Regular exercise has a lot of benefits for seniors, and can help them enjoy a better quality of life as well as to keep themselves in good physical condition as they age. If you are caring for an older person, then keeping them active can be an important thing to think about, although naturally it is essential to make sure that any activity that you do with them, or encourage them to do, is appropriate for their current physical and mental condition.
Here are some things to consider so that you can help the seniors you care for to enjoy the benefits of being active:
Think of Ideas for Enjoyable Activities Together
Not everyone is the same, and different types of physical exercise will appeal to different people. Talking to the person you are caring for about what they might enjoy doing can help you find a plan for doing something they’ll enjoy, that is within the boundaries of what they can manage. Maybe they would enjoy learning to do something like yoga, or would like to go swimming, or perhaps they are more interested in going for walks in pleasant surroundings, perhaps with a dog? Offering to do something with them that they have chosen can be a great way to find a form of exercise they won’t see as a chore.
Encourage Them to Stay Safe
Older people may feel reluctant to stay active when they aren’t under your supervision because they are worried about what will happen if they injure themselves, or experience any other health problems or incidents. Medical alert systems that monitor people and send notifications to their caregivers or medical supervisors if anything out of the ordinary happens are becoming a very popular way to combat this. They provide reassurance both to the wearer and the caregiver, and senior citizens may benefit from using medical alert systems so that they can have the peace of mind that somebody will be instantly alerted if they run into any difficulties while they are doing anything active if you’re not there.
As well as having technology that can provide some monitoring, you may want to make sure that the person you are taking care of has easy access to contact numbers for yourself and other people. You will also need to discuss a plan for if anything happens and they need help, as this can help them to feel safer when they’re being active at home or outdoors.
Set Goals and Stay Accountable
Just as you would probably set goals and track your progress if you were trying to be more active yourself, this can be a great way to work with somebody else. Having goals or targets for things like how much time is spent walking every day, and where time is made for other physical activity, can make sure that both yourself and the person you are caring for can keep track of the commitment to being active. If there are other goals involved in wanting to be more active, for instance weight loss or rehabilitation from an injury, then these can be tracked too. It can be both interesting and motivating to do this, and if you are working with someone who likes gadgets and technology, you can bring fitness and nutrition tracker apps or hardware like pedometers into the mix, to make keeping track of what activity they are doing easy and appealing.
It can often be a good first step to just think about how much activity the person you are caring for currently does, and where more could potentially be added in a way that they will find enriching and fun. Why not start discussing a plan for upping activity levels for your patient today!
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