Your aging mom and dad may be struggling a little in doing everything they used to do, but it doesn’t mean that we’ll just let them give up on keeping up with what’s new and maintaining what they still have. Physical and mentalhealth can still improve or be maintained. We as children can still help our loving parents have an awesome quality of life, lengthen their lifespan, and make sure that they have something worthwhile to do – with or without us.
The guidelines of the CDC for physical activity are the constant for all adults, no matter how old. This suggests that being too old to exercise is out of the question. According to Dona Matthews Ph.D., “You can make time for creativity, play, outdoor time, nature exploration, community involvement, the arts, science experiments, or project learning.” Even seniors who’ve been living sedentary lives are encouraged to be physically active so that they can stay fit and healthy. Let us look at some of the activities you can do with your aging parents to keep them maintain their physical and mental health regardless of age.
Low Impact Sports
Basic courses in dancing, golf, and other low to moderate impact sports provide wonderful means of challenging your beloved seniors’ bodies and minds. You can pay for these classes as your birthday or Christmas gift to them. If you have a shy aging parent, this can be your way of encouraging them to get out, get moving, and meet new friends.
According to Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D., “Yoga increases body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, and calms and centers the nervous system.” The gentle stretching, breathing, and balancing techniques in yoga can alleviate joint pain, stiffness, and tension. Yoga can be a great starter activity for sedentary seniors. For parents who are seasoned sports enthusiasts, they can always do yoga for cool down and relaxation. It’s a great cure for stress, and it also relieves minor injuries and mobility problems.
This is one of the most suitable physical activities for our aging parents. It burns a lot of calories, stimulates the entire body, and yet doesn’t cause joint pain, unlike jumping rope, running, or other aerobic exercises. If you want, you can join them in their classes. There’s a range of movements from simple, moderate, and competitive. There are gymnasiums or village swimming pools that offer free or discounted rates for seniors. Take advantage of these.
Arts And Crafts
According to Nicole Pipitone, MAAT, LPC, “Art therapy establishes communication between people and allows a person to find a sense of clarity or understanding that may be difficult to do by using words alone.” Knitting, scrapbooking, and painting are mentally challenging arts and crafts activities that are relatively doable for every adult age level. These will enable your parents to preserve and even improve their fine motor skills, especially when they do a new technique daily. They can do these activities on their own at home or join a club or group in the neighborhood so they can socialize.
Tell your aging parents that you bought them arts and crafts membership cards for them. That would probably motivate them especially if you tell them it wasn’t cheap. When they’ve been joining the club for a few months, ask them to teach you what they learned from it. If they’ve mastered knitting, then let them teach you and the grandkids – make it a family tradition or something. It’ll surely make them proud and flattered. It would also increase their interest in learning new activities.
The outdoors offer loads of vitamins, which aging parents particularly need to prevent bone problems like osteoporosis. Vitamin D is also a weapon against depression and anxiety. However, for seniors who really don’t have the knack for exercise whether it’s outdoor or indoor, here are a few options to make your parents get up from that chair and spend quality time outdoors.
- Most of our aging parents love to tinker in the garden, so invest in things that make this hobby easier for them. You can buy them raised beds that they can take care of while standing.
- Walking and hiking clubs. They’ll love not only the walks but also the talks.
- Short vacation in the woods. If you can spare some extra, pay for a week’s vacation for your parents to stay in a cabin in the woods.
Retired life is a great time for your parents to travel if they’re well and able. Exploring other states or other countries can add vigor and strengthen their relationship as a couple, even if they’re already old. After all, building and strengthening bonds doesn’t depend on age. Cruising is also one great adventure for them, especially if they love traveling by boat. The entertainment, the food, and the music will stimulate them.
Remember that although your parents are considered seniors, they’re not limited to doing activities only under the ‘senior’ category. Allow them to feel young and let them discover their capabilities. Work with them on some activities. Accommodate your parents’ changing needs and desires. It’s not forever that we get to be with them.