Our thanks to Jill Palmer, who researched and wrote this article.
Finding ways to stay active is crucial if older adults are to stay in control of their physical and mental health, so seniors must maintain an active body and challenge the brain with stimulating and enjoyable activities. Here are some ways to get started.
Stay in Motion
A sedentary lifestyle can be dangerous for seniors because it quickly leads to physical infirmity and a general feeling of listlessness. Some form of regular physical exercise is very important. There are many easy, non-threatening ways to get the heart rate up and increase blood flow. Take a walk every day, either around the neighborhood or around the mall with friends. Senior centers often offer exercise or yoga classes. If you’re interested in a gym membership that’s ideal for senior citizens, consider the SilverSneakers program, which is a program with a nationwide reach: Seniors have access to thousands of gyms and YMCAs throughout the US. The program is made available to seniors through some Humana Medicare Advantage plans.
Socializing with friends bestows a host of mental and physical benefits for older adults, including stress alleviation, reduced anxiety, heightened self-esteem, and improvements in cardiovascular health and the immune system. Socialization also improves cognitive functioning, boosts memory and helps with concentration. It also helps stave off the symptoms of dementia and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. If you and friends love your coffee, make a weekly date to spend an hour or two at your favorite local coffee shop or do some shopping together. Engaging in a hobby together is an excellent way to stay connected with friends who have similar interests.
Stay Close to Family
Loss of regular contact with family is a leading cause of depression among seniors. Even if your loved ones live far away, you can still stay in contact via any number of media. FaceTime and Skype put a loved one’s face right in front of you on a computer or TV screen whenever you’re feeling lonely. Texting is a handy and easy way for seniors to stay in contact with family and friends, and social media can be a fun way to keep in touch and engage in online conversations.
Take Some Classes
Computer technology has made it easy to interact with the world from the comfort and safety of your own home. Many people, regardless of age, take college courses online or have gone back school and earned degrees from home. Working toward a college degree or finishing a degree you started years ago is a great way to challenge your mind and stay interested from day to day.
For seniors, remaining active is a necessity. Technology has made it possible for the elderly to interact with the world in ways that would have been difficult if not impossible just a few years ago. All you have to do is find what you love.