As our parents grow older, we may have noticed the change in their activities and recreational choices. With their chronic pains and other medical conditions, it is not uncommon for older adults to adjust their social calendar and physical activities to meet their changing bodies’ needs. Some might need in-home care, assisted living services, or hospice care.
The once-active adults that we know are less active now in their twilight years. Nonetheless, if your loved one is having a hard time keeping up with an active and engaged lifestyle, there are still numerous ways for them to be physically active, healthy, and sociable.
Why Being Active is Important to Older Adults
Older adults who are active are healthy. Also, older adults who are engaged and connected are happier than their contemporaries. Various studies have proven these facts, but admittedly, it can still be difficult to convince your aging parents to go out of their homes to socialize or stroll around the neighborhood.
Rather than giving up, try discussing again the health benefits of staying active and engaged with your aging loved ones. Help them see how they can incorporate more physical and mental activities into their daily schedule. Here are some easy activities that they may find enjoyable.
Healthy and Engaging Activities for Older Adults
Although just a low-impact exercise, walking is beneficial for older individuals. Since doctors recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, a half an hour walk each day could help reach this target. Even a brisk stroll to the grocery store or a local social club counts.
Senior Exercise Programs
There are many senior centers and park districts that provide exercise groups fit for older adults. If there is one nearby, encourage your aging parents to join them. Not only will these classes provide physical activity, but they also help your loved ones be more sociable.
Transportation and mobility issues might be the reason your elderly parents are missing out on friendship. Why not plan a small get together for them? You can pick up your parents’ friends on your next visit and play hostess while they catch up.
With the help of digital technology, it is now possible for your aging loved ones to talk with friends and family in real-time. Take your time and be patient in teaching them this latest technology. With social distancing and stay-at-home orders, your parents would not feel lonely staying at home.
Dancing is more than just a physical activity. It is the most enjoyable one, and it fosters socialization. Plenty of community groups organize dances to bring older people together to twirl around to some classic tunes. You may encourage them to join this activity. Better yet, go with them on these dances.
Even your parents who need 24/7 care could benefit from low-level exercises. Seated exercises like raising their legs or lifting weighted objects, help tone their muscles to prevent atrophy. Mild to moderate exercises can make a huge improvement in their physical and emotional wellbeing.
Another easy way to encourage your parents to be more physically active is by allowing them to do some easy to moderate household chores. Doing so has a proven positive impact as it helps maintain a sense of independence. If they have a particular interest, such as gardening, they can indulge in such.
Your parents might be fond of a hobby or activity that they find difficult to do now. What you can do is help them adapt and overcome any current obstacles. It could be that your mom now needs larger hooks for crochet so that she can see better or that your dad needs to upgrade his reading glasses.
Surfing the Internet
Apart from teaching them how to chat and video call, introduce them to online clubs. There are plenty of social media groups your parents could join who share the same interests with them. It could be a gardening club, a book club, or a bird-watching club.
Senior Living Options
Lastly, consider talking to your parents about staying at senior living communities. These facilities offer residents a connected, healthy, and active lifestyle. Furthermore, you will have peace of mind knowing that they have someone looking after them and communicating with them while you are away.
Encouraging your aging parents to remain active and engaged at their age can be challenging. But with constant effort and the help of professionals and other resources, you can eventually make them realize the value of staying active.