We may have noticed that when our parents get older, their choices of recreational activities and the likes change.
Since our bodies start deteriorating as we get older, it is not uncommon to see our parents or other older adults change their social calendar and physical activities just to avoid aggravating their existing chronic pains and other medical conditions.
As our parents welcome their twilight years, they become less active—a far contrast to the once robust and energetic adults we know. However, it does not mean that they forgo being active and engaged when they hit old age. Whatever stage you are in your life, it is still essential to lead an active lifestyle.
Why Staying Active Is Important to Older Adults
Why do older adults need to be active? One simple reason is this: people who are active and engaged are healthier. In addition, a study has shown that older adults who are engaged and connected are happier than their contemporaries who lead a sedentary lifestyle.
But even with these glaring facts and studies, it is still hard to convince older adults, including our aging parents, to be more active and engaged. Yet, this should not stop us from giving them continued encouragement to be healthy.
Help them understand the multitude of benefits of leading an active and engaged lifestyle. Even older patients in nursing homes with dialysis care partnerships are encouraged to remain active. Therefore, it is no excuse for your aging parents not to care about their health.
Here’s how you can foster an active lifestyle for your aging parents.
1. Teach Them How to Readjust
Just like everyone else, our parents may have a hobby or activity they are pretty much fond of. But since they are older now, it could be that the things they find enjoyable when they are younger are more difficult these days.
For us concerned about their happiness and well-being, we can help them adapt to the changes happening in their body and overcome any current obstacles.
For instance, your mother might enjoy doing crochet, especially during her younger days. But now that she is older, it could be that her eyesight is failing. What you can do is take her to an eye doctor to get her the right glasses fit.
2. Keep Them Busy
The second easiest way to encourage your elderly parents to be more physically active and engaged is by allowing them to participate in household chores. Older people want to feel that they are still relevant, that they are essential.
Letting your elderly parents take responsibility for even the littlest of things around the house fosters their sense of independence. Thus, let them indulge in whatever they fancy at home, like gardening, baking, or light cleaning.
3. Encourage Them to Be Social
Most elderly adults tend to shy away from as they age. They prefer to be reclusive, and it is not suitable for their mental and physical health. What you can do is encourage your aging parents to take part in social activities in the community.
For instance, plenty of senior centers and park districts offer group exercise programs for seniors. There are also community groups that organize dances to gather older people who have a passion for dancing.
Encourage your aging parents to come out of their shells and take part in any community’s social activities. You could even join these activities with them for a child-parent moment.
4. Go on Daily Walks
Well, not everyone enjoys social gatherings. We cannot force our elderly parents if they prefer not to join any of those aforementioned events. After all, there are still plenty of activities they could enjoy that help them stay active and engaged.
One of these activities is going on daily walks. Doing a low-impact exercise such as talking can help older adults. Doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily to stay fit and healthy.
5. Make Them Techy
Lastly, to help your aging parents stay active and engaged is to help them learn the wonders of digital technology.
Nowadays, no matter where we are, we can easily keep in touch with our loved ones. Since traveling is still a bit difficult because of the COVID-19 pandemic, your elder parents can always reach you whenever they want.
Teach them how to use instant messaging, start a video call, and use social media like Facebook. Your aging parents can utilize social media to reconnect with long-lost friends and colleagues. They can even make new friends when they join social media groups they share a common interest with.
It could be difficult getting your aging parents to realize the benefits of staying active and engaged. But remain patient in helping them understand. It will be worth it.