If you care for seniors, a big part of your
job is probably keeping them as active as possible.

But what counts as activity? And why is it so important?

Activity & the Elderly

People of all ages want to live full lives. But, for some, staying active becomes too difficult. For example:

  • A woman with arthritis may give up her favorite hobby of needlework because of arthritis pain.
  • A man with cancer may become depressed and sleep all day.
  • People who are confused may find it challenging to complete a game or puzzle and give up and do nothing.  

Maintaining an active lifestyle helps older adults enjoy a better quality of life. Most people are happy when life is a balance between:

  • Resting
  • Meeting daily needs (eating, toileting, etc.)
  • Socializing
  • Exercising
  • And having fun!

What counts as an activity?

There are three main types of activity:

  • Physical Activity (Walking, stretching, cleaning the house).
  • Mental Activity (Crossword puzzles, reading, writing).
  • Social Activity (Playing cards with a group, volunteering, attending church).

How to add more activity into your client’s daily routine.

Add Physical Activity

Encourage clients to get some physical activity each day. It can be walking (indoor or out), stretching, dancing (can be done in a chair), or even light housework, such as folding laundry or dusting tables.

Allow clients to assist with personal care as much as possible. Lifting an arm to brush their hair is a form of exercise. So is getting dressed and bending over to wash their own feet.

Make sure you know how much physical activity is allowed for each of your clients and keep your clients’ safety in mind at all times. Ensure they use any assistive equipment, such as a cane or walker, if ordered to do so.

Add Mental Activities

Find out what lights up your clients mentally! Mental activities include reading, writing, cooking, playing games, doing puzzles (crossword, sudoku, word search, and jigsaw puzzles), playing a musical instrument, and even singing.

Play music. If your client has a radio, ask if you can turn it to their favorite station.

Provide access to solitary games like cards for playing solitaire or books with crossword puzzles.

Use technology! If your client has a computer, encourage using it to look things up, keep in touch with family and friends through email, or locate family and friends on social networking sites like Facebook.

Add Social Activities

The options are endless! Examples of social activities your client may enjoy include socializing with friends and family, reminiscing (telling stories about the “good old times”), volunteering, group or team games, sharing a meal (picnics, barbeques, parties) or getting involved with a church or community senior center.

Locate members of a church group or other volunteer organization that would make visits to your clients.

Volunteering can give your client a sense of purpose, connectedness and the satisfaction of helping others in need. There are plenty of opportunities like packing care packages for troops overseas, organizing a coat drive for school kids, making blankets for sick children. Check out www.seniorcorps.org for volunteer opportunities all over the United States.

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