Keeping Seniors Active: How to Care for Aging Parents

Oct 17, 2022
Keeping Seniors Active: How to Care for Aging Parents

Staying active is important for keeping fit, physically and mentally, as we age — but finding things to do isn’t always easy for seniors. Here are seven ways you can help your parents stay active.

When most of us think of the upside of staying active, we think about the benefits that come from physical activity — benefits like a healthy body weight, reduced blood pressure, and stronger bones and muscles. But there’s another dimension to staying active — one that’s especially important for seniors. 

Data shows seniors who stay active physically and emtnally have lower risks of depression and cognitive impairment. Plus, they feel more engaged, more “needed,” and less isolated, too.

As a top-ranked geriatric care provider in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Blessings4Ever Home Care Agency offers an array of services to help seniors stay healthy and active — and to give adult children the peace of mind that comes from knowing their parents are well cared for. If you have an aging parent, here are seven things you can do to help them stay active as they get older.

1. Look for places they can volunteer

Most towns and cities offer places where a little volunteer help can make a big impact. Hospitals, libraries, schools, food pantries, and animal shelters are all likely possibilities. 

To find more options, try searching online for volunteer activities in your zip code, visit the VolunteerMatch website, or (for Philly residents) check out the Mayor's Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service website.

Some organizations have activities that can be done at home, too. A quick search for “virtual volunteering” turns up plenty of possibilities, or check out the Do Something website or the AARP volunteer webpage.

2. Physical exercise: Think outside the box

Walking is great,especially if you make a regular “date” to walk along with your parents. But other activities are good, too. 

Dancing, swimming, and senior yoga or tai chi can improve physical health and reduce stress. Even household shores, like gardening or small home improvement projects, count as exercise. The key to success: Pick activities your parents like, and let them change it up if they get bored. 

If your parents have arthritis or another issue that prevents them from regular exercises, check out local senior clubs for exercise programs developed just for their needs.

3. Help them enroll in a class

Many colleges and universities offer free or drastically reduced tuition for senior students. High schools frequently have non-credit classes for skills like cooking, photography, and other life skills. 

Look for an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute near you (Temple University has one, and so does the University of Delaware). These programs offer classes on a membership basis just for seniors. 

4. Suggest journaling

Writing in a journal is a great way to improve memory and maintain cognitive skills. Some parents might want to record memories for grandkids to read about later, while others may want to use a journal as a “freestyle” activity for whatever they’re thinking about at that time. 

It’s up to them. If your parents have tremors or problems holding a pen, shop around for writing tools made for people with physical restrictions.

5. Check out recorded books

Reading is a great way to combine pleasure with cognitive benefits, but aging eyes can make it hard to focus for long periods of time. Libraries and online services provide plenty of recorded options that can be downloaded and listened to for free.

6. Gift them a calendar

Many seniors feel more “in control” of their lives when they can plan things in advance and look forward to activities. Unless your parents really like tech, invest in a large-print calendar or planner and help them plan out some activities — from something as simple as watering their plants to special events, like upcoming birthdays or trips.

7. Enlist a companion

Our senior companions are trained in discovering unique, personalized ways to keep our clients engaged and active. If you’re encountering difficulty getting your parents to take part in activities, a little impartial assistance could be just what’s needed to get them more motivated.

Personalized, compassionate care

Whether your loved one needs a little help with dressing or personal hygiene, doctor visits or other errands, household chores or pet care, or just some one-on-one companionship, Blessings4Ever Home Care Agency can help. 

To learn more about the services we offer and how we can design a custom care plan just for your loved one’s unique needs, call 215-425-3950 or book an appointment online today.