How to Get the Elderly to be More Active - Senior Alert Medical

How to Get the Elderly to be More Active

by Charlie Kimball · 0 comments

senior exerciseElderly loved ones need to be getting up and moving around on a daily basis to stay healthy.  Just a little bit of activity each day has been shown to relieve depressive symptoms, keep the brain active, and more.  Despite the wonderful health benefits of exercise, many of our elderly loved ones don’t want to go out to enjoy the sunshine.

The biggest reason that they want to stay indoors is the fear of falling.  They don’t want to run the risk of needing their emergency alert system, so they don’t do anything at all.  That fear can be absolutely paralyzing, but with help they can get over it.

As caretakers, we can encourage and make sure that our elderly loved ones get off the couch or their bed and start walking around and doing more.  It’s crucial that you do something to encourage activity.

Incorporate exercise into the routine

Many folks, especially our elderly loved ones, hate not knowing what’s going on.  By introducing walking or some other activity into the mix as a regular thing, they will start expecting it and doing it.

Look for proximate behaviors (and reward them!)

Proximate behaviors are behaviors which may not exactly be the one that you’re looking for, but they’re within the steps that one takes to do the behavior.

So, your elderly loved one might not be high marching in place to the music, but they might be lifting their legs a little bit in time.  By rewarding that type of behavior, you can still help them stay active.

Stop food rewards

One thing that happens in our older population is that they grow larger with age. Even if appetite lessens, metabolism also slows down. Also, if they’re also not moving around as much as they should that only makes it worse. This can lead to an intense battle of the bulge – one which can lead to further medical troubles and the use of a medical alert system.

Many westerners are trained to think of food as a reward for doing well, or a pacifier when things are not going our way. Because they’re turning to food, they might expect that food becomes a reward for doing good things. This can make the problem much worse.

Exercise patience

While you might be used to the idea that you have to exercise to stay in shape and stay healthy, your elderly loved one might not have developed the same patterns as you.  They might also be slower to develop a kind of exercise routine that’s beneficial.

That fear of using the emergency medical alert is a solid, valid one.  Overcoming it to engage in exercise might take longer than you expect.

Lead by example

Your elderly loved one is relying on you to make the decisions for them.  You’re the one who helps out.  If you’re talking about the benefits of exercise and not doing any of it, then they might view you as being hypocritical.

Avoiding pushing the button on the emergency system is what it’s all about.  Demonstrate that you are able to practice what you preach.

Encouraging your loved ones to start being active and staying active after a while of being sedentary is sometimes a difficult sell.  While it’s encouraging that the fears of using the personal medical alert will diminish, it sometimes takes a long time to come around.  Be patient. You can help them.


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