When seniors stay home all day, eating whatever is easiest and not moving around much, they can quickly start to deteriorate. If they fall even once or get sick, it can become a cycle that most seniors struggle to get out of.
Caregivers have a lot of responsibilities to keep the seniors under their care happy and healthy, including making sure they have transportation when necessary, such as for NYC airport transfers.
However, it is important they are healthy in body as well as mind. Thankfully, there are some simple ways to keep your seniors active physically and mentally healthy so you can check off two boxes at once without having to increase your workload all that much.
Strength exercises are simple, but a great help to the elderly. This is because strength tends to decrease with age, as bones and muscles grow weaker. At some point, they can become so weak that it is difficult to walk or lift anything without assistance. This makes them more dependent on the people around them and can impact their mental health as they feel incapable of looking after themselves.
By working on their strength just a little, you can help them keep the muscles they need in a more fit state, so they can mostly look after themselves and keep some of their independence.
This doesn’t mean they have to go to the gym and lift weights though. Working on hand strength by squeezing tennis balls, lifting jugs of milk or water, and doing step-ups on platforms can easily be enough and not take up a lot of time or energy.
Find an Activity They Enjoy
If strength exercises aren’t enough, or they aren’t something the senior you are taking care of wants to do, then there are other activities you can look at as well. There are many sports and exercises out there that are senior-friendly and can be fun.
You can start with simple activities such as just going on light walks or taking a gentle bike ride on an exercise bike. If they are willing to try more, you can look at swimming exercises, golfing, or simple weight lifting. If you like to exercise yourself and do more basic exercises, you can even invite them to join you. That way you can complete your workout, and get them moving as well.
Plan Their Meals
As one grows older, one tends to gravitate towards easier meals. After all, people grow tired faster, and can’t do as much on their own. This makes cooking, shopping, and meal planning a lot more challenging.
This is why you will see seniors often eating a lot more junk food or frozen fast-food dinners. They don’t take up as much energy to prepare and are a lot faster when in need of a meal.
There are some seniors that go the opposite way as well, where they stop eating altogether. If food is too difficult, or they aren’t pushed to eat, they may just stop until they grow thinner and begin to waste away.
As a caretaker, you can help them by planning out and prepping their meals. By cooking their meals at the beginning of the week and having them ready to just heat up and eat, you ensure that they are eating healthy and hearty meals. You can also consider getting a lot of easy-to-eat but healthy snacks that are in small servings and can be casually munched on.
You can even set out snack trays if you see them daily. Have a tray full of cut fruit, nuts, and vegetables with dips, meat, cheeses, and crackers so they can easily snack throughout the day instead of having one whole meal.
It helps them get the nutrients they need and to eat healthier options. If they prefer bigger meals though, prepping some simple dishes you can throw in a container so they can just heat up in the microwave whenever they are hungry is also a great option.
Help Them Get Sleep
It’s hard to be healthy of mind or body when you are running low on sleep. While some seniors might not need as much sleep as many others, it is still important. Ensuring they get plenty of sleep will allow them to feel better, have more energy, and enjoy a more positive outlook on life.
One of the best ways to get them to go to sleep is to keep it at set times. Though it may sound childish to have to send a senior to bed at a certain time, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule makes it easier for them, and they can often go to sleep more easily even if they initially don’t feel tired.
Giving them plenty of exercise throughout the day can also help, as exercise tends to make the body more relaxed and helps to exhaust them so they can actually feel tired and go to sleep.
Another option to try if sleep is eluding them is to tire out the brain. Giving them fun but slightly difficult puzzles can get their brain going and make them feel more tired by the end of the night. While naps may be important for seniors to help them get through the day, you can also try to limit the naps they take right before bed so they aren’t just waking up for sleep when it’s their normal bedtime.
You’ll be surprised what even a few hours of sleep will do to improve their mood and energy levels.