Helping your elderly relatives exercise can be hard work, but it is vital to maintain their sense of independence. Not only that, but it can also help them live longer as it encourages a healthier lifestyle.
The chances of illness and chronic disease are hugely reduced with regular exercise. Those who do tend to have improved immune and digestive functioning, better blood pressure and bone density, and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.
How exercise benefits your grandparents
Exercise will have a multitude of positive side effects for your grandparents, but what are these specifically?
First things first, it will help prevent disease and help keep the body’s overall functions working, which, if you are of senior age, can sometimes become compromised. Yet it is not only physical health that will be improved as mental health will also flourish with exercise. Exercise produces endorphins which relieve stress and leave the person feeling happy and satisfied. It also helps facilitate good sleep, which can be difficult to achieve when you’re slightly older.
Flexibility and strength are also greatly enhanced with exercise, meaning that older adults will be at lesser risk of falls which can take a long time to recover from. Cognitive function is also improved in the same vein, leading to a lower risk of developing dementia.
To top off all the benefits, exercise is also an excellent opportunity for some social engagement, ridding grandparents of a feeling of loneliness or depression. The key here is to help them find an exercise they love so that it doesn’t feel like a chore.
What exercises should they do?
Your grandparents needn’t do anything too strenuous in order to benefit their health, and some of these can even be done sitting down. However, if your grandparents are relatively mobile, why not take them on regular walks to the park or the shops.
And there are lots of ways you can make exercising as fun as possible for them: show them that exercise can be done anywhere – even in front of their favorite TV program, make sure they have the right equipment to complete exercises safely, watch a demonstration video with them before attempting any moves and finally, workout together to ensure they are doing everything correctly and to provide support.
What to do if they get an injury?
It is always a worrying time if your grandparents get an injury, but it’s good to know that you are helping speed up their recovery by just being there. Focus on providing emotional support and allowing them to talk to you about what happened and process the incident. Don’t feel like you have to offer advice to them; simply being there and listening is enough, as they will deal with what happened at their own pace.
Make sure they keep any appointments with doctors as monitoring progress is especially important for older adults. It can also be difficult to keep on top of multiple appointments, so any help will be most appreciated. And it’s not just doctors they may have appointments with; they may also need to speak to compensation teams about what has happened.
Ensure they don’t push themselves too much as this could lead to further risk of injury on top of what they have already experienced. Many older adults who are suffering from an injury, find a personal alarm reassuring. This can be triggered if they stumble or fall.
Movement is extremely important for elderly adults, especially if they have had orthopaedic surgery. Contrary to belief, movement can help a hip replacement to heal better while following doctors’ orders.