Exercise and Your Senior Care Solution Plan
But aren’t old people supposed to sit in rocking chairs all day, torturing young people with stories about how they walked 4 miles through a snowstorm just to get to school?
In shorts, no. Numerous studies have shown that exercise reduces the risk of dying from certain cancers, heart disease, and stroke. It also reduces the symptoms of depression and mild cognitive impairment. What’s more, regular exercise increases functional flexibility and strength, the qualities that allow Dad to do the everyday things that make independent living possible, from reaching for a tall cabinet to shoveling a hallway. That is why your plan of care for elderly parents should include safe and effective training.
Take one step at a time.
Maybe the last time Dad exercised was the last time he mowed the lawn, 15 years ago. When you are caring for an elderly parent, it is critical that he or she exercise regularly. The first step is to make sure your loved one is healthy enough to exercise by talking with their doctor. The doctor may order an electrocardiogram (EKG) to find out if the body can handle the exercise.
Once dad gets the go-ahead from the doctor, remind his dad to go slow. Dad doesn’t need to kickbox or swim in the English Channel to reap the benefits of a workout. For most seniors, a walk around the block is a good start toward a healthy senior care solution.
Teach an old dog new tricks.
A study from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that older people who played Nintendo Wii exercise games for 35 minutes a day, three days a week, had a reduced risk of depression. Exercise video games are proving so effective in improving fitness that nursing homes and rehab centers across the country are adding them to their senior care solutions programs.
Because video game systems can be played at home, they can be an ideal solution for the care of elderly people staying indoors. If you are caring for elderly parents at home, consider investing in one of these.
If your older dad doesn’t like video games, encourage him to start a new exercise program. For example, the ancient Chinese martial art Tai Chi has been shown to relieve pain and increase range of motion in older people.
Tai Chi classes and workshops or any other exercise can also foster another important part of living well: social interaction. In fact, research has shown that building strong social connections can add a few years to your lifespan, making it an ideal senior care solution. As you care for an aging parent, encourage him to reap a stronger body and more social media that come with group workouts.
Get in the game.
Don’t just sit there on your back while your mom goes around the block. Taking care of yourself while caring for your elderly parents is important to keeping your mind and body healthy. You’ll benefit from the stress-relieving qualities of exercise and build a healthier body in the process. Choose an activity that you enjoy, such as taking a walk or practicing yoga. Remember, when you are healthy, you will be a better caregiver and a stronger part of your parents’ elderly care solution.
Taking care of aging parents’ plans can be challenging, from scheduling doctor appointments to giving medication reminders. Make sure exercise doesn’t slip through the cracks – it’s an important part of any family’s elderly care solution.