Are you caring for an elderly loved one? Here are some tips on incorporating healthy practices into their routine.
A focus on health at any age is important, but in the case of elderly individuals, healthy attitudes about physical activity and proper nutrition can greatly increase quality of life. Nutrition and exercise regimens are not intended to be a “one size fits all” solution, which is why families with elderly loved ones often look to elder care services in the Little Rock area often for guidance. According to the CDC, only 44% of adults over the age of 75 are considered physically active. Whether or not your loved one has a disability, a unique health and fitness plan is key to living a positive lifestyle. Here are some ideas for helping keep your loved one happy and healthy.
1. Water Aerobics
With a low impact, low stress environment that virtually eliminates fall risk during a session, it is easy to see why water aerobics are so popular among older Americans. The CDC notes that swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity among the elderly population, and in Little Rock, there are plenty of pools and athletic centers nearby you can visit. Whether offered through a facility or elder care program, a weekly water aerobics class is an excellent way to get healthy exercise without overexertion.
Part exercise, part socialization, and part sight-seeing, walking around the neighborhood with a friend or adult companion is a great way to get some fresh air while staying fit and limber. Before making walking a part of a regular routine, take the time to find comfortable orthotic shoes with plenty of support for your elderly loved one and help them utilize mobility assisting devices like a cane if recommended by their doctor.
3. Weight Lifting
Bench-pressing huge weights is not a realistic goal for an elderly individual with or without a disability, but using small weights over time can help strengthen their body’s muscles. Small hand weights are available in varieties as light as half a pound, letting the user make an easy transition into a new fitness regime.
If traditional weights are not available, canned goods, bottles of water, and other small handheld objects can be used to anytime and anywhere. Dr. David Herber, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at UCLA, warns that adults will lose muscle some mass beyond age 60, but weightlifting can help counter that expected loss.
Easy, repetitive movements are the safest form of exercise for elderly individuals with fall risk concerns, and dancing has the added bonus of being a social activity as well. Whether they enjoy a casual dancing class with friends or work in dancing as a social activity during community-based activities, there are many cardiovascular benefits to a light dance routine. Even if movement restrictions or disabilities prevent your love one from more formal dance moves, encouraging them to movie their arms and hands along with music is also a great workout.
5. Healthy Snacking
As important as it is to carefully monitor physical activity, food intake could make or break even the best health and wellness plan. If existing dietary habits are a concern, the first step is to talk with your loved one’s doctor about nutritional needs and make sure that everyone is on board. Evaluating meal durations and limiting unhealthy snacking habits are just as important as incorporating good eating habits.
If you need help finding the right programs to support your loved ones health, contact Integrity, Inc. to learn more about our elder care services based in Little Rock at 501-406-0442. We offer a comprehensive suite of programs and we are happy to help.