Retirement is a chance to take advantage of free time that the majority of us haven’t had for years. However as we get older, many elderly people have to scale down their activities for less strenuous hobbies. But this doesn’t mean being relegated to watching TV and reading books indoors all day. In fact, there are many ways that elderly relatives can stay active, happy and independent in their older years. Here are some low impact and cognitive activities that can keep your relatives healthy and happy, helping them keep their independence too.
Low Impact Exercise
Whether your relative was a bit of a sports man or woman in their day, or they’ve never really taken an interest in exercise before, it’s essential to stay fit and strong when you get older. Although many sports and exercises might be ruled out, activities such as swimming, walking and yoga can be excellent options for older people. Even if your relative is in a wheelchair, there are many sitting yoga exercises that they can do to maintain their strength and flexibility as much as possible.
Keeping the mind active can be just as important as the body in your later years, to prevent and delay the onset of dementia. It can also reduce boredom and loneliness with those who live alone. Of course, the TV is an essential source of entertainment for older people, but other things that you can buy for your relative include crosswords and Sudoku, jigsaws and games that are effective cognitive activities. Perhaps your relative had a hobby in their younger years such as painting, drawing or knitting – if so, they might discover a new lease of life for these hobbies if you go out and buy them some new additions for their kit.
Gardening is considered to be an unbeatable source of activity for older people, and covers both of the above factors. You’ll obviously want to take care of the digging and landscaping beforehand to make it a safe and enjoyable area for them to work on, but it’s a worthwhile investment of time and money. Giving them a responsibility for gentle weeding or maintaining bedding plants can keep them occupied whilst giving them a source of low impact exercise. Especially in the summer months, gardening and spending time outdoors can significantly improve the wellbeing of older people.??
Above is just an introduction to the range of activities that can keep older people happy and busy in their later years. Some elderly people remain very active into their 70s and 80s. However particularly for those with limited mobility and deteriorating health, these activities are perfect for getting your relatives out and about, or simply making sure that they don’t get bored or lonely. If you think that your relative could use a little entertainment, exercise or help around the house, you should try to have a frank and open discussion with them over a cup of tea. You might even learn something new about their interests and past hobbies!
Kelly Gilour-Grassam, lover of words, writing for Locala HomeCare.