As a family caregiver, you know how important it is to keep your parents physically active. Getting enough activity everyday is essential for keeping your parent at a healthy weight, supporting cardiovascular health, warding off a wide variety of health complications, and preventing health challenges. Staying physically active is also important for maintaining good mental emotional health and well-being as they age in place. For many seniors, thinking about being physically active is intimidating. They think that means that they need to participate in exercise classes or do strenuous activity, but that is not necessarily the case. There are simple ways that you can encourage more physical activity for your parent that are beneficial for them and for you.
Some simple ways that you can encourage more physical activity in your parent include:
- Park your car a little bit further out in the parking lot when running errands with your senior. Start by going back just a few spots from where you would normally park and gradually it move further back in the parking lot to increase the distance they are walking into the store each time.
- If you are going to an appointment in a building that has stairs, encourage your parent to take the stairs up one flight rather than using the elevator.
- Instead of carrying all of the groceries in at the same time, carry one bag in and take multiple trips to add steps to your day.
- Turn on your parents favorite music and encourage them to dance in the house.
- Take an evening walk together around the block.
- Even if they are not able to handle all of their activities of daily living, such as housekeeping tasks, on their own, encourage them to participate in ways that they are able to, including walking around the house with you as you handle these tasks .
Being a family caregiver can be fulfilling and meaningful, but it can also be stressful. Handling your parent’s needs as well as the needs of your children, your career, your marriage, your home, and yourself can leave you feeling as though there is never enough time and you never have enough energy. Fortunately, home care is there to help you. An in-home care provider can step in to fill care gaps, offer support and assistance when you need to focus on other responsibilities in your life, and encourage your parent to pursue independence, activity, and fulfilment throughout their later years. Knowing that your parent has this care can ease your stress, improve your quality of life, and allow you to manage your time and energy effectively. These services can include transportation to where they need and want to go, dignified and respectful support with personal care needs such as bathing and dressing, meal preparation to boost nutrition, medication reminders to help your parent stay compliant with their health needs, and companionship to support mental and emotional health and well-being as they age in place.