Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.
This couldn’t ring more true for senior citizens in home care. While appreciating that some clients may have limited mobility, there are still a myriad of fun senior activities to engage in. For an elder, activity is key. A complete home care plan should have fun activities for adults that cater to their mental, social and physical well-being.
In this article, we will go over the best activities for senior citizens, including mental, physical, and emotional exercises.
Mental Activities for Elderly Citizens
The same way physical exercise strengthens and trains our bodies, cognitive exercises stimulates the brain and helps develop new connections as people age.
The more you challenge your brain, the better it becomes at processing new information. This contributes to a senior’s mental health.
Unlike physical activity that might be limiting to seniors because of limited mobility and chronic conditions, mental and cognitive exercises allow most citizens to participate.
Here are some mental activities for elderly people:
- Puzzles, Sudoku and word games are great for improving and maintaining cognitive function.
- Card games.
- Chess and strategy games like checkers.
- Reading books, journals and newspapers.
- Knitting and sewing. These boost hand-eye coordination. The fact that sewing and knotting can be done anywhere and even solo also means it’s an encouraging exercise for seniors to try out even at home.
- Woodworking can bring out artistic creativity, harness hand-eye coordination as well as give a level of physical activity.
Physical Activities for The Elderly
Physical activity is extremely important. This is why:
- It improves muscle strength which is important for movement and general life activities.
- Exercising releases feel-good hormones, which elevate your mood, and give you better sleep.
- It reduces your risk of some cancers as well as type 2 diabetes.
- Regular exercise helps strengthen joints and bones which can lower your susceptibility to osteoporosis.
- It helps lower blood sugar and cholesterol.
- Exercising helps keep your weight in check.
A senior’s physical health regimen does not necessarily have to be repetitive, boring or strenuous. Mix things up with different activities to keep things interesting as well as incorporate the seniors ideas of what makes an exciting workout session for them.
Apart from eating well-balanced meals, getting sufficient sleep and engaging in mentally stimulating activities, physical activities help keep the body agile, which also keeps the brain alert.
Even for seniors with limited mobility, try and avoid inactivity as much as possible and find low impact exercises that they can comfortably manage. To plan an elder’s activity, take their level of mobility, general health and chronic conditions into consideration. It’s beneficial to plan an elder’s activity around exercises that will also ease any symptoms they might have and keep encouraging them to exercise.
Conditions such as arthritis can be greatly helped with regular swimming.
Physical activities include both home activities and senior outdoor activities such as:
- Nature walks and hiking.
- Swimming. Swimming is a great low impact activity even for people with diminished physical strength.
- Yoga, meditation and deep breathing techniques.
- Aerobics and water aerobics.
- Cooking and baking.
- Bike riding works out several muscle groups simultaneously. It also allows for the great outdoors and fresh air.
- Balance exercises: walking backwards, walking on toes, heel walking and standing from a seating position all help to improve balance.
While the specific activity depends on the senior’s physical health and degree of mobility, low impact activities like swimming, cooking, light gardening are great for most senior citizens and can even help with joint pain and inflammation.
Cooking and light gardening also tie into regular home activities that need to be accomplished anyway. All in all, a caregiver should keep encouraging exercises.
Social Health for Seniors
For a senior, social health is crucial, and socializing tops the list of enjoyable senior outdoor activities. Maintaining and feeding social connections should top a senior’s social health activities. However, for seniors, an extra effort has to be made to ensure they keep such connections. This goes a long way in feeding their hearts and souls and preventing depression as well as failing physical health as they advance in age.
Some benefits of keeping socially connected in the sunset years include:
- Better cognitive function which can prevent the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Socializing also entails fun, stress relieving activities which are beneficial as well. The people around seniors need to also keep the encouragement exercises going such as positive affirmation. This motivates the seniors to keep going and taking care of themselves.
- It fosters good emotional health, elevates your mood and keeps depression at bay.This is also great for a senior’s mental health and stability.
- Research shows that people with fulfilling relationships tend to sleep better than those who don’t. Feelings of isolation and loneliness affect sleep patterns.
- Social ties also increase one’s longevity. Friends and loved ones help you deal with life’s stresses and play a part in encouraging you to take better care of yourself.
Some energizing senior outings ideas include:
- Senior activities events and gatherings.
- Religious services and events.
- Spending time with their grandkids.
- Game nights are also excellent senior outings ideas.
- Depending on the seniors ideas and interests, you can plan volunteering activities around the community in soup kitchens, teaching a class and so on.
- Taking a class say a painting, pottery class and so on that are comfortable and encourage elder activity and participation.
- Seniors parties that allow them to mix, have fun and converse with like-minded peers.
Personal touch home care activities
Personal touch care refers to the ability to personalize and plan care around an individual and their regular home activities. This is excellent because it eliminates the boredom of planned group activities.
The monotony might discourage the senior from engaging in them because they do not enjoy the particular activities nor the rigidity of it all. Replacing these with fun stress relieving activities makes more sense.
With personal touch care, the caregiver is able to plan around the individual’s day and fill it with fun activities for adults that they will enjoy and will happily engage in. Further, a caregiver can customize activities to suit the individual’s health condition and level of mobility.
For this kind of care, the caregiver can find out how their client would like to spend their time and see how best to incorporate their ideas. For example, for wildlife lovers, there are many excellent wildlife productions available on DVD that you can bring home to watch. The same goes for art and music. Even learning a new language today can be done on the internet via tutorials.
All in all, with a bit of planning and creativity, you are able to plan activities that are engaging and useful mentally, physically and socially. In turn, your home care clients can reap the benefits of overall wellness and a better quality of life and longevity. In addition, ensure to keep the client at the center of any activities and integrate as many of their ideas into their care plans as possible, as well as encouragement exercises to fuel them to keep going.