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Friday, December 8, 2023

Tips for keeping elders active and healthy during coronavirus times

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By Maria Dalit, Homestlye Aged Care

One of the negative effects of the COVID-19 crisis is the restriction for elders to go outdoors. The reason behind this is a concern they may be more inclined to be infected by the virus. It is safe to say that such a protocol will not expose seniors to the virus.

However, this has shocked lots of seniors at the beginning of the pandemic making them feel idle and sad. It also limits social interaction which is necessary for someone’s well-being. Talking via screens is not enough to connect them with their community as they had been previously.

Certain activities are perfect for elders even away from the crowd. Safety will always be the top priority as the virus remains circulating, so it is better to maintain physical distancing. Moreover, the more active we are as adults, the better our immune system will be. It is important that we help our seniors to embrace working out, if possible, to ensure longer, healthier lives in the days of the pandemic.

Following are activity ideas suitable for elders and reasons why seniors need to be healthier during these times.

There are many indoor activities our elders can do to keep their minds and bodies in great shape, including arts, crafts, boardgames and more.

List of Indoor Activities (COVID-19 edition)

  • Cooking

Many people have learned how to cook during the pandemic, and why should seniors be excused from gaining new knowledge and skills in cooking? A wide range of recipes are accessible online, all you need to do is to gather the ingredients and simply follow the instructions.

Some have even started businesses because of a new recipe that came out during the pandemic. Maybe your loved one can also make a recipe that you can sell?

  • Painting

Seniors who love art will surely enjoy this activity. It minimises idle time when staying indoors and could also boost their mood.

  • Play board games

Elders can participate in board games, like chess. It is a great pastime in the afternoon. The advantage of a board game is it develops critical thinking which is necessary for older individuals. Another is playing cards with members of the family to help cultivate relationships.

  • Looking at old photos

Bringing back memories by looking at old photos can be fun. Photo albums are an essential at any time, but particularly in recent years. They store a plethora of memories that can be explored at any time. Old photos can revive memories for a person with dementia, which is a good thing.

  • Play music

Music has a unique ability to impact our thoughts and feelings. It can make a person feel relaxed, and this certainly applies to seniors. During the pandemic, virtual concerts have become very popular, with orchestral online performances in particular being enjoyed by our elders. Alternatively, perhaps you can teach seniors to play an instrument as a new skill.

  • Build a project

Take advantage of the days you stay indoors for extended periods. Think of a project, like making furniture or anything that requires both time and effort. This will encourage elders to join you in completing the project. It may require money, but nothing compares to the joy it will bring.

  • Introduce social media

Though elders don’t need to use social media, the majority communicate through it today. You can teach them how to Facetime with relatives abroad.

Not everyone can still play basketball, but there are many things our elders can do outdoors to maintain their sense of wellbeing and health.

List of outdoor activities (COVID-19 edition)

  • Walk outdoors

The best time to go outside is early in the morning or afternoon. Choose a place that is not crowded to keep your loved one(s) safe. This is one way to let elders breathe fresh air after staying indoors for a long time. It could be in a park or a backyard, if you have quite a large lot.

  • Family picnic

Elders also love to eat outside the house, particularly for the ambiance. You can go to the park near your place or set a picnic table in your backyard. The second option will be less costly and also safer in these times of pandemic.

  • Gardening

Many people, both young and old, have become plant lovers during the pandemic. If you have an existing garden, then this activity idea could be the start of something new. You may grow herb plants with the knowledge of an older individual. It is a satisfying chore that you can add to your daily routine.

  • Swimming

Pools and beaches are starting to accept guests as case numbers decrease. Look for a private pool and ask whether it is OK to come with aged individuals. The scenery will make them feel at ease.

  • Restaurant dine-in

This is different from a family picnic in the park. A luxurious, fine dining experience is a great way for you to show your love for senior members of the family. Ensure any food ordered is suitable for their diet and overall health condition. Choose foods and drinks that are healthy, such as vegetables, fruits, and maybe water rather than expensive wine.

  • Exercise

Some people can work out indoors, but there are exercise routines that require bigger spaces, ncluding jogging every morning, which is allowed in most villages. Adults can also join a dancing workout to burn fats and stay fit.

Last but not least, family members should encourage their seniors to participate in any activity. This can help to slow the effects of dementia.

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