Author: Alcibiades “Alci” Rives, RN and Director of Nursing
Whether someone was used to being alone or is suddenly missing out on social and physical activities, the pandemic can be causing stress and difficulty that might be somewhat alleviated by staying engaged. There are many benefits to staying active, and there are several ways in which to do this (even when advised to stay home). According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans:
“Being physically active makes it easier to perform activities of daily living, including eating, bathing, toileting, dressing, getting into or out of a bed or chair, and moving around the house or neighborhood. Physically active older adults are less likely to experience falls, and if they do fall, they are less likely to be seriously injured. “
Some guidelines include:
“-As part of their weekly physical activity, older adults should do multicomponent physical activity that includes balance training as well as aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
-Older adults with chronic conditions should understand whether and how their conditions affect their ability to do regular physical activity safely.”
Remember that for older adults with chronic conditions, it’s important to always talk to a physician when establishing a new workout routine. Many physicians are available through virtual visits, a service that our caregivers can help set up.
Physical activity also promotes independence and slows down the progress of some major illness. According to health and Human Services, there are also benefits associated with physical activities that reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and reduces risk for dementia in older adults.
Healthline provides a medically reviewed exercise plan for seniors that can be done at home. The article contains excellent visuals and examples for your loved one to use as a guide. Remember that our caregivers are available to help your loved one maintain a healthy schedule and ensure safe monitoring of any of these activities.
Along with physical health and wellness, we must not forget that maintaining a sharp mind also requires mindful engagements. To help pass some of the down time, or reducing screen time (TV, computers, etc.) there are many more activities that can be fun and beneficial for mental health.
These activities can be modified as needed depending on the needs of your loved one. Some ideas of stimulating activities for the older adult to try at home include:
- Reading, or our caregivers can assist with reading to your loved one. Reading is relaxing and enlists the readers imagination.
- Working on puzzles: crossword puzzles, sudoku, word searches, etc. The goal is to keep the individual engaged. Active working memory is the ability to retain information in your mind while working with that information, such as remembering the ingredients in a recipe.
- Baking or cooking: with the proper help, this can be a great task to pass the time (also a potentially delicious treat).
- Arts and crafts: The individual can practice drawing, scrapbooking and/or create cards that can be sent to family and friends.
Our caregivers will work with your loved one to explore different ideas at their pace. The ultimate goal is to explore different tasks and activities that promote a healthy schedule in your loved one’s life. Despite the current social restrictions related to this pandemic, it’s important to remind your loved one that remaining active throughout their day is essential for their health and overall well-being.