shouldn’t be a restriction. When we think of the elderly, we often think about spending their pastime in a wheelchair or in a bed. I want us to rid ourselves of that thought, as that is not always the case. If many of them had it their way, they would rather be engaged in fun, clean, recreational activities in their pastime. Old age should not mean the end of having a good time. If you ask me and many of the older adults I know—it’s merely just the beginning!

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