Both seniors and adult children agree: staying physically active is a major challenge for older adults, according to research conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care network.* But what does that mean to a senior’s everyday life and to family caregivers looking to help and motivate their loved ones?
For many older adults, inactivity is the first step down a road that leads to frailty and decline. Family caregivers as well as seniors want to do everything possible to keep that from happening. The National Institute on Aging says that seniors are more likely to stay active if they:
1. Think they will benefit from activities
2. Participate in activities they enjoy
3. Believe the activities are safe
Keeping an older adult’s mind, body and social life active can prevent or even reverse frailty, experts say. Family caregivers assisting seniors are in a unique position to help them figure out what activities will work best, according to Stephanie Studenski M.D., M.P.H., an authority and researcher of mobility, balance disorders and falls in older adults, who serves as director of clinical research for the University of Pittsburgh Institute on Aging.
Dr. Studenski says, “A key is simple activities that seniors find pleasurable or enjoyable. If possible, engage frail older individuals in what they’d like to do. And don’t separate the mind, body and soul activities. Seniors need to stay active doing things they find meaningful and helpful to others, even if they can no longer get out of the house.”
The National Institute on Aging Exercise and Physical Activity Guide points out that regular exercise and physical activity are important to the physical and mental health of almost everyone, including older adults. They can help maintain and improve endurance, strength, balance and fitness; help improve the ability to do things; help manage and prevent diseases like diabetes, breast and colon cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease; and help reduce feelings of depression. Being active may also help improve mood and may maintain some aspects of cognitive function, such as the ability to shift quickly between tasks. Emerging data also suggests that engaging in social and productive activities may help maintain well-being.
For more information and to download these resources, go to: www.GetMomMoving.com
To download these resources, go to: ACTIVITIES FOR THE MIND BODY AND SOUL
*The Boomer Project (www.boomerproject.com) completed online interviews with 523 seniors and 1,279 adult caregivers, ages 35-62, with a parent, stepparent or older relative for whom they or someone in their household provides care.
CAREGivers from Home Instead Senior Care can make a difference in the lives of older adults and their families by providing support with activities of daily living to help keep them independent for as long as possible. For more information about Home Instead Senior Care visit www.homeinstead.com/greaterpittsburgh or call 1-866-996-1087