Many aging loved ones feel as though there is no benefit in staying active or motivated and have an outlook of “what is the use?” Still, most aging loved ones want to remain independent and do not think about how being inactive adds to various health conditions that can and do prevent independence. This need for independence is one reason why an aging relative may opt for a senior home care business rather than an in-patient facility for their day-to-day care.
Motivating an aging relative to remain engaged and even exercise often means much work for you. With the many health challenges an aging individual face, they often develop a mindset that is not easily influenced. Remaining patient, kind, and positive when attempting to motivate your aging loved one to be more active will go a long way. If began in early in the aging process, the health benefits are even greater.
Reasons Why Engagement and Activity are Important
Active aging individuals are healthy aging individuals. Connected and engaged aging loved ones are happy aging loved ones. Studies have proven these points time and time again, but sadly, it can still feel like an impossible task coaxing your aging relative out of their home to take a walk in the fresh air or to visit a friend.
Rather than giving up, discuss the many health benefits of remaining engaged and active as you encourage your aging relative to include more mental and physical activity into their daily routine. For instance, the Surgeon General states that regular physical activity can build strength and flexibility, decrease the risk of falling, and even decrease feelings of depression and anxiety in aging individuals.
Aging adults can also suffer from feelings of loneliness and isolation. This supposed lack of a connection and support system with peers can result in increased depression and anxiety, and even hasten symptoms of dementia.
Luckily, your aging loved one does not need to join a daily social club or run marathons to gain the benefits of increased engagement and activity. Including more engagement and activity into their daily routine can be simpler than you may think.
Tips to Keep Your Aging Loved One Engaged
Teach your aging relative on how to video chat/call.
With free apps and cell phones, your aging relative cannot chat with family and friends right in real time. It does not take too long to teach your aging loved one how exactly to use this technology. Once they have a hang of it, set up times where you and other family members can chat with your loved one. Once your aging loved one feels more comfortable chatting with family, he/she will be chatting up with friends as well.
Locate a Senior Exercise Program in Your Loved One’s Area
Many senior centers and park districts offer exercise programs customized to the elderly adult. Locate one and encourage your aging relative to attend. Perhaps, even offer to pay for the first month’s fee. Exercise classes offer both physical activities and foster friendships as well.
Search the Internet
The internet provides a fast and simple way to find individuals with similar interests. Do an internet search to locate a local club that your aging loved one may enjoy. Try a Book Club, Gardening Club, Veteran’s Club, Birdwatching Club, etc. The only limit is your imagination and your loved one’s interests. The likelihood of locating a new group your aging relative can try is high.
When trying to locate an activity or hobby that your aging loved one might enjoy, consider what they used to love to do in their free time and then work on adapting that same activity for any current challenges or obstacles. For instance, would your aging parent require larger crochet hooks so she can hold them better, or does your aging relative require a magnifying glass to read his favorite magazine better. For further adaptation ideas, speak with your aging loved one’s doctor or perhaps even consult with an occupational therapist for the more customized idea.
Discuss Senior Living Options
Instead of at-home senior care, discuss residential living communities where residents can live an active, healthy, and connected lifestyle. Although your aging relative is safe at home with a senior home care business caring for his/her daily needs, they are not able to participate in the wellness amenities that are offered in many residential senior living communities. Senior living community residents can attend events, trips, classes, and various other activities. It is worth the time and effort to join in an activity or take a tour.