While aging is a part of life, it need not be the case that the process of becoming older is done without the virtue of vitality. By this, we mean your later years do not necessarily have to see you lose your zest for life. This also applies to your loved ones; if someone in your family is getting to those advanced years in life, it’s important to promote their wellness – both physically and mentally. Naturally, this gives you the experience to become mindful of your intended approach when you get to a similar age.
Aged care is sometimes seen as something less-than-desirable.
However, recreational activities are very well catered for in most aged care facilities. In a group setting, older people usually make strong friendships and meaningful relationships that keep their circle broad and their interests wide. Therefore, they are more motivated to remain upbeat and energetic.
Addressing your concerns
Perhaps you are a bit worried about someone older in your family and their ability to continue to be able to lead an active, mentally robust life without some assistance or backing from an organizational set-up? Maybe you have seen dishes piling up and chores not being maintained? Or, perhaps you are just worried about your Mom/Dad/Grandma/Grandpa growing too lonely for their own good?
With that said, how do you encourage a family member to become more socially and physically active – and to think about taking the right steps in changing their way of life? It’s not always easy to talk to your parents about the aging process. This article points out the fact that you can often feel “helpless and unprepared” when it comes to the care of someone older in your family.
Constructing a plan
What can you do to approach this?
Constructing a plan and becoming knowledgeable are the first tasks in tackling the situation. It will depend on the specific needs of the individual as to what option is best. Perhaps it might involve some support provided by a qualified carer so your family member can remain at home; Possibly it will take the form of your loved one taking the step to move into a retirement community; Or, maybe the best option will be a residential aged care living arrangement.
You want to witness your family member leading a vibrant, well-rounded life.
Encouraging them to ‘get out there a bit more’ is a task that might prove difficult to achieve on your own. Consult your siblings and other family members for advice and don’t be afraid to seek support. Do your research before you engage in dialogue on this topic and remember empathy is always key. Your goal is to ensure the happiness of your loved one and to promote their well-being as much as possible.
Overcoming barriers to physical activity
One of the added benefits of getting assistance from an aged care professional is that they will be able to facilitate customized exercise routines and leisure activities. A lot of older people are worried about the risk of trips and falls, and this can often deter them from partaking in any physical activity.
An environment that is staffed by professional caregivers can allow a person to exercise comfortably and safely, thereby affording all the flow-on benefits that increased physical activity can provide.
How to achieve vitality
A recent Swedish study shows that among the many benefits of physical activity for older people is a reduced impact of illness and chronic disease. This corresponds to Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and osteoporosis in particular. Regular exercise also improves strength and posture and can alleviate arthritis. The Australian Government recommends building up to at least two sessions of muscle-strengthening activities a week. Such activities can include dancing, gardening, yoga, and pilates.
The benefits of increased levels of exercise go far beyond the physical.
It’s shown that an appropriate amount of exercise, movement and exertion can significantly improve mood and energy levels. This means that a requisite level of physical activity (corresponding directly to the recommended level for a particular age group) produces improved mental health and therefore a greater level of happiness, vitality, and enjoyment of life.
You can use this knowledge (along with a well-researched plan and a concerted, empathetic discussion with the older family member in your life) to encourage the promotion of their ultimate well-being. This will ensure that they are as happy and as healthy as possible. As the years flow onward, you’ll also benefit from this method in understanding your own needs. Vitality is the spice of life, and there is absolutely no reason not to enjoy every single moment you have on this planet – regardless of your age.