Helping Your Loved Ones Stay Active As They Age
Research shows that activity among older adults often correlates with their health and happiness. It isn’t always easy to keep them active, especially if they are dealing with chronic pain or other conditions that can make a once active adult less active in their senior years. Isolation and loneliness are unfortunately very common in older adults. These feelings can lead to mental health issues and a decline in cognitive functioning. There are many measures that you can take to help your loved one enjoy their golden years. Even if they are struggling to keep up with their once active lifestyle, there are plenty of ways to keep them connected, moving, and engaged.
The first thing to do is simply ask them about what they enjoy. Over the years, their interests have probably shifted. Finding a new hobby or activity could be exciting for you to do together! Actively continuing to learn new things will keep them stimulated and engaged. For example, it is never too late to learn how to use a smart phone or tablet. They could learn how to video chat a dear friend who might live far away, or get to wish their grandchild a happy birthday. My 95-year-old grandmother is a pro at video chatting. She was able to watch my kids open their Christmas packages from her, and could instantly see the joy that she brought them. Since we don’t live in the same state, this keeps us connected and we love to see her smile.
Plan some activities that could foster communication and storytelling. One of my favorite things is listening to stories of when my grandmother was younger. She still loves to feel pretty and have her nails done, so when I am in town, that is one activity I make sure that we do together. Since it’s difficult for her to get in and out of the car, I bring all the nail polishes to her. She picks out her favorite color and I paint her nails while she tells me stories of the “old days”.
Introducing new card games for you to play together can be a great experience. Once they’ve mastered it, they can play it with their friends as well. Word search books, puzzles, and crosswords are other great activities for brain stimulation. Discovering different crafts that they can do is a great way to keep their creative juices flowing. Remember to consider that their hands don’t necessarily work the same way they used to, but there are still plenty of crafts they can pick up. There is a lot of joy to be felt for them when they start making things for their loved ones, friends, or even caregivers. A simple crafting idea is hand-stamped cards. Get several pieces of card stock, stamps, and ink pads. It’s fairly easy, but still uses those motor skills that they need to keep active and creative. Once they make a set of cards, help them tie them up with a pretty ribbon for them to give as a gift. Inviting others into their craft time is a great way to foster communication and lots of laughs. Typically at this point, they aren’t able to go shopping for gifts anymore, so being able to create something from their heart can be such a treasure for the receiver of the gift.
Get them outside as much as possible. If weather permits, a daily walk outside to get fresh air is a simple way to do this. Even if they are in a wheelchair, this is beneficial. It gives them the opportunity to have new surroundings on a regular basis. Often times, older adults once enjoyed gardening and planting flowers. If a garden isn’t possible, try having some potted plants and flowers outside that they could help water and watch grow. Keeping pets around is another potential source of joy. While they might not be able to care for a pet themselves, with a caregivers help, it provides a sense of companionship that they might not be able to find in another person at this point.
At Seasons, we are a family. We have wonderful caregivers that plan these kinds of engaging activities and others for your loved one. Their smiles and stories bring us so much joy. It would be a privilege to support you and your loved one and to help them along in this stage of their life. Come visit us today!