Ageing individuals can face a number of challenges. Changes to their physical health as their body ages, vulnerability to social isolation, and impacts on mental health are just a few of the common difficulties faced as we age.
Staying mentally and physically active is important for delaying the onset or reducing the severity of health conditions for elderly persons. There are many ways to engage the mind and body – with just some of these listed below.
Being physically active
Physical activity is essential for maintaining good overall health. Many physiotherapists and trainers would agree that, for ageing persons, light exercise (that isn’t rigorous on joints) is the best form of physical activity. This could include swimming, yoga, walking or stretching.
These types of activities help to keep muscles strong, maintain coordination skills and sustain cardiovascular fitness. Exercise can also reduce the likelihood of some diseases and health conditions. Some exercise can be done at home, but it can be safer and more effective if done with supervision in a controlled environment.
If you are looking for programs that promote physical activity for the elderly, you can reach out to a local community care services provider who may be able to point you in the right direction. Alternatively, a local gymnasium may offer classes that are specific to ageing individuals.
Interestingly, being physically active can also contribute to good mental health. Engaging in regular exercise has been proven to increase wellbeing and reduce the likelihood of developing mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
Staying mentally active
There are many ways to stay mentally active and engage the brain. In fact, everyone’s brain is engaged throughout their everyday as they go about routine tasks. Ageing persons may benefit from additional mental activities to stimulate their brain throughout the week, such as completing a puzzle, reading a book, or playing a game.
It is also extremely beneficial and important for elderly persons to maintain a social life. This is an important part of keeping the brain active. Taking care of mental health in these ways can support a better memory and delay the symptoms of some conditions which affect the mind, such as dementia.
Thankfully, activities that engage our mental and physical health tend to also encourage a positive social lifestyle. For example, to stay physically active someone may join a regular walking group – which would subsequently encourage socialisation while undertaking activities with the walking group.
The importance of socialisation for ageing individuals cannot be denied. Particularly throughout the pandemic while restrictions and lockdowns have been common, it has been especially difficult for ageing individuals to stay social. Getting online and having regular phone calls has been vital throughout this challenging period.
Looking out for one another
It is important to look out for one another and always reach out to ageing individuals who may be struggling. Community care services through a provider such as St John’s Community Care are an important part of caring for our ageing community, but everyone has a part to play in encouraging both mental and physical wellness in the elderly.