Maintaining a well-rounded and healthy lifestyle is key to overall well-being as we age. Keeping socially and physically engaged can help your loved one enjoy better physical, emotional and mental health in their golden years. Physical activities such as exercise can also help prevent cognitive decline in forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, or delay the progression of the illness. It also is a great mood booster. Regular exercise will also help your loved ones maintain their independence, reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, and stave off feelings such as loneliness and isolation. So, how can you help your loved one stay active? We provide some tips here.
Reducing the Risk of Alzheimer’s
Before we get into our tips, let’s take a closer look at how staying active can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Regular exercise stimulates plasticity in our brain – essentially, exercise prompts our brain to forge neural connections, and maintains existing ones. Activities such as swimming, cycling, jogging, yoga, and walking can benefit a person regardless of their age or fitness level.
Various forms of cognitive training also reduce the risk of dementia. These include activities such as practicing memorization techniques, learning new things, or playing games. These activities also stimulate plasticity in the brain.
Lastly, the social contact that an active lifestyle provides helps protect against dementia in later life and increases life satisfaction. Naturally, keeping socially active can also help prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation, which tend to be more intense in those with secluded lifestyles. Now that we’ve listed the benefits of keeping active, how can you encourage your loved one to do so? Let’s take a look below.
Identify Activities They Enjoy
We engage more meaningfully in activities we enjoy. If you find an activity that you know your loved one will enjoy, there is a greater chance that they will carry on with it without needing to be cajoled into doing so.
Your loved one may have health issues or injuries that can dissuade them from taking part in physical, social, or mental activities. If this is the case, always remember to be supportive of them, instead of impatient.
Schedule Daily Activities
Whether it’s some morning exercise or a meal out with friends, make sure that you schedule it into your loved one’s day and keep this schedule consistent. A sense of routine can help boost your loved one’s motivation and provides them with something to look forward to.
Volunteering is a social activity that keeps your loved one embedded in their local network. It is an opportunity for them to maintain their independence and socialize. Volunteering also provides a sense of purpose and strength.
Encourage Peer Participation
If the activity you are planning for your loved one involves their peers, there is a higher chance that they will be eager to participate. They will be more confident in taking part in sports, social gatherings, or other activities if they know they will have company. Activities and events will feel more enriching when they are carried out among friends.