As we age, there is no question that our minds and bodies go through many changes, and many of them are not exactly welcome ones. However, it would be a mistake to fall victim to the opinion that aging is an automatic sentence to poor health. Many seniors stay mentally and physically healthy well into their golden years. The key? Staying active.
If you are looking for ways to promote physical and mental health in your aging parents, here are a few activities that many seniors enjoy. Many of these are things that your parents could do either alone or with family members and friends.
Activities for Mental Health
Keeping Mom or Dad’s brains busy will do wonders to keep them mentally sharp and focused. Many seniors enjoy mentally stimulating activities such as reading and writing, but adding in some new or varied choices can give their minds a fresh challenge.
There is no end to the number of card games and board games that are available to play. You and your parents may enjoy bringing back some of the classics (like Monopoly, checkers, or cribbage) or you may find it more exciting to try to learn a few new ones together. Games are also a great activity in which to include grandchildren of many ages.
Maybe your parent would enjoy taking up the weekly crossword puzzle. Or if they are more interested in numbers, games like Sudoku could be a great fit. And believe it or not, even playing Bingo can be a real mental workout, especially when playing several cards at the same time.
Learn a new skill.
Painting, drawing, and other arts and crafts activities are mentally engaging at any age. Your parent may enjoy learning on their own, or they may find that they enjoy taking a class to help them perfect a new skill.
Taking any kind of class will help to keep your parent’s mind active and healthy. Has Dad always had an interest in photography? Does Mom wish her computer skills were a little sharper? Most of us have interests that we would love to pursue given the chance. Find out what appeals to your parents and encourage them to pursue it. Check out your local senior center or adult education facility for available courses.
Activities for Physical Health
Take a Walk.
You may enjoy taking a stroll around the neighborhood together, or you could take a drive and explore new scenery. Supportive, well-fitting footwear will keep Mom or Dad safe and comfortable on your journeys.
Low Impact Activities.
Swimming, biking, or golf are all easy on the joints. Dancing is another fun, low-impact way to stay active. If it involves remembering certain steps, it also carries the benefits of being mentally engaging.
Get out in the Garden.
Believe it or not, gardening is great exercise. Digging in the dirt, pulling weeds, and watering plants will give your muscles a real work-out. Many seniors find that gardening is easier if they use a gardening stool and long-handled tools that lessen the need to bend over. You and your parent will be rewarded for your hard work with healthier bodies and beautiful flowers or vegetables as well!
Exercise for Seniors. Many gyms offer low-impact exercise programs designed especially for seniors. Water aerobics or yoga are both popular senior fitness options.
Activities for Social Health
The value of staying socially active can’t be over stated. Social interactions have many mental, emotional, and physical benefits. However, if your parent is restricted by limited mobility or if there aren’t many friends or family nearby, keeping up a healthy social life can be challenging. It’s not impossible though!
Many of the suggested activities for mental and physical health are also excellent opportunities to get out and interact with people. Here are a couple more options to add to you list:
Go Out Together.
Some things are just better when you have company. Concerts, movies, theater, or other events are a perfect excuse to get out of the house and spend some time together. Keep an eye out for things that you think your parent would enjoy.
Be Part of a Community.
Maintaining friendships creates a sense of belonging and can help aging parents to avoid loneliness. Many seniors fill this need by staying active in a religious group. Others may prefer to seek out friends at a local community or senior center. If your parent seems hesitant to take the first step, it may be helpful to accompany them for a time or two until they are more comfortable.
Enlist the Help of Technology.
Distance is no longer an excuse for losing touch with loved ones. Options such as Skype and FaceTime have an advantage over a run-of-the-mill phone call because they give your parent a chance to see the person on the other end in addition to hearing their voice. They also allow for group conversations, so you can sit down together and chat with family and friends who are unable to visit in person.
Social networks such as Facebook or Instagram are another great way to keep in touch. Even if they are hesitant at first, many seniors find that they really enjoy viewing the videos and photos that their loved ones post. And you may find that Mom or Dad will be inspired to post a few photos of their own!
Visit the Davis Community’s Assisted Living and SNF in Wilmington NC
If you or loved one are no longer capable of living a safe, independent lifestyle, then call the Davis Community today at 910-686-7195 or simply complete and submit our online information request form. We provide exceptional assisted living and skilled nursing services in Wilmington NC with a strong and supportive environment where your loved one will feel welcomed and part of an active community. Get to know the difference today — schedule a visit to the Davis Community!