We all know that an active lifestyle and regular exercise are the secret to a longer, healthier life thanks to the various media outlets that bombard us on all fronts with information about active aging. While the emphasis placed on this topic is welcome, counterarguments and limitations are hardly ever brought up, which makes addressing valid concerns difficult. But for the elderly population, maintaining their strength could mean the difference between assisted living and independence, and therefore it is imperative that this issue is adequately addressed before it’s too late and the damage is already done.
Why Intervention Might Be Necessary
With the arrival of the golden years, people tend to look forward to leading a more laid-back lifestyle with an abundance of well-deserved rest. And while finally being allowed to laze around is among the greatest perks of retirement, overindulgence in such a lifestyle can lead to dire consequences. Without some form of exercise, fitness levels begin to deteriorate. Not only will the muscles weaken but internal problems could rear their head as well, especially if a healthy diet is not being followed.
It is not only a senior’s physical well-being that can suffer because of an idle lifestyle, either. Isolation and depression run rampant among the elderly for exactly this reason; not leaving their homes can eventually result in a variety of mental conditions, including eating disorders and even suicidal thoughts.
Best Activities That Require Leaving the House
Before encouraging an elderly person to go out and have fun, it is of course necessary to assess their circumstances to make realistic plans. Your goal is to get your loved one to leave the house and overwhelming them or insisting on seemingly impossible feats could make them resentful of your efforts. Depending on the situation, even just going on a daily trip to the market could help.
If the senior is in good enough health, a great way of combining physical activity with social interaction is to take part in group activities such as dance or exercise classes. If the senior is not quite spry enough for relatively strenuous activities, encouraging them to participate in social clubs such as board games, scrabble, or bingo could make all the difference in the world. But don’t limit the options, be creative and keep in mind any hobbies that the senior has. If they enjoy playing a musical instrument, then a nearby church could be a great place to showcase their talents. If it is gardening that the person enjoys, then they might enjoy a gardening club or a community allotment. And if all else fails, there are often local walking groups to take leisurely strolls with. Having a pet dog is also a great way to encourage daily walks.
Dealing With Reluctance and Objections
Many elderly people simply exercise at home and while this is certainly recommended, it is important for them to understand that it is not enough, especially if they live completely alone. Finding social companionship is just as important. If your loved one is reluctant to socialize, bring up activities that they can enjoy that are only possible with others, such as dancing or even table tennis. Regular sightseeing trips or vacations are also a great way to connect with others, and while such extended absences might leave family feeling worried, a good solution is to use a mobile medical alert system that the senior can take with them and ensure they can get help if it is ever needed.
While family is sure to fret about the health of elderly loved ones, consider also that the fear of their own safety might be a prominent factor in a senior’s refusal to leave the house. And it’s no wonder, since the statistics concerning the amount of accidents that the elderly suffer from are worrisome to say the least. While there is no way to eliminate the possibility of falls altogether, there are safety measures that a senior can take to minimize the risk. Wearing a medical alert pendant with fall detection, for example, is the perfect complement for active aging and can grant both the senior and their family some much-needed peace of mind, allowing the elderly to enjoy their time away from home, free of fear.
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