Getting a stubborn senior to become more active can be the most difficult thing in the world at times. Many sons, daughters, and caregivers struggle with the right way to approach their elder in regards to getting more exercise. This can be especially difficult if the elder has some sort of disability that limits their options for exercise. As a caregiver or loved one it is important to approach them about it in way that makes them comfortable but carries a sense of urgency that they must make a change. Here are some tips for getting an elder to become more active and take that first step towards a healthy lifestyle.
Educate them on the benefits of exercise
Don’t assume they know what’s healthy and what is not but don’t talk to them like they are dumb either. Educate them on body fat, muscle endurance, atrophy, and cardiovascular health. Help them understand where they are at and where they should be for their age and size. Help them come up with a game plan and set goals. A person is more likely to pursue something they can see with a reasonable distance; good health is the same way. Make a plan with them to lose weight or to be able to exercise for a certain period of time by a certain date. As long as they see the finish line and have someone there to remind them to keep going, they will be less likely to give up.
Connect them with people who can assist in finding the right activity
It’s very easy to tell an elder to get back to doing an activity they were once passionate about but the fact of the matter is most of the time they can’t do it alone. Even if it is an activity they can do alone like jogging there will still be challenges to getting up to do it every day. Have them meet with a friend every day at a particular time and go for a walk or a swim. If your elder knows enough people who are willing, have them meet at a local pool for a game of pool volleyball. Getting motivated is much easier when there is a supporting cast out there with you.
Have them See A Doctor before starting any Exercise Routine
Some people don’t accept it until it is staring them in the face. If you sense your elder’s health has declined so much that if they don’t start an exercise program soon they could be in serious trouble then have the doctor tell them. It’s a pain but sometimes our elder loved ones will not acknowledge a problem unless a professional tells them it’s there. As the doctor what sort of activities they can do and how they can go about getting healthier.
Cheryl Swanson is a geriatric health writer who continues to enjoy 12K runs well into her fifties. She enjoys helping elders stay active on their feet in her writing for Justwalkers, a leading supplier of rolling walkers.