Category Archives: Activities for Seniors

5 Ways To Keep Your Elderly Relatives Active & Healthy

The cliché of “use it or lose it” holds true when it comes to both your body and your mind. That is even more  crucial in the elderly. If they keep their minds and bodies active they will age more gracefully and will be more engaged in life’s activities for much longer. An active mind and body will help them to live a more full life.

In order to stay healthy you need to keep moving. Whether your relatives move around inside or outside the house, getting in at least 15 minutes a day of activity is good, getting even more is best. If they’re able to get out and walk, it’s a great way to keep their weight in line and keep their minds active. Getting out will also give them a chance to get fresh air and keep in touch with the neighbors. Regardless of the level of activity that your senior family members are able to undertake, it’s still a fact of life that individuals over the age of 65 are more likely to suffer a trip and fall accident in the home. In the event of a fall or other health incident, if your senior is equipped with a medical alert pendant, he or she will have immediate access to a trained team that will alert medical professionals and family members offering peace of mind to all.

If you’re a caregiver or are facing the question of trying to figure out what to do with an aging parent, here are five fun activities for both mind and body:

  1. Read a book together or join a book club. If there’s no book club that you can find, start your own. Read the newspaper together and discuss current events.
  2. Walk along the beach if there is one that’s close. Walk around the neighborhood.
  3. Check out local senior centers or libraries to see if there are craft classes or computer classes for seniors.
  4. Begin your own writers group. Meet up at a local library or senior center and work on a book of memoirs. It’s a great gift to hand down to future generations.
  5. Consider joining a senior golf league. If your parents aren’t into golfing, consider joining or starting a gardening club. Share hints and tips about gardening and then plan a fruit and vegetable swap as the growing season gets into full swing.

Depending on the level of your elderly parent’s health, look into clubs or groups that feed into their passions whether it’s boating, scrap booking, sewing, gourmet cooking classes or even bird watching. Being involved with others offers a feeling of community and gives your parents a reason to get up in the morning and an activity that needs to be completed before the next meeting!

 

The Elderly and Their Social Needs!

It’s an unavoidable fact of life that you will get older and with age sometimes comes a limited ability to be involved in the social activities you may have enjoyed in years past. As parents of young children, it’s likely that your life was very busy. This most likely was followed by an empty nest as which point you may have developed a social life completely your own!  However, as you age you may find yourself relying on your grown children, especially if you’re facing health issues. Simply because you’re aging doesn’t mean you need to pull a rocking chair out to porch and watch life pass you by. Staying active, both emotionally and physically, will help you age more productively.

 

While you have to accept and modify your life based on the aches and pains that come with old age, you certainly can remain active and viable. Remaining active will help you enjoy your Golden Years much longer and with more joy.

 

Whether your family lives close by or whether you’re involved in your church or other community activities, it’s important to have contact with “the outside world.” Isolation can lead to loneliness and depression. Staying in touch with friends and keeping up with current events will keep you more in touch with your surroundings and will also give you something to talk about when your family comes to visit. Social contact simply adds value to your life and gives you something to look forward to.

 

Consider teaching a class at a local senior center. If you have a passion for painting or a love of gardening or are an avid knitter or woodworker, ask whether you’d be able to teach a class. You can teach to your peers or even to the younger generation.

 

If your friends and family are scattered geographically you will want to try and keep in touch and you can do this through telephone calls, the exchange of letters or if you’re tech-savvy through email or even sites such as Skype.

 

Check with the YMCA for exercise classes for the elderly, talk with members of your church about activities in which you could become involved. Ask your church if it is in need of volunteers; this is a great way to stay involved and active.

 

Staying involved is simply healthy but regardless of how active you are, when you’re home alone you may want to talk to your family members about signing up for a home medical alert service and ask them to work with you to make certain your home has been “age proofed” to prevent any trip or fall hazards. A home medical alert device can also add to your safety, security and allow you to remain independent in your own home.

 

 

Gardening For Those With Limited Mobility

If you are dealing with an elderly relative you know the importance of getting them out into the fresh air. Whether they were a green thumb in the past or you’re looking for an activity to keep your aging loved one involved and occupied, consider gardening as a way to keep them engaged.

There are many gardening tools and accessories on the market that can help individuals enjoy gardening and the fruits of their labors well into old age. When shopping, make certain you purchase lightweight tools and look for those with extendable handles if possible; these tools will help those with limited mobility be able to be involved in the cultivation, weeding, pruning and general garden maintenance. Don’t forget to purchase gardening gloves, a kneeling pad (if they’re mobile enough for this) or a low, short stool on which they can sit while tending their garden.

Decide with your aging loved one whether they’re more interested in flowering plants or if they want some vegetable plants so they can pick and enjoy them once they’re ready. Work with a local garden center to find low maintenance plants that will bring your aging parent.

Regardless of whether your parents are living in their own home or if they’re in an assisted living facility you can still provide them a way to get involved in gardening whether it’s a patch of dirt outside the house or a container garden set up. If your relatives have a difficult time with mobility consider planting their garden on raised beds to help them avoid bending. With container gardens you can place them in areas that are easy for your relatives to see and reach. Make certain you place the container where you want it before you fill it with dirt or it could be impossible to lift!

Buy pots that are bigger than you think you will need even if they look forlorn and empty from the beginning. Also mix in a good quality fertilizer or compost into the dirt to help the plants thrive.  Make certain your relatives either have access to a hose to water the plants when the weather doesn’t cooperate and provide rain. If there is no hose, provide small, easy to manage watering cans. Look for a small wheeled cart if they have trouble lifting objects such as a watering can, they can fill it and wheel it back out to the garden.

Giving your aging relatives a “task” that involves the weeding of their garden, watering it, plucking some flowers or even flavorful herbs is a great way to keep them active and involved could even open the door to a hobby they’d never participated in before. Some health professionals feel that tending a garden and watching plant life thrive is beneficial to emotional health. Also, don’t limit your gardening to summer as you can replace summer flowering plants with hardy winter blooms or even a small spruce tree.

The gentle exercise of gardening can help strengthen your relatives’ muscles, keep them active and give them a reason to get out into the fresh air for brief periods of time. Make sure you impress upon them the importance of always wearing their medical alert pendant, even when out of doors, in the event they need to summon help in an emergency situation.

Remain Active, Involved In Golden Years

When retirement rolls around, many seniors are unsure of what to do with all of their free time; as a caregiver or family member, it’s crucial that you help your elderly family member find ways to remain active and involved. Volunteering is a gratifying venue for many retired individuals as it gives them a way to give back to the community and gets them out of the house. Remaining active and involved and having a purpose in life, benefits your loved one in both mental and physical ways as well.

Studies have been conducted to show the benefits of volunteering. Consider talking to your parents and determine if volunteering might be an avenue for them to consider as it could enhance their life and allow them to age in place for many more years. In addition to volunteering and remaining active, having a home medical alert device for your aging loved ones also allows them to remain independent in their own home.

Here are the benefits volunteers reap:

  • It can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Because volunteers report a higher satisfaction and quality of life than those individuals who don’t remain involved, they are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease (according to researchers at the University Medical Center in Chicago).
  • Volunteering can lower the mortality rate in senior citizens. A study in the Journal of Gerontology showed that “those who gave social support to others had lower rates of mortality than those who did not, even when controlling for socioeconomic status, education, marital status, age, gender, and ethnicity;” this, alone, should be a motivating factor for volunteering.
  • Remaining physically active lessens the risk of trips and falls and prevents frailty. In a report by UCLA, it was shown that productive activities “prevent the onset of frailty.” Frailty is marked by physicians as being low energy, strength, low physical activity and weight loss.

Remaining active and involved helps improve brain function.

  • Volunteering provides a sense of purpose and accomplishment and helps improve social skills. If your aging loved ones are involved with their peers, they will find a sense of community among them and that will enhance their retirement years.

If your retired parents are feeling at loose ends, you can help them uncover volunteer opportunities by starting with their hobbies and interests. If your parents have a particular skill (carpentry, crocheting, cooking etc.) that they could pass along to others, look into adult living centers as a place to share the skills they possess. Look into volunteer opportunities at local museums, theaters, schools, senior centers, youth organizations and places of worship. The volunteering activity should be one that your parents enjoy and look forward to so make certain it is a good fit for both them and the organization.

Exercise Increases Memory in the Elderly

While staying mentally active through mental stimulation (i.e. crossword puzzles, social interaction) is important to maintaining memory, physical stimulation through exercise is equally important to enhancing brain power. Physical activity helps to protect the brain from certain strains of aging according to a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Those elderly individuals who engage in physical activity are better able to protect their brain from aging, and exercise has even been shown
to reverse some indications of aging.

According to recommendations from The Department of Health and Human Services, the elderly should participate in 150 minutes of moderate exercises a week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercises a week. Partaking in physical activity gets your blood pumping everywhere in your body including your brain, which may aid in keeping your mind sharp.

The study by the PNAS showed that just one year of moderate physical exercise reversed shrinkage of the brain’s hippocampus and improved spatial memory. The hippocampus plays a vital role in long term and other types of memory, but as we progress into late adulthood the hippocampus begins to shrink – leading to memory loss and the increased risk of dementia.

Adults who remain active tend to have larger medial temporal lobes, according to the PNAS study. In the study 120 sedentary elderly adults were broken up into two groups: one group walked around a track for 40 minutes a day three days a week, and the other group stretched and did toning exercises. The researchers found that the group who participated in aerobic exercises increased the size of their hippocampus, leading to improved memory in the participants.

All the participants in the study had MRI brain scans done before the study began and then had another MRI a year later at the conclusion of the study. The individuals who participated in the walking group saw an increase in volume of their hippocampus by 2 percent – which is the equivalent of turning back the clock two years, according to the study. The individuals in the toning and stretching group lost about 1.5 percent of their hippocampal volume.

This study shows that regular aerobic exercise does in fact play a significant role in memory. Motivating your loved one to stay active not only makes their body less susceptible to falls and injuries, but also serves as an anti-aging device for their brain.

Exercise Increases Memory in the Elderly

While staying mentally active through mental stimulation (i.e. crossword puzzles, social interaction) is important to maintaining memory, physical stimulation through exercise is equally important to enhancing brain power. Physical activity helps to protect the brain from certain strains of aging according to a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Those elderly individuals who engage in physical activity are better able to protect their brain from aging, and exercise has even been shown
to reverse some indications of aging.

According to recommendations from The Department of Health and Human Services, the elderly should participate in 150 minutes of moderate exercises a week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercises a week. Partaking in physical activity gets your blood pumping everywhere in your body including your brain, which may aid in keeping your mind sharp.

The study by the PNAS showed that just one year of moderate physical exercise reversed shrinkage of the brain’s hippocampus and improved spatial memory. The hippocampus plays a vital role in long term and other types of memory, but as we progress into late adulthood the hippocampus begins to shrink – leading to memory loss and the increased risk of dementia.

Adults who remain active tend to have larger medial temporal lobes, according to the PNAS study. In the study 120 sedentary elderly adults were broken up into two groups: one group walked around a track for 40 minutes a day three days a week, and the other group stretched and did toning exercises. The researchers found that the group who participated in aerobic exercises increased the size of their hippocampus, leading to improved memory in the participants.

All the participants in the study had MRI brain scans done before the study began and then had another MRI a year later at the conclusion of the study. The individuals who participated in the walking group saw an increase in volume of their hippocampus by 2 percent – which is the equivalent of turning back the clock two years, according to the study. The individuals in the toning and stretching group lost about 1.5 percent of their hippocampal volume.

This study shows that regular aerobic exercise does in fact play a significant role in memory. Motivating your loved one to stay active not only makes their body less susceptible to falls and injuries, but also serves as an anti-aging device for their brain.

Senior Health: 6 Great Benefits from Regular Exercise

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important for everyone and has a very positive impact on many aspects of life. As we age daily activity is even more important. If you are able to stay active you can greatly increase your quality of life. Here are a few benefits from staying active at an old age.

  1. Improves mood: Exercise can actually stimulate brain chemicals that can actually leave you feeling better than you did before.
  2. Combats disease: Regular physical activity can help you prevent — or manage — high blood pressure. Your cholesterol will benefit, too. Regular physical activity boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol while decreasing triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly by lowering the buildup of plaques in your arteries. Continue reading

Keeping Seniors Active and Engaged

Remaining active with age and challenging the mind are essential elements to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for seniors. After reaching the age of 70, those who are not active are more likely to develop problems walking or climbing stairs. Sharpening the mind aids in keeping the memory active, allowing the personality to shine through and improving overall health. Seniors are enjoying longer lives and with the aid of medical alert systems like LifeFone, they are cherishing their independence a lot longer as well, broadening the horizons for the activities they can participate in. The following activities will keep seniors entertained and enhance their lives through both body and mind.

• Take advantage of Community Center activities: Most community centers offer organized group activities. While the majority of these activities are free, some do have a small fee. Check your local community center’s website or message board, or look through the local newspaper to get a list of what is happening in your area. Activities that may be available include arts and crafts classes, exercise classes and weekend and day trips to sporting events, festivals and shopping centers. These events provide exciting opportunities for seniors to engage in group activities and socialize with their peers.

• Join a group centered around current interests and hobbies: There are an assortment of existing clubs for seniors to join that already cater to their current interests including gardening groups, RV and travel clubs, fishing organizations, volunteering opportunities with animals and sewing organizations, to name a few. Whatever the interest, there is likely a group already established.

• Explore new gadgets: New electronics can provide an endless amount of possibilities for seniors and provide them with the opportunity to engage in something new. Digital cameras allow seniors to explore basic photography, make slideshows, create scrapbooks and share pictures with their loved ones, and CD and MP3 players allow seniors to listen to their favorite songs and reminisce about events linked to the music they hear.

• Enjoy the Senior Center: Senior centers have a variety of organized activities for seniors to engage in. There are dances often with live bands, game nights, bus trips, book clubs, current events clubs and singles groups.

Whether living independently, with a caregiver or in an assisted living facility, seniors will remain young at heart by engaging in activities that stimulate their minds and energize their bodies.

Remaining Socially Active with Age

With the absence of child rearing and demanding careers, seniors – many for the first time – finally have the opportunity to engage in numerous activities and maintain active social lives. However, the reality is that most seniors, experiencing the losses associated with aging, become isolated and risk suffering from debilitating depression rather than staying socially active with friends and within the community. The health benefits associated with maintaining an active social life are substantial, however. The Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) found that elderly people who maintain an active social life have a slower rate of memory decline. According to PubMed Central, socially active and productive people also live significantly longer than those who are not.

Here are some activities that will aid in keeping seniors independent and engaged with the world around them:

• Meals with Peers: Seniors may have difficulty with preparing meals or lose interest in food if they become depressed. Shared meals can take place in the home or at senior centers – many of which include transportation. Sharing meals with one’s peers provides the social interaction necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
• Engage in Social Media: Social media allows those who are homebound or isolated to talk, share and laugh with others. The elderly are able to participate in conversations and see those who they otherwise might not see regularly. Many senior living communities offer how-to classes on social media outlets. Engaging in video chats allow friends and family to stay in-touch with loved ones.

• Get Involved in the Community: Experience Corps was created for seniors to mobilize their time, talent and experience. With EC seniors are given the opportunity to act as tutors and mentors to children in participating communities. Senior Corps is another program that gives seniors the opportunity to give back. By offering numerous programs that seniors can engage in ( i.e. counseling new business owners and teen parents, building houses, etc.) they are sure to develop and maintain an active social life.