Studies show that lifestyle factors significantly contribute to overall wellbeing as we get older. Staying active can help people stay healthy as they age. Day to day habits such as regular physical activity, cognitive training, and social engagement is believed to be the important factors that help prevent cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia or slow down the progression of the illness.
The benefits of regular physical activity are extensive regardless of people’s age. However, regular exercise becomes particularly beneficial as we age.
Research shows that regular exercise has the power to extend independence, reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, decrease the risk of developing chronic diseases and even mortality. But, research also shows that seniors are the least likely to engage in regular physical activity. So, it is important to motivate the aging population to participate in activities.
Reduce The Risk Of Alzheimer’s By Exercising
Regular exercise protects our brain from Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia by stimulating its plasticity, that is, stimulating the brain to form new neural connections and maintain the existing ones. Activities such as walking, swimming, yoga, jogging, or cycling are beneficial regardless of a person’s fitness level or age.
Also, cognitive training that involves challenging the brain by playing games, learning new things, or practicing memorizing techniques can improve the brain’s plasticity and flexibility, therefore reducing the risk of dementia.
Finally, social contact and social stimulation may protect a person against dementia later in life and significantly increase life satisfaction. So, encouraging seniors to engage in their community and social circles is vital to their wellbeing.
How to Encourage Seniors to Be Active
Identify Activities that Seniors Enjoy
Aging adults are more likely to engage in activities they find enjoyable. By helping a senior select the activity that he or she finds pleasurable the chances are greater they will carry on with the activity.
Aging adults may have health problems or injuries that discourage them from participating in physical, mental, or social activities. Your support is vital to their confidence and self-esteem.
Schedule Activity into Their Day
Whether it is physical activity or get-together with friends, make sure to schedule the activity in senior’s day and to set time aside for it during the day. This routine will boost the senior’s motivation and provide something to look forward to.
Encourage Them to Volunteer
Volunteering in the local community can help reduce or prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness, as it provides the seniors with a sense of purpose. At the same time, volunteering is a great opportunity for your seniors to socialize and maintain independence.
Encourage Them to Invite Peers to Participate
The company of peers is a great way to boost senior’s participation in different activities. If they know they have someone who will join them, seniors will feel more confident and willing to participate in sports, gatherings, or other activities.
Some activities that your senior may find enjoyable include gardening, walking, swimming, dance, lifelong learning, active games, art and crafts, and volunteering.