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In the next 20 years, older Americans will outnumber children. By 2030, those 65 and older will comprise 21% of the population. That’s a 16% increase from today’s numbers.
Older Americans are increasingly obese, which leads to many unhealthy medical conditions. While obesity is about 30% on average, among those 65 and older, it’s about 40%.
With fewer young people to look after the aged, it’s important that seniors maintain their independence for as long as possible.
But how? One way is by staying active. It’s important to challenge the mind as well as the body for seniors to remain independent.
Are your parents retired? Are you worried about them?
7 Ways to Keep Your Elderly Parents Active
Struggling to come up fun ways to keep your elderly parents active? Here are seven ideas for you to try out:
Walking is often underrated but it’s a great way to stay healthy.
Walking at a brisk pace for an hour a day cuts your obesity risk in half! How? By cutting the effect of obesity-promoting genes.
That same walk also boosts your immune system, eases joint pain, and curbs your sweet tooth.
And if that’s not enough to convince you, it cuts the risk of breast cancer by about 14%.
Most people can walk. If the weather outside is bad, encourage your parents to walk at the local indoor mall.
If you have elderly parents at home, take a daily walk with them after dinner. It’s a great way to spend time with them, and the exercise is great for everyone.
Seek Out the Local Senior Center
The local senior center is a great resource for keeping your parents active. Most senior centers offer aquatics, art, and tech classes.
Even more important, senior centers keep your aging parents in touch with their senior neighbors.
Senior centers also offer events and volunteer opportunities.
Teach Your Parents Tech
If your parents are afraid to touch the computer, help them over this fear. Keeping up with the ever-changing world of technology is great for the brain!
Using email and video calls help your parents stay in touch with all their loved ones.
Do they have grandchildren? Teach them to video chat with the kids via a smartphone. The kids will love staying in touch with their grandparents. And your parents will enjoy keeping up with the grandkids.
Facebook is another fun way aging parents can keep in touch. They’ll enjoy looking through up-to-date photos of their friends and family.
Help with Hobbies
Hobbies are another way to keep your elderly parents active. There are so many different hobbies. If they’ve given up on a hobby because it’s too hard, find a way of adapting it.
For instance, maybe your mom used to knit, but she can’t use the small knitting needles anymore. Buy her some large knitting needles so she can see what she’s doing.
Instead of focusing on what your parents can’t do anymore, help them find new things they can do.
Hop on the Internet with your parents and do a search for hobbies. Find something that piques your mom or dad’s interest.
From couponing to photography, there are so many hobbies. Encourage your parents to find hobbies that are active and social.
It’s never too late to learn. Learning is a great way to keep your brain active and young. Learning a new language is especially challenging and good for the brain.
People who speak more than one language have higher cognitive abilities and better memories than those who only speak one. Learning a language creates new neural pathways in the brain.
Learning also helps with focus and concentration as well as with listening skills. Speaking of listening skills…
Encourage Social Activities
Are your parents having trouble hearing? Are they loathe to try hearing aids?
One of the best ways to stay active is through a busy social life. But if one or both of your parents are hard of hearing, they might be avoiding social situations.
Help your parents find the best hearing aids for their situation. There are so many different types of hearing aids now. Most of them are discreet, so other people won’t even know they’re wearing them.
Encourage your parents to participate in lots of social activities. Meeting friends once a week for coffee or a movie is fun and gets them out of the house.
Other great social activities are team sports like pickle and tennis.
Mixed-doubles tennis is great at any age. If they don’t belong to a club with tennis courts, many public parks have tennis courts available.
Another option for socializing is meetup groups. Look on the Internet for groups that have other seniors with similar interests to your parents.
There are gardening, photography, and birdwatching meetups. If your parents don’t see something they like, they can even start a meetup of their own.
Churches are also good places for socializing and volunteering.
Investigate Senior Living Options
If you’re taking care of your parents and it’s becoming too hard, investigate senior living options.
There are many great senior living options now. These communities offer lots of amenities. And your parents won’t need to drive since everything is right within the community.
Senior communities offer exercise classes and social activities. Many of these communities offer a transition to assisted-living if that becomes necessary.
Keeping Your Parents Fit and Active in Their Senior Years
There are many ways to keep your elderly parents active. And it’s so important for seniors to remain active as they age.
Get your parents exercising and don’t forget the benefits of a simple walking program. Seek out the local senior center and encourage your parents in social activities.
Help them learn new technologies for keeping in touch with loved ones. Inspire them to rediscover old hobbies or find new ones.
Impress upon your parents the many benefits of continued learning. Remind them they’re never too old to learn a new language.
And if living at home is too hard, investigate senior living options. There are so many choices. Helping your parents stay active in their senior years is a loving gift.
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