Staying active has benefits at every age, which is why is ideal when seniors and caregivers can encourage one another and work toward common goals.
Exercise helps relieve stress, strengthens muscles, and even helps manage high blood pressure, diabetes and other conditions. Exercises like Kegels can even help individuals better manage incontinence by strengthening the pelvic muscles that control urine flow.
Staying active is just as important for caregivers. With the challenging roles they fill, staying happy and healthy makes them better caregivers.
Here are five ideas for making a move toward better health:
1. Aiming for at least thirty minutes of moderate exercise most days meets the recommendation for most adults. Examples of activities that caregivers and their loved ones can enjoy together include walking, bicycling, gardening, water exercises, yoga and resistance band exercises.
2. Caregivers and seniors can motivate one another to keep active. Patient, positive persuasion has a higher rate of success than coercion. Reminding a loved one of exercise’s effects on health, well being and longevity often is the best approach. Other family members or friends might join in the activity to provide praise and encouragement.
3. Setting and working toward goals together can be motivating and rewarding. An example is teaming up to participate in a community event, such as a 1-mile walk or even a 5K. A senior can begin with short walks, journaling her progress while reaching small, manageable goals along the way.
4. It’s important to consult a physician before beginning any exercise program. A senior may be reluctant to discuss medical problems with family members for fear of loss of independence, so it’s important to encourage a loved one to be honest with his doctor.
5. A regular exercise program is more effective when seniors and caregivers also follow healthy eating habits, stay hydrated, get plenty of sleep, and find ways to manage stress.
(This article by Dianna Malkowski originally appeared on the Caregiving Partnership blog. Dianna Malkowski is a Board Certified Physician Assistant and Mayo Clinic trained nutritionist specializing in diabetes, cancer, wound healing, therapeutic diets and nutrition support.)
About R.O.S Therapy Systems: R.O.S. Therapy Systems began as a backyard project in 2010. Scott Silknitter was searching for tools to help his mother care for his father, Roger Owen Silknitter, during a 25-year fight with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. That project became a personal mission to help all family caregivers. From family caregiver training and activity books to mobile apps to activity systems, R.O.S. has grown to become a single-source provider of informational “how to’s” and a growing provider of adaptive tools for the millions of husbands, wives, children, and family members that become caregivers.
Common sense advice and instruction based on proven principles of communication, engagement, and daily living are the heart of everything R.O.S. offers for family caregivers. Improving quality of life for caregivers is our mission, and designing everything for a family caregiver struggling with a loved one is the starting point. Whether it is dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s, ALS, stroke, visual impairment, developmental disabilities, or any other issue that forces someone to care for a loved one, R.O.S. and its Caregiving 101 program are here to help.