Implementing a routine of being active is beneficial for the physical and mental health of almost everyone, including older adults. Though many seniors are reluctant to partake in physical activity due to the fear of hurting themselves, “taking it easy” can have equally detrimental effects, including poor mobility, decreased muscle strength, and an increase in falls.
This doesn’t necessarily suggest that your loved one should go on five mile walks every day or sign up for a gym membership. Low-impact physical activities are perfect for getting your loved one moving, and studies have shown it can boost mood, reduce stress, and even help maintain cognitive function.
So instead of letting your senior sit in front of the TV all summer, take a look at these five fun and creative activities you can do together.
Create a family cookbook – Put that kitchen to use! Cook your way through old family recipes (or try new dishes) and assemble a cookbook to share with relatives and friends. You can even check out one of the many local farmers markets together to grab ingredients. Plus, food is always a good way to get family members together.
Take up Tai Chi – Tai Chi is an excellent low-impact activity for individuals of all ages and there are many opportunities to join a class. For example, Kahala Mall offers free Tai Chi classes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:00am-9:00am. Not only is Tai Chi good for physical health, but it also encourages social involvement, which is important for aging adults. However, there are many community or group activities like this that your loved one can participate in on a regular basis.
Island hop – When was the last time your loved one traveled to somewhere other than the grocery store or doctor’s office? If your senior is in good enough health, consider planning a trip to bring a change of scenery – whether it’s island hopping to the neighbor islands, venturing out to the mainland and beyond, or simply playing tourist for the weekend at local attractions and landmarks.
Explore a new hobby – Taking up a new hobby and even revisiting an old one is a constructive, fun, and healthy way to spend leisure time. Find an activity that your loved one enjoys to keep them busy, interested, and involved. You could plant a garden in the back yard, scrapbook old family photos, or even take a music class at a local community center.
Get some fresh air – One of the best things about living in Hawaii is the year-round sunshine. So why not take advantage of our perfect weather by visiting the beach, walking to the park, or going for a picnic. In addition to getting some fresh air, being outdoors can provide your loved one with a good source of Vitamin D which is beneficial for overall health and wellbeing.
Encouraging your senior to stay active will promote good physical and mental health and help your Kupuna maintain a sense of independence. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do together, the point is to find an activity that you can both safely enjoy.