5 Ways to Keep Seniors Active and Engaged this Holiday Season
November 23, 2015
The holiday season is upon us and spending time with family should be at the top of your to-do-list. Making sure your aging parents or grandparents stay active and engaged may be a difficult task. They may not be able to “run around the block” like they used to once do, but keeping their bodies and minds as active as possible is very important.
As we age, maintaining a high quality of life is crucial in order to stay healthy. Actually, the American Academy of Family Physicians indicates that inactivity is one of the main reasons senior citizens fail to flourish as they age.
There are plenty of ways to keep the seniors in your life active. We’re not referring to just being physical – we’re talking mentally and emotionally too. Here are five ways to keep them active and engaged this holiday season:
Playing games not only makes the holiday festivities more fun for all the party goers, but it helps the seniors maintain cognitive function. Dementia and short-term memory loss are common among seniors, so games such as Scrabble, checkers, chess, Pictionary or Charades, which are mentally stimulating, can help delay, or possibly prevent the onset of these types of conditions.
Music is not only relaxing, but also another form of cognitive stimulation.Look for local concerts that your families can attend during the holiday season and perhaps make it an annual tradition!
Pets are amazing companions for senior citizens. Studies prove that simply petting a dog or a cat increases feelings of relaxation and happiness, which can be especially beneficial if they have recently lost a spouse or a close friend. Just make sure the pet suites their lifestyle. A dog requires a lot more attention and activity then a senior may be able to give, so a cat may be a better option depending on the situation.
Taking a walk after the holiday meal is a great idea for the entire family, but it’s especially beneficial to seniors. Exercise of any type for seniors help them with their range of motion, mobility and overall health. Studies prove that physical activity helps lower blood pressure, risk of heart disease, diabetes and osteoarthritis, so they should be at least getting out for a daily walk if they’re able.
Whether it’s through social gatherings, phone calls, or getting involved in the senior center, making sure your loved one has a social life with friends their own age is important. This helps them have emotional support outside of the family should they need it. Research shows that social ties keep people healthy and help seniors maintain a certain level of independence as they age.
Keeping the seniors in your life active and engaged this holiday season will not only benefit them in the long run, but it will also benefit you as well. Keeping the mind, body and spirit actively engaged is one of the best things you can do for your parent or grandparent. Happy Holidays!