Before you think that I have totally lost my marbles, I would like to point out that this subject is very close to my heart. I worked in a nursing home with dementia sufferers and elderly people and I take this subject very seriously. I also have two grandmothers (88 and 73 years old) and I am very close with both of them. They are both amazing and thankfully have many loving family members around them to keep them company and put a smile on their face. If you are worried about your grandparents, here are some top tips to keep them active:
How to help elderly family members become more active: top tips
Helping an elderly relative with any issues they have as they age can be a difficult time – especially if you’re unsure what the best course of action is.
Mobility can take a real hit as people enter their later years so we’ve put together this list a few top tips to help elderly relatives become more active.
Adapt their home to their needs
Our needs change over time and this means that the environment around us needs to change too. If an elderly relative struggles to get up the stairs in their home but doesn’t want to relocate or downsize to a bungalow then why not fit a stairlift? If their daily hygiene is becoming more difficult because they find it hard to get in and out of the bath tub then look at Premier Bathing walk in bath and shower options to give them a helping hand.
There are plenty of ways you can adapt their homes, from grab rails and outdoor ramps to more secure flooring and wider entrance points, and it’ll make a huge difference to their lifestyle.
Encourage social interaction
Elderly people can suffer from social isolation as they age. This is caused by a lack of contact with the outside world – something which is often caused or compounded by mobility issues. To help, encourage your relatives to interact with the local community. This could mean joining a local group of taking part in some light volunteer work.
Help them make arrangements so that they can get to any meetings or events and research the different options available for people in similar states of health to their own to give them the support they need.
Help them exercise
A big part of being active is having a regular exercise regime but this can be a little daunting for the elderly – especially if their joints aren’t what they used to be. To help them out, research low impact exercises and come up with a regime which they can manage. Speaking to healthcare professionals can help and there are plenty of exercises which can be completed from a seated position.
Returning to the previous point, you could also look for local exercise classes for your relative to attend – helping them to keep active and interact with the community.
Did you know that video games can actually make elderly people more active? According to research which was published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, elderly individuals who exercised regularly using video games noted an increase in activity levels.
The participants were put on an eight-week fitness programme which used interactive games to help them exercise (think of motion-detection games consoles like the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft X-Box Kinnect). By the end of the two-month period, more than half (52%) of over the over 60’s involved had increased their activity levels.
By investing in these games you could help an older relative to get access and improve their mental health and brain activity too. A little education may be needed to get elderly people comfortable using the technology, but it’s a great way to help bridge the gap between the younger and older age groups whilst boosting health and fitness levels too.