Over two million Americans over the age of 65 suffer from depression. Common illnesses in seniors like Alzheimer’s and heart disease can trigger and worsen depressive symptoms.
That’s why getting elderly people moving is so important. When seniors are active in their day-to-day life, they’ll be happier, healthier, and live longer.
If you’re worried about your senior parent’s inactivity, we can help. Keep reading to find the best activities for elderly people.
- Walking Clubs
Ten million Americans live with osteoporosis and a reduction in bone density.
Most osteoporosis cases are in elderly patients. That’s why making your parents more active is so essential.
Walking is one of the best activities for elderly people. It’s a low impact exercise that not only burns calories but can help maintain bone density.
Check with your local senior centers to see if there are walking clubs your parent can join. A club provides accountability and incentive for them to show up for their walk. They can also give you peace of mind knowing they’re in capable hands in case something were to go awry during their walk.
Websites like Meetup.com are another great resource to check for local clubs.
- Use Technology
Your parents might be resistant to the idea of using technology to stay active. You may have to do some encouraging to get them interested, but they might wind up loving our next idea.
Though outdated for most of us, Wii Sports is a great video game that your parents might love. They might not be able to shoot hoops on the basketball court or play a round of tennis anymore, but a game like Wii Sports, they can. The best part is that these sports can all be played from the comfort of their living room.
Studies show that exergaming can raise heart rates by up to 40%. This type of light intensity exercise is perfect for seniors looking to add more activity into their lifestyle.
Spending time in the water is one of the best physical activities for elderly people. Swimming is a very low-risk activity that’s also low impact. It can work every muscle group, too, providing a full-body workout for your parent.
A study of 1,700 men aged 70 and up showed that swimmers were 33% less likely to fall in their day-to-day life. If your parent falling is a serious concern for you, maybe suggest they take up swimming.
Going for a dip will not only improve their heart health but increase their strength and muscle tone, too. Swimming can improve their quality of life whether they’re doing solo laps or water aerobics with their friends.
- Play Games
Playing games is one of the best indoor activities for seniors. If they’re not into your Wii Sports idea, maybe a classic game of cards or puzzles will be more their style.
Games will not only challenge their mind, but they’re fun, too. Boggle is a great fast-paced game that is as fun as it is mentally stimulating.
A jigsaw puzzle will help your parents exercise their fingers and minds and also feel a sense of accomplishment. It’s essential to choose a puzzle that is suitable for their ability level, however. Something too easy might be offensive, while one that’s too difficult could be frustrating.
If your parent has Alzheimer’s or has a hard time seeing, search out puzzles specifically made for these conditions.
- Field Trips
If your parents live in a community with a large aging population, find local companies that offer field trips for seniors. They’ll pick your parents up from home and escort them around town with other people their age.
Seniors need to have social interactions. Not only will socializing make them less lonely, but it can also help them live longer and boost their immune systems, too.
If no companies offer field trips for seniors, consider putting one together yourself. Perhaps you can drive your parents and another elderly couple to a local museum or park.
Yoga isn’t just for the limber Lululemon-clad 20-somethings. Many recreation and community centers now offer senior citizen yoga classes for the aging population.
The stretching, breathing, and meditative practice of yoga can prove very beneficial for seniors. A yoga practice can help your parents improve their balance and reduce their risk of falling.
If your parents are anxious about osteoporosis, they might want to start a yoga practice. Studies suggest that yoga may also be able to help increase bone density.
Since yoga focuses a lot of mindful breathing and meditation, it can help ease anxiety and reduce stress levels.
We don’t recommend starting your parent with an at-home practice. Instead, connect them with a local yoga teacher to teach them the ropes. See if your senior citizen’s centers offer senior yoga or chair yoga classes and start there.
Once they have the basics under their belt, they can continue their practice in the comfort of their home.
Whether you believe it or not, gardening qualifies as exercise. Getting handsy with the dirt can burn up to 400 calories per hour, plus it’s one of the best stress-relieving and fun activities for elderly people.
A garden, be it flower or vegetable, is pleasing to the eyes, nose, and taste buds. There’s nothing like reaping the fruits of your labor after a season of veggie gardening.
You might be surprised to learn there are more benefits to this activity than meets the eye. Daily gardening can lower dementia risk by as much as 36%. It can also boost their psychological well-being.
Encourage Activities for Elderly People
It can be challenging to watch your parents as their age starts to show. By encouraging activities for elderly people, you can help slow the signs of aging. You can’t keep them young forever, but you can help them stay sharp and active for many years to come.
Keep reading our blog to find more tips for keeping your parents healthy.