Every caregiving situation is different, and the needs of every aging loved one are different. But if your aging loved one is capable of physical activity – no matter how light – it’s a good idea to get them out and about as much as you can. And here are 5 great reasons why.
- It’s Good for Their Health – and Yours
Physical activity is good for you – no matter your age. Elderly persons are especially prone to inactivity, which can lead to very poor health outcomes. Conversely, increased physical activity leads to better health outcomes, longer lives, and much lower risks of many diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other diseases that inactive elderly folks are at risk for.
And it’s not just good for the loved one you’re caring for – almost all caregivers report suffering from an inability to get enough physical exercise due to their caregiving duties, and can have poor health outcomes because of it.
Picking a light physical activity to do with your aging loved one – anything from swimming, gardening, or just walking (or pushing their wheelchair) can be a fantastic way to get some time exercise in – for both of you.
- You can Have Some Fun
Let’s face it – sitting around all day is boring. If the one you’re caring has the physical ability to get up and be active, you shouldn’t waste that! Aging is just another part of life, and there are a huge variety of activities that you can do with your loved one that will allow you both to have some fun.
These activities can range from simply shopping, to cooking, to going on walks – you name it. Whatever it is, it’s better than being stuck in the house all day with nothing to do, so plan some fun activities for your loved one, and enjoy the fun of spending time with them.
- Staying Active Improves Mood – and Mental Health
Staying active isn’t just good for the body – it’s good for the mind, in more ways than one. Light physical activity is associated with better mood and can minimize negative conditions like depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
In addition, physical activity leads to better brain health – recent studies have shown that there may be a correlation between elevated levels of physical activity and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Being Stuck Inside Leads to Poor Health Outcomes
Being stuck indoors results in a huge variety of poor health outcomes – bad moods, depression, anxiety, and other poor mental health states are common, as is physical deterioration.
However, it has been shown that getting out and about – and especially getting in nature – can help reverse some of the problems that can crop up as a result of being indoors for long periods of time.
So if you’ve been stuck indoors for a long period of time, consider how you can best get you and the one you’re caring for outdoors – even just a walk in the park is a great way to help relieve some of the stress and anxiety that can occur when you spend too long inside.
- You Can Ease Your Caregiving Burden
Most caregivers are totally overworked, exhausted, and juggling the responsibilities of their day-to-day lives – kids, work, marriage, and so on.
Caregivers need breaks. And if you can get somebody else to take over for you, go out, and have fun with the one you’re caring for, you can get some much needed “me” time – whether you want to take a nap, get a massage, or just relax.
By getting a friend or relative to take your loved one out and get active, you can reduce your caregiving burden while still providing great care to your loved one. It’s a win-win.
Time to Brainstorm!
Helping your loved ones stay active can be a challenge, but if you find some great, fun activities that they’re physically capable of, you’ll wonder how you were ever able to just stay in the house all day.
Staying active keeps your aging loved one young and can lead to a variety of better health outcomes, and a better overall feeling of well-being. And what caregiver doesn’t want that?
Written by Jessica Hegg.
Jessica Hegg is the content manager at ViveHealth.com. She is interested in all things related to a healthy lifestyle, she works to share valuable information that aims to improve the quality of life for others.