You must have noticed that as your parents are ageing, their interest in physical and social activities are decreasing. They are more glued to television or are just sitting idle. It is well documented that chronic pain or other conditions can make once-active adults become less active in their senior years.
Staying active can help preserve a sense of independence , as well as helps in lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression or dementia ,associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Keeping fit and healthy in old age is important, for both physical health and emotional wellbeing. Finding ways to keep your loved one’s active is one positive step from your side in caring for them.
Here are just a few ways that you can encourage your aging parents to try something new when it comes to activity and engagement.
1. Daily walking with them or arrange a companion they like to talk to.
A simple walk around your neighbourhood is a wonderful way to get them refreshed and breathe in fresh air. It is a low impact exercise, recommended for at least 30 minutes every day for everyone. You may arrange a neighbour or relative or offer to walk with them and make it more enjoyable with your lovely talks.
2. Enrol in community activities.
Find the ongoing community activities in your area and encourage your aging parents to attend the activities. These classes will enable them to engage in fun filled activities and foster friendships. Arrange the transport, if required. Staying active is as much about mental stimulation and flexing the mind as it is about keeping the body fit.
3. Encourage them to create or join a senior kitty in their own housing society.
Your parents must be losing out on friendships owing to transportation issues. Help them find, create, or join a kitty programme and connect with their peers in the same society. They can play games, host afternoon teas, and join other sociable activities. This will keep them socially engaged and happy.
4. Teach your loved one how to video call.
Thanks to cell phones and free apps, your aging loved one can now chat with friends and family. Take the time to teach your loved one how to use this technology ,so that they can chat with someone, whenever they feel like.. This will resolve transport and travel issues and your loved ones can meet online and chat in real time with their peers.
5. Engage them in charitable activities
Encouraging your parents to participate in volunteering. You can find the nearest organisation and help them extend help in the form of cash or kind. They can help in teaching orphans, packing food or clothes, knitting or supervising these activities in their own capacity for the charitable causes. Encourage them to form a mutual aid group so that they can extend their help to their peers in a time of need.
6. Enrol in online classes of their choice - yoga, meditation, music, language etc
With adults aged 65 and spending an average of 10 hours or more in a sedentary position, it’s important that you encourage your ageing parents to engage in as much physical and mental activity as possible. There are also some yoga positions that can be achieved while seated, and practising meditation regularly can also reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression.
7. Check in Frequently
When your parents were more independent, you may have only checked in via phone monthly. However, now that they are getting older, it is time to increase the frequency of your contact, both by phone and in person. Certain life events, such as losing a spouse or special friend, no longer being able to drive, or hitting a milestone birthday often signal the need to check in more frequently. In-person contact can also go a long way in reducing the effects of loneliness.