Monday, September 12, 2011

Ask Us Anything: What Activities Will Keep an Elderly Parent Active?

"My elderly mom lives with me, and she is not as mobile as she used to be. She doesn't like to leave the house and spends most of her time watching TV. What activities can I do with her that she will enjoy but that will also help to get her up and moving?"

Registered Nurse Robert Mages Responds:

Keeping active at any age is important not only for the body but the mind as well.

Simply taking your mom out of the house can be encouragement for her to become more active.

A walk, even if you are pushing her in a wheelchair, will encourage her to look around, point things out and move a bit.

Also, senior groups through a local organization can encourage getting up and around, and being surrounded by friends may be all that is needed to cause excitement about being active.

Exercise and strength conditioning are also important, but activities such as these should be closely guided by a doctor or physical therapist who is familiar with your mother's current condition and health issues.

Indoor activities are beneficial too. They keep the mind fresh and the hands moving, which usually causes the body to follow. Things such as scrapbooking, clay, and board games can be paramount in causing us to think, move and stretch, keeping us sharp and limber.

Please remember that safety is of the utmost importance, and try not to push to hard or overdo it. Follow up with your doctor to be sure the activities are right, and most importantly, have fun!

— Robert Mages, RN

Robert Mages is the Nurse Manager of the Open Heart Unit and Critical Care Unit at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo.

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