How Long-Term Care Can Help with Physical Fitness
Exercise is vital at all ages. However, for seniors, it often comes with unique challenges. Those challenges can stand in the way of seniors maintaining a healthy level of physical fitness.
But there is help available. Long-term care communities are designed to make it easy for seniors to safely engage in physical activities—here’s how.
Fitness Activities in Long-Term Care Communities
A recent study on seniors and physical activity found that barriers to physical activity for seniors included “physical limitations due to health conditions or aging, lack of professional guidance and inadequate distribution of information on available and appropriate [physical activity] options and programs.”
The advantage of living in a long-term care community is that many of those barriers are removed. Expert health professionals are on staff to assist seniors with physical activities and mobility issues. There are special exercise classes offered that are suitable for older adults with health issues. All residents are kept informed of the different services and activities available to them at the community.
MacIntosh long-term care communities all have a full slate of activities planned each month for residents to enjoy. The activities are meant to suit a variety of tastes and interests, as well as mobility levels.
In terms of physical activities, here are a few examples of what MacIntosh residents have access to:
- Special exercise classes such as “Sit and Be Fit” or “WHOGA Exercise,” which are designed to allow seniors to complete exercises in chairs or wheelchairs.
- Wii Sports, which can improve daily activity levels for seniors through interactive gaming.
- Tai Chi, yoga and stretching exercises.
Residents in long-term care are given the option of participating in activities like the ones listed above and are given the assistance they need to attend them. However, residents are never forced to participate.
Related: A Day in the Life at a MacIntosh Long-Term Care Community
The Importance of Staying Physically Active for Seniors in Long-Term Care
While it can be hard work, staying physically active comes with many benefits for seniors. The activity does not need to be strenuous—for example, something as simple as walking 20 minutes a day can improve overall health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the benefits of exercise for seniors include:
- Helps reduce the risk of falling and fracturing bones.
- Reduces the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and of developing high blood pressure, colon cancer and diabetes.
- Can help reduce blood pressure in some people with hypertension.
- Helps people with chronic, disabling conditions improve their stamina and muscle strength.
- Reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression and fosters improvements in mood and feelings of well-being.
- Helps maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints.
- Helps control joint swelling and pain associated with arthritis.
Tips to Help Your Senior Parent Stay Active and Motivated in Long-Term Care
The benefits of exercise are clear. However, your parent may need a little extra motivation, especially if they have mobility issues that have hampered their activity levels in the past.
If your parent is in long-term care but is struggling to find the motivation to participate in activities, there are some things you can do to encourage your senior loved one to stay active. For example, you could:
- Call them on a regular basis to encourage them.
- Sit down with your parent and a medical professional at their long-term care community to discuss the benefits of staying active, as well as tips specific to your parent.
- Help your parent set manageable goals and celebrate when they meet them.
Related: Ask the Expert: Staying Active and Engaged in Long-Term Care
Getting the Most Out of Long-Term Care in Columbus, Ohio
If your senior parent is in need of long-term care in the Central Ohio area, MacIntosh has several communities to accommodate their needs:
You can also learn more about long-term care and who it’s a good fit for by reading our guide to long-term care.