For seniors, one of the biggest benefits of aging in place is the ability to go out and enjoy time in the community. Studies have shown that more than 80% of older adults want to remain at home as they age; meanwhile, research suggests that seniors who are able to maintain strong social bonds and connect with their communities experience better overall health and a higher quality of life.
Certainly, there is no shortage of wonderful things to see and do in our area! Wherever you live, there are amazing opportunities for seniors, caregivers, and people of all ages to enjoy together — even right now, during all of the uncertainty with COVID-19.
Senior-Friendly Chicago: 10 Ideas to Help Active Seniors Enjoy Chicagoland
So, how do you get started exploring all of the remarkable opportunities available here in Chicagoland? We’re here to help! Here are a few ways to help the senior in your life enjoy all that their neighborhood has to offer, and become a more active part of their community:
1.) Look for Local Theaters and Performance Venues
From the Lyric Opera to the Second City to Shakespeare in the Parks, the Chicago area is full of amazing performance venues and shows. There are wonderful shows going on all over our area, from the city to the suburbs — and many performance venues have even started hosting virtual shows and performances during COVID-19.
To help your loved one start getting to know all of the opportunities that are out there, check out local websites like Choose Chicago or Timeout, which offer running calendars of things to see and do in the area. There are also theater-specific directories like Theatre in Chicago and Chicago Plays. Many theaters also have subscription programs designed for older adults, as well as reduced price tickets and senior-friendly matinee performances.
2.) Find Museum Exhibits and Events
Going out for a trip to a local museum can be an enriching and memorable experience — and there are endless opportunities in our area, in both the city and the suburbs. Chicagoland is home to incredible history museums and some of the finest collections of scientific artifacts and art you’ll find anywhere in the world, with new exhibits and touring shows coming through all the time.
You’ll find lots of updates and opportunities in local papers like the Chicago Reader or the Chicago Tribune, as well as the website for your family’s favorite local institution. Right now, many organizations and museums are also offering digital tours and virtual experiences, perfect for older adults to enjoy from home.
3.) Look Into Adult Education Classes
Learning never stops! Many community colleges and other educational institutions around the area offer seniors the chance to audit classes for a reduced price. Many local schools also have courses and programs designed specifically for the elderly, on subjects from playing an instrument, to cooking, to classical literature. Find out what your elderly loved one is interested in, and start looking for classes. You’re bound to find some amazing opportunities, right in your own backyard.
4.) Join a Gym or Senior Center
If your senior loved one is looking to get active, there are many senior-friendly exercise classes offered around Chicago. Get in touch with your local gym or fitness center and see if there are programs that sound promising. From water aerobics to hiking to dance, there’s no limit to what’s out there. For seniors hoping to make new friends and stay active in the community, look into local community centers or senior centers. These neighborhood staples can be a great place to meet new people, take classes, enjoy active time, or meet up with old friends to play games or simply catch up. During COVID-19, many community centers and gyms are offering remote opportunities, so seniors can stay socially and physically active from the comfort and safety of home.
5.) Discover New Local Restaurants
Whether you live to eat or eat to live, there can be no denying that the Chicago area is full of amazing dining destinations. From old school diners to white-tablecloth culinary institutions, there’s no shortage of great grub all over. Right now, you can find takeout and delivery options through resources like Dining at a Distance or this interactive map from the Tribune. Seniors may also find lots of great new dining options by taking a tour of their neighborhood and looking for spots they haven’t tried; searching through a local guide like Eater Chicago; or looking for restaurants offering senior menus and discounts through resources like the AARP.
6.) Go for a Walk Around the Block
Walking is one of the healthiest activities that there is. It’s been shown to help exercise all parts of the body, and offer some meaningful mental health benefits to boot. It’s also a great way to go out and experience all that your neighborhood has to offer. Going for a simple walk around the block is a great way for seniors to get to know their neighbors, enjoy some fresh air, and forge a deeper connection with the place they call home. Walking outdoors is also one of the safest types of physical activity to enjoy right now during the COVID-19 pandemic — just be sure to follow all safety guidelines, and protect yourself from the sweltering summer heat.
7.) Find Parks and Greenspaces to Enjoy
From the Morton Arboretum, to Busse Woods, to the Chicago Botanic Garden, our area is full of amazing nature preserves and greenspaces. Start looking for forest preserves and parks in your own neighborhood, and you’re sure to find some amazing spots perfect for helping seniors to enjoy the health benefits of nature.
8.) Stay Up to Date on Local Sports Teams
Play ball! The Chicago area is rich with sports history. A great way to bring generations together is to bond over sports, whether your family loves the Bulls, the Sky, the Blackhawks, the Cubs, or the White Sox. In the suburbs, there are also lots of fun local teams to root for, including minor league baseball and hockey franchises. Sports are still happening during COVID-19; look for televised games and live streams that your whole family can enjoy together, and keep your box scores updated.
9.) Get to Know Your Neighbors
One of the best ways to become part of your neighborhood is to get to know your neighbors. Plus, you’ll never know when having those valuable connections next door might come in handy! Many family caregivers get relief from neighbors who agree to pitch in and help out the senior with lawn care or other basic household tasks. During hot days, storms, or emergency situations, it can also be great to know that an older adult has someone nearby to check in on them and make sure that they’re safe and well.
10.) Look for Ways to Volunteer and Make a Difference
What could be a better way to become part of your community than by truly giving back to it? There are many different ways for seniors to volunteer, including joining service organizations specifically intended for older adults. Around the area, hospitals, theaters, community centers, schools, and other places are always in need of volunteers. There are also countless ways to pitch in during COVID-19, including “virtual volunteering” online or by phone.
Looking to Connect With Your Community? Companion Care Can Help
Companion care is a wonderful way to empower seniors to connect with their communities, nourish meaningful relationships, and live a more enriched and active lifestyle. Available on a full- or part-time basis that suits your family’s needs, a companion can provide reliable and safe transportation services to help seniors attend social events, keep up with their appointments, or go on fun outings and adventures. Along the way, the companion can provide the one-on-one support that the senior needs — from carrying groceries, to maintaining their calendar, to offering a helping hand with activities of daily living.
During the COVID pandemic, a companion can be a great resource for helping the senior stay connected through technology and virtual tools, such as video calls. Companion care can also offer valuable social support in its own right. Our companions offer their senior clients true friendship, and are always happy to play games, watch movies, swap stories, or simply enjoy their quality time together.
During COVID-19, our companions are taking every precaution to make sure that seniors are able to enjoy time in their community safely. We are taking action to sanitize our vehicles and help seniors to practice all proper health and safety measures.
Ready to Help the Senior In Your Life Really Enjoy Their Time at Home? Companions for Seniors Is Here to Help
Curious about other ways to help your senior loved one remain active and social, while aging in place? Looking for caregiving and companionship services in the Chicagoland area? If you have any questions about caring for the older adult in your life, don’t hesitate to reach out to Companions for Seniors! We’d be happy to be your sounding board, share our experiences, and talk over any questions or concerns you may have about any aspect of providing care for your aging loved ones.
Our companions are trained and bonded, and can help your family shoulder some of the responsibility of caring for an aging loved one. We help provide seniors with a higher quality of life, while also offering respite and peace of mind for family caregivers who might need some support. Our companions help stimulate our clients physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, empowering them to live an active, independent, and enriched lifestyle.
Have any more questions about Companions for Seniors? Want to get in touch? Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 866-910-9020, or fill out our online contact form to get started today!