If your elderly loved one spends a lot of time at home with limited opportunities to get out of the house, you should consider exploring some options. Staying active and involved in the community will not only boost your loved one's spirits and stimulate their mind, but improve their health as well. Engaging in activities, going outdoors, socializing, and meeting new people are all crucial to a healthy lifestyle, and can actually make elder care more effective. This is especially true as you age, and continued stimulation becomes more important than ever. Here are a few ways to keep your elder loved one in shape, and get them involved in the community and out of the house.
This is an easy, relaxing way for any elderly person to keep their mind sharp, stay social, and meet new people. If they already have a circle of friends—great! Help organize a weekly or bi-weekly book club. It's a great excuse for friends to come over for an afternoon, or to visit them at one of their houses. If your loved one doesn't know anyone who would be interested, local libraries usually organize book groups. This can be a great way not only to get out of the house and promote an active mind, but also to meet new people at an age when meeting people can be difficult.
A physically fit senior makes elderly care easier for everyone. For homebound seniors, it can be easy to sit on the couch all day watching TV. And if you're responsible for their care, it can be easy to let them. But just because the TV is on, it doesn't mean your loved one has to remain sedentary. It's well worth it to invest in some exercise DVDs geared toward the elderly to help them stay active and in-shape. While going to a gym or playing any competitive sport might prove too strenuous for an elderly person, an exercise DVD that can be watched in the comfort of their living room can be the perfect alternative. As always, be sure to consult your physician before changing your exercise routine.
While “staying active” might conjure images of intense workouts, jogging, or sports, that doesn't have to be the case. Something as simple as walking around the block twice a day—once after breakfast, and again before dinner—can give a senior the fresh air they need. Although you should always consult a physician before changing altering an exercise routine, sticking to a regular regimen can inject much-needed physical stimulation into your loved one's daily life.
Many communities have senior centers that are designed specifically for seniors looking for a way to pass the time. These often include classes, games, art programs, and meals, and are a great way to meet people. Nationwide, these centers serve over one million seniors every day, and those who regularly attend local centers were found to have higher levels of health, social interaction, and life satisfaction than their peers.
If your loved one is capable of more strenuous physical activity, you might encourage them to take a local swimming class. This can be a fun way to promote exercise, without putting your loved one in danger. Volunteering can also be a great option. Whether its gardening, working at a town hall, or getting involved in local politics, these activities are the perfect way for seniors to stay involved in their community and maintain a healthy lifestyle.