Group activities and events are a great way for seniors to socialize and stay active and involved. The reality is, however, if seniors are going to get together and accomplish something as a group, one (or more) person is going to have to organize and coordinate the individuals and the activity in order to make sure everyone has a great time. Here are some suggestions for organizing group outings for seniors:
1. Give yourself plenty of time to plan an event-Rushed events tend to suffer from a lack of organization and publicity. You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of time to organize your group, deal with any special needs or requests, arrange appropriate transportation, etc. Instead of trying to throw something together at the last minute, it is important with seniors to give everyone plenty of advance information and plenty of details about the outing or activity.
2. Allow for diverse abilities and needs-A group of seniors will have a variety of physical (and, perhaps, mental) realities with which you will need to work. When planning an outing, make sure it is in an accessible location and that it will be fun for everyone. There’s nothing worse than arriving at a destination and finding that part of your group can’t have access. If you know the restrictions and requirements of your group in advance, you can plan the outing or activity to suit them. If you won’t know the demographic of your group until everyone arrives, you should definitely expect and allow for a variety of abilities and issues.
3. Consider whether outings are best geared toward one gender or co-educational-Some things are more fun or special when done with a women’s or men’s groups, while others are more fun as a mixed group of genders. It can be helpful to put some thought into matching your activity or outing with the demographic make up of your group. Of course, you won’t want to be stereotypical or sexist, but it can be fun to plan activities geared toward a known demographic. At the same token, you’ll know if your group is mixed that outings and activities should be well suited to a group of men and women.
4. Allow for plenty of time during the outing or event-Just as you put plenty of time into planning your event, you also need to make sure you’ve cushioned your time schedule so people don’t feel rushed. Make sure to allow for pit-stops, changes of itinerary, lingering over lunch, or whatever might be necessary to make sure the individuals in the group feel accommodated and the focus is on having a good time, not working through a time frame. Along the same vein, a good activity planner also prepares for events that move along faster than expected. Having some flexibility in your schedule will make sure you can adjust as the group’s needs change.
Outings and activities for seniors can be a great way to get out and see the world-whether it’s an evening at the theatre, a volunteer project, or a weekend tour to a nearby coastal town-a little planning and accommodation go a long way in making for a great time!