It’s been three months since Patricia’s husband, Roger, passed. Rocking slowly on her worn recliner, the house is quiet. She flips through the channels and looks at the empty chair where Roger used to sit. She was lonely. The loneliness didn’t hit until everything had quieted down–no more gatherings, fewer visitors. All that was left were memories. Now what?
Patricia is not alone. Often, the passing of a spouse leads to social isolation and depression. Senior isolation is an epidemic that can lead to serious health issues.
The cure? Activities.
Why Physical Activities Are Important For Seniors
Physical activities always provide the foundation of wellness for all human beings.
For the elderly, doing physical activities will even be more important. A sedentary lifestyle in old age has been shown to lead to greater susceptibility to injury, a higher incidence of obesity, cardiovascular problems, and many other serious diseases.
No kidding, start exercising!
Practising enough senior physical activities decreases the risk of stroke, cancers, type 2 diabetes, depression, and dementia. Moreover, physical activity can arrest the deterioration of overall health and enable older adults to maintain their independence for longer periods.
This is what Patricia did, and to relieve the pain and grief, she decided to run every day.
Physical activities are important, but mental and social activities are also salient to help seniors stay healthy!
Please never underestimate social and psychological harm. Seniors are often at a high risk of loneliness. Researchers from BYU University Communications have suggested that loneliness can be as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day! Moreover, feelings of loneliness may lead older adults to engage in other unhealthy behaviours, such as excessive alcohol consumption, binge drinking and smoking, and a reluctance to go out. It turns out to be a vicious cycle.
In addition to potential mental health problems, older adults frequently suffer from mental disorders such as dementia, anxiety, and depression. A decline in mental abilities is unavoidable as we get older. We can, however, slow this cognitive deterioration by engaging in sustained mental activity.
Assume that older adults can actively seek cognitive engagement. These activities can assist them in mobilizing their mental abilities, which can be highly beneficial in preventing or slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Ready for some exercises and activities?
Here we go!
Recommended Activities For Seniors
1. Physical Activities
It’s recommended that seniors aged 65 and older get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise every week. So on average, each senior should dedicate about 20 minutes per day to physical activities! Moreover, it’s important to ensure seniors warm up for 5 minutes before exercising.
Start by walking slowly at first. Slow down a bit. Perfect! Gradually stretch your shoulders, lower back, hamstrings, quads, inner thighs, hips… awesome! Now you are good to go for the other activities!
We know that seniors are often at risk of falling, and keeping balance and preventing falls have always been the most concerning. To achieve that, activities such as standing on one foot, walking heel-to-toe, tai chi, and yoga are highly recommended!
Walking, dancing, jogging, biking, swimming, tennis, basketball, climbing stairs/hills, raking, and mowing are all good exercises that can improve seniors’ heart, lungs, and circulatory system wellness and help seniors stay energetic! When you exercise, bring your parents and grandparents along too!
We know that some seniors would like to make their muscles stronger, and CareStory is total with them!
We care about our loved ones so much that we don’t want them to do challenging activities like lifting weights, using a resistance band, or doing body-weight exercises like push-ups and sit-ups. Nonetheless, these activities are perfectly safe for seniors.
That being said, proper assessment prior to exercise is critical, and you should never over-exercise.
The variety of helpful activities that improve reasoning abilities, memory, and the ability to continue to learn are listed as puzzle-solving, board games, reading, and practicing a musical instrument. In addition, writing memoirs is also a fantastic activity that can support seniors’ memory maintenance. Moreover, memoirs can become a family treasure and legacy! If you would like to know more about writing memoirs and family stories, The Power of Telling Senior Stories.
Social activities are highly involved with communication and interaction with others. Sample activities are volunteer opportunities, clubs, etc. The experience of helping others enhances the meaning of seniors’ lives. Also, social activities also assist seniors in allowing others to have meaningful access to their lives, which is a healthy social life since reciprocity is the basis of emotional wellness. Human connection, interaction and companionship are always essential. If you would love to discover more about communicating with your loved ones, please check our blog on How to Communicate with Seniors.
As we always emphasize, it’s crucial to communicate smoothly among seniors, family members and caregivers and deliver empathy.
Care for the elderly as you would care for yourself later in life. If you are looking for a technology solution to facilitate communication, feel free to check us out at CareStory.ca! We are here to bridge the gap between aging populations, their families, and caregivers, and we assist seniors and their families in creating shareable memoirs and recording family stories together!
Check here to see how CareStory works, and don’t hesitate to get in touch or subscribe!