Staying active and engaged with life as you grow older can help you stay both mentally and physically fit. People who stay connected are less likely to develop illnesses ranging from diabetes to hypertension. In fact, health experts have identified isolation as a health risk for seniors. If you are an adult child or caregiver for a central Ohio senior, there are steps you can take to make it easier for older adults you care for to stay active.
Helping a Senior Loved One Stay Active and Engaged
Here are some suggestions to consider:
- Brain games: Engaging in new hobbies and playing interactive games can give your brain the equivalent of an aerobic workout. AARP’s online game center provides older adults with a platform for safe gaming at no cost. Working crossword puzzles and word searches are another option.
- Reading: Staying up-to-date with current events by reading the newspaper is another way to keep your brain fit. It also helps to read books and magazines. Your local library is a good source for free books for your senior’s eReader or tablet device.
- Walking: Most communities have groups of older adults who walk at local malls or wellness centers together. Joining one can provide your senior with an opportunity to socialize while working on their physical fitness. If you aren’t sure how to find one near your older family member, contact the senior center nearest them. They are usually aware of programs and resources for older adults in the communities they serve.
- Silver Sneakers: Many Medicare health plans offer members free memberships in Silver Sneakers. This will entitle them to participate in a variety of wellness activities at local senior centers, YMCA organizations, fitness centers and more at no cost.
- Stretching exercises: Staying flexible and strong can help older adults prevent falls. Programs that utilize stretching and toning exercises while building core strength, such as Chair Yoga and Pilates, are good ones for seniors to participate in.
- Socialize: Staying connected and engaged with friends and family helps to prevent depression in seniors. You can support their emotional well-being by encouraging them to volunteer with a local non-profit, join the senior center and to take life enrichment classes such as painting or pottery.
- Computer literacy: One final suggestion is to show them how to connect with friends and family by email or through social networks such as Facebook. Skype or another video chat service can help. It might take a few sessions of tutoring if they aren’t comfortable with computers or tablets, but the idea that seniors aren’t able to master technology is false. Older adults are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook and have been for several years now.