Keeping active in your golden years is an essential part of maintaining your overall health. As we stiffen up with ageing, it’s often easier to avoid activity as we find it more challenging. But while that’s entirely understandable, it’s something you should do your best to rail against.
When it comes to watching your loved one become less active, it can sometimes be a disheartening process for the onlooker. However, positive encouragement, along with suggesting some sensible alternative hobbies, can go a long way in helping your loved one to maintain both a degree of physicality, while also aiding cognitive function.
Obviously, there are certain activities that, while we may once have loved them when younger, simply aren’t possible as we get older. But while we may need to retire from overly vigorous sporting activities, it doesn’t mean we can’t take up new ones in their place.
It might be the case that your loved one offers some resistance to this. They may feel that they’re “too old” to take up something new, with the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” often to blame for this type of sentiment. However, that’s certainly not the case. There are many new things you can look to take on in your golden years – and it’s important to point this out to your loved one.
Gardening is a great hobby for the elderly. Not only are you outdoors, soaking up sunshine and breathing fresh air, which is good for the mind, but it’s also an active pursuit, which is good for the body too.
At Goatacre, although we have a long-established garden, we’re currently in the process of making it more accessible for all our residents. Many of our residents do already enjoy the garden, but with the introduction of a new sensory area we’re hoping everyone will become more active outdoors – something that offers many benefits.
Sewing, knitting and crocheting
While less physical than gardening, these still help to keep a mind sharp and fingers dexterous. A sociable activity, it also provides the opportunity to knit unique gifts for friends and family – offering an additional kind of reward.
Again, a less physical hobby, but certainly one that encourages brain activity. Our residents have a wealth of life experience, meaning there are plenty of interesting anecdotes and observations to tap into. Writing is a wonderful way for them to express themselves, and with more time on their hands in their golden years, it’s the perfect time to start if they haven’t done so before.
You could encourage your loved one to take up this activity by showing them some writing of your own, if that’s something you’ve engaged in, or even perhaps by writing them a letter. Just the act of responding could encourage them to pick up a pen more often, and inspire them to jot down their thoughts.
Form/join a book club
In a similar vein to writing, reading also does great things in supporting the mind. Absorbing fresh literature can open you to so many new things – and the great thing about a book club is that your loved one can discuss all of these with fellow residents. We encourage both socialising and reading at Goatacre, with many residents avid bibliophiles, so there’s plenty of opportunity to form bonds via book sharing and book clubs.
For those with failing eyesight or limited concentration for words on a page, an audible subscription is an excellent alternative, allowing them to enjoy all of the associated escapism even with eyes closed in relaxation.
Or, if you’re a reader yourself, why not form your very own book club with your loved one? You can read in between visits and then discuss your thoughts/opinion once you next sit down face-to-face.
Bridge, bingo, chess, draughts, poker, monopoly; there are so many board games, card games and other activities that your loved one can play. The great thing about a care home environment is that there are many willing participants, including carers, so encouraging your loved one to take these up, even if they haven’t before, can help to provide a sociable output, and one that encourages brain activity.
Yes, that’s right. Yoga can work wonders on the body and while we’re not advocating your loved one undertaking the One Handed Tree Pose, they can still partake in a gentler form from their armchair or even engage with comparatively simple stretches, helping to maintain a degree of suppleness and flexibility.
At Goatacre, not only do we have plenty of activities for our residents to engage with, we also encourage our residents to involve themselves with both the programmes that we offer and with their fellow residents, as we recognise that keeping active is an essential part of wellbeing.
For more information about the type of activities our residents can engross themselves in, why not get in touch?