A common effect of ageing is a decline in a person’s physical ability. This can be a result of an illness or simply because of the wear and tear that comes with getting older. Either way, keeping elderly people active is crucial to maintaining their agile physical and mental state.
Regular exercise is also an essential factor in reducing the risk of falls – an all too problematic issue in older people, so in this article, we share some tips for keeping elderly people as active as possible for as long as possible.
Why regular activity is important for elderly people
One of the key reasons why regular movement and exercise should be prioritised among elderly people is because of their association with fall prevention. Regular exercise can improve muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and reaction time, which immediately reduces the risk of falls.
Furthermore, staying active can help to stave off chronic diseases such as arthritis, heart disease and diabetes (which can increase the risk of falls), while mood and cognitive function can also be enhanced by the release of endorphins that come with engaging in exercise.
With statistics suggesting that one in three adults aged 65 and older will experience a fall, and with the number of fall-related injuries set to double by the year 2030, measures need to be put in place now to safeguard the health of the ageing population.
Top tips for keeping elderly people active
There are many ways to encourage older adults to engage in both physical and mental activity for the good of their health.
Tip 1. Create a schedule of activities
Creating a daily or weekly schedule of activities will promote accountability and encourage the individual in question to follow through on a task that has been set for them. It may be a walk through the park or completing a crossword; anything that involves exercising the physical and mental muscles is a winner.
Tip 2. Tailor activities to suit their abilities
Staying active is crucial, but staying safe in the process is just as vital. This is why all activities included in an elderly person’s schedule should be tailored to suit their level of ability to avoid the risk of overexertion and injury.
Tip 3. Encourage engagement in a variety of activities
While regular exercise is vital for our health, it is possible to boost activity levels through other methods.
Encouraging older people to help out with daily jobs like cooking, cleaning and even dressing will keep them engaged while simultaneously increasing their sense of independence. Brain training activities such as jigsaws and puzzles, along with creative outlets like painting and knitting, will also increase brain power and coordination.
Tip 4. Keeping elderly people active is easy if they enjoy what they’re doing
Focusing on both physical and brain-centred tasks that an older adult enjoys is key to maintaining consistency with any activity schedule.
Actions as simple as walking to the shops or engaging in social activities can reduce the isolation that many elderly people feel while improving quality of life and overall brain and body function in the process.
Tip 5. Equip the home to support an active older person
To stay active and engaged, an elderly person will need to feel supported. This support system starts in the home. Ensuring the fridge and cupboards are stocked with the vital ingredients that promote a healthy diet is key, as regular activities require good nutrition and sufficient fuel.
Another crucial step in providing elderly people with the tools to maintain regular activity is reducing their risk of a fall in the home. If they feel safe and secure when moving around the house, they are more likely to move confidently regularly.
Installing a range of fall management products in the home of older adults, such as grab bars and handrails, bed bumpers, lift chairs, and more, will reduce their risk of falling and injury, leading to an overall sense of security in their everyday lives.
Reduce the risk of falls among elderly people with help from O Neill Healthcare
It is an indisputable fact that regular activity leads to heightened physical and mental strength, which reduces the risk of falls among elderly people. However, while falls cannot always be prevented, they can be managed with the help of O Neill Healthcare’s fall management range.
Our diverse array of products is designed to prevent and mitigate falls and fall-related injuries at home, as well as in the community, in nursing homes and in hospital settings.
Get in touch with us today to see how our range of products can help to instil a positive and confident approach to staying active.