Most of us love to lead an active lifestyle while we are young and able. We would love to explore new places, learn about culture, and uncover more potential. But for our senior parents, perhaps that is the least of their priorities.
In fact, about 60 percent of older adults globally reported spending more than 4 hours per day just sitting. The study further showed that upon objective measurement, 67 percent of the population are actually sedentary over 8.5 hours during a day.
Due to their limited mobility and other physical health concerns, it is only common for many seniors to fall into isolation. This further results in them experiencing mental health problems and weakened cognitive function. It is important to keep a healthy lifestyle while we are young and able. So it is for individuals who are now already in their twilight years to remain active.
With this in mind, preventing the feeling of isolation of your aging parent should be a major priority. Doing so helps prevent any risk of them falling into isolation. Here are some activities you should consider engaging in with your elderly parents to keep them active.
Activities You May Do with Your Elderly Parents
#1 Take a Walk Together
A simple walk around the block is a good physical activity for your aging parents. It allows both of you to enjoy some fresh air and shake off that sense of cabin fever.
Walking with your parents also offers you an opportunity to talk with them about life, how they are feeling, and any other things that pique their interests. In a nutshell, it allows you to forge a stronger bond. So next time you visit your mom and/or dad in their hospice care facilities, go with them for a walk.
#2 Let Them Participate in a Senior Experience Program
There are many park districts and senior activity centers that offer exercise programs tailored for older adults. If your elderly loved one is not enrolled yet in any of these programs, find one and encourage them to join. You could even offer to pay for the first few months of their membership. Not only will these exercise programs lead them to a healthier and more active lifestyle. But it also serves as an avenue for them to meet new people and forge friendships.
#3 Host a Coffee Date
An all too common reason why older adults miss out on friendships is because of their mobility issues. As our parents get older by the minute, some become physically incapable of driving by themselves.
However, you can help out by offering to host a coffee date for them and their friends. Playing hostess while your elderly parents catch up with their friends is something that they will surely appreciate. It allows them to reconnect with their remaining friends and relive the memories they have cherished.
#4 Teach Them How to Video Call
Admittedly, our elderly parents are not that savvy when it comes to the latest technology. However, it does not mean we do not introduce the comforts and ease of chatting or video calling.
Take time to teach them the basics of operating a computer or smartphone. Teach them how to use Skype or any other messaging app for them to be able to talk with friends and family in real-time. Teach them how to send pictures and how to take them using their smartphones.
Though it might not be an easy feat, it sure is worth seeing them learning new things. Plus, it helps do away with the feeling of isolation, knowing they can easily reach their family and friends anytime they want.
#5 Tap into Their Interests
Surely, your mom and/or dad had a couple of interests during their younger days. It could be any activity like fishing, painting, pottery making, or dancing. But as time went on, especially with raising a family or focusing on their career, they might have lost touch with their hobbies.
It is never too late, though, for them to go back to these long-lost interests. Help them get back into any of these previous interests. It is never easy, though, to give advice and recommendations to your elderly parents. Most often, they would be dismissive of any ideas that contradict theirs. Take time, though, and give a lot of patience in showing them the benefits of staying active.
How to Encourage Your Elderly Parents
- Approach Discussion Tactfully. When opening up with your elderly parents, always have a reputable source to back your claim — whether it is a family doctor or a reliable online resource.
- Be Respectful. Though your roles have reversed now, it does not permit you to be dismissive of your parent’s opinion regarding the matter. Show respect while discussing your proposed plan with them.
- Listen to Them, not just Listen. Once you have discussed and explained your proposed activity with them, let your parents respond. Even if they have trouble finding the words to communicate with you, never interrupt them. Give them time and space to process their thoughts regarding the matter.
Everything about you changes as you get older. As one member of the family approaches old age, it can be challenging for everyone. Nonetheless, the pointers listed above will surely help you navigate this new territory your family is traversing.