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Staying Active As We Age - What Caregivers Can Do To Help Loved Ones

by Amy, October 20, 2017

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Some Bay Area seniors seem to be just as spry as they were when they were 30; for others, being active isn't so easy due to limited mobility, arthritis, vision problems, or other conditions that often affect seniors. Range of motion often changes, and for someone on a walker or cane it can seem impossible to stay active. How can you help an aging loved one?

First of all, keep in mind that physical activity is vital to good health and emotional well-being, often helping to stave off depression or even reduce the likelihood of falls or injuries. Here are some tips to help your loved one become more active, physically and socially.

Improving mobility

Many seniors experience stiffness in the joints, arthritis, or conditions that require they use a wheelchair most of the time. Some suffer from COPD and simply cannot do strenuous exercise. Simple activities can help tremendously to improve mobility and reduce the pain of arthritis, and don't require moving from a chair.

  • Moving the feet to "march in place" while seated
  • Using soup cans or light weights to exercise arms
  • Squeezing a soft foam ball between the knees or with the hands
  • Flexing the wrists, ankles, knees, shoulders, hips, etc. while sitting
  • Performing 8 or 10 light squats while holding the back of a dining room chair

For seniors who are mobile and can walk or get around fairly easily, active exercise is ideal for not only reducing the risk of falls, but improving blood sugar, blood pressure, and reducing body pain. It may be something as simple as taking a 10 to 20 minute walk several days a week, or participating in classes designed for seniors and offered at some gyms or senior centers. Another benefit of going to a senior center or fitness program designed for older adults is the social interaction. Making new friends and exercising with a group of people their own age boosts a senior's emotional well-being, in addition to improving health.

Don't let pain or mobility cut your loved one off socially

Regardless of the condition of an aging loved one, interacting with others and getting out and about is critical in terms of emotional well-being, mood, and even self-esteem. Seniors all too often become isolated, which results in depression in many cases. What can you do to help?

  • Encourage getting out to have coffee with a neighbor or friend on a regular basis
  • Take your loved one to a movie, play, or out to dinner - anywhere that doesn't require a lot of walking or standing
  • Consider participating in activities offered at the local senior center
  • Go outdoors to enjoy the sunshine, fresh air, and surroundings - it can be as simple as sitting on the front porch for a while

The most important thing you can do is to be active with your loved one and encourage more activities. You want to move at a slow pace, and not overwhelm your aging mom or dad.

Whether your senior lives in San Jose, Walnut Creek, or anywhere in the Bay Area, staying active is important, regardless of fitness level. At Care Indeed, our in-home caregivers fully engage with clients, helping them live happier, healthier, more active lifestyles. Contact us today for all of your senior's home care needs.