As older adults age, maintaining an active and socially engaging lifestyle becomes increasingly important for both physical health and mental well-being. As the American Heart Association reports, being more active can help seniors:

  • Lower or manage blood pressure
  • Improve blood flow (circulation)
  • Keep weight under control
  • Boost levels of good cholesterol
  • Prevent bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis (brittle bones)

“It’s true, 70 is the new 60 … but only if you’re healthy,” states the American Heart Association, now in its 100th year as a nonprofit, public health organization. “The important part is that those extra years are generally healthier years.”

Research shows that older adults and seniors who stay active are able to maintain a better quality of life and independence for longer as they age. In addition, keeping active can help delay or even prevent age-related chronic illnesses and diseases.

Even knowing these and many other benefits of staying active, many older adults and seniors may need some extra motivation to leave the cozy comfort of their home and engage in heart-healthy activities. Here’s a compassionate guide to help families encourage their senior loved ones to step out and enjoy a more active, fulfilling lifestyle:

Personalize the Activity

Everyone has hobbies and interests that light them up. Tap into your senior loved one’s passions or pastimes to inspire them. Whether it’s gardening, painting, bird watching, or attending a music class, make sure the activity aligns with their interests. Personal relevance is a powerful motivator!

Establish a Routine

Humans, especially seniors, thrive on routine. Try scheduling regular outings or activities. This could be a weekly trip to a community center, a daily morning walk, or an art class every Thursday. The consistency adds a sense of predictability and comfort, which can make the idea of leaving the house less daunting.

Highlight Social Opportunities

Isolation can be a significant issue for many seniors. Highlight the social aspect of the activities—mention friends they’ll meet or interesting new people they’ll get to know. Knowing they’ll be in a supportive, friendly environment can be a strong motivator to get out and about.

Ensure Comfort and Safety

One of the primary reasons seniors might resist leaving their homes is the fear of discomfort or safety concerns. Assure them by planning ahead. Ensure the destination is senior-friendly, with ample rest spots, accessible entryways and supportive amenities. Knowing that their comfort and safety are prioritized can help ease their apprehensions.

Make it Easy and Accessible

Transportation can be a significant barrier for seniors who would like to get out more but aren’t able to drive. Offer convenient, comfortable options—whether it’s driving them yourself, arranging for a caregiver to accompany them or organizing accessible public transport or shuttle services. When the journey is as easy as the destination is appealing, participation is more likely.

Involve Them in Planning

Involvement in the planning process can significantly increase a senior’s interest and excitement in pursuing activities and getting out of the house. Discuss options together, let them pick activities, and involve them at every stage of planning. This empowerment can transform reluctance into anticipation.

Start Small

The idea of leaving the house can be overwhelming to a senior, especially someone who was cooped up during the pandemic. Begin with small, short outings to build confidence gradually. A quick visit to a nearby park, a short trip to a local café or a brief morning walk can serve as easy, manageable starts.

Emphasize the Benefits

Sometimes, a gentle reminder of senior health benefits can help. Discuss how staying active can lead to improved physical health, sharper cognitive functions and better mood levels. Knowing the why behind the activity can make the how much easier to embrace.

Lead by Example

Share your own experiences with staying active and how it has positively impacted you. Better yet, participate in activities together when possible. Demonstrating the joy and benefits firsthand to your senior loved one can be incredibly persuasive.

Engagement and an Active Lifestyle Have the Power to Transform Senior Lives

At Amada Senior Care, members of our care teams consistently witness the transformative power of engagement and activity as part of our caregiving mission of enriching the lives of seniors. By employing these tips, we hope to inspire families to support their aging senior loved ones in living more vibrantly, ensuring their golden years are full of joy, health and fulfillment.

Remember, empathy, patience, and encouragement are key. Every step outside is a step towards a happier, healthier lifestyle for the seniors we cherish. Let’s make every outing an opportunity for growth, connection and joy.

If you have any questions about how an in-home caregiver can help you or a senior loved one stay active and engaged, please don’t hesitate to reach out. CLICK HERE to find an Amada office near you.