The older you get, the more you hear people say, “age is just a number!” And while that is true, it’s not uncommon for caregivers to start encouraging their loved ones to “play it safe” as they progress through the years. But growing older doesn’t have to mean giving up all the things you love to do in order to stay safe.
In fact, according to the Journal of Aging Life Care, from the Aging Life Care Association, continuing to do the things you love is vital to your overall well-being. They note that it is “somewhat of a universal truth that all people, regardless of age or ability, want to feel what they do has purpose or value. And this sense of purpose or value is beyond having access to adaptive technologies; it is met by being engaged in meaningful and purposeful activity or interactions.”
So how can you empower your aging mother to continue to remain engaged in meaningful activities while also remaining safe? Well, senior safety can mean many different things to many different people, depending on what you love to do. (Of course, if mom is an avid skydiver that might be a separate conversation for another day!) As a caregiver, you simply have to rethink the ways in which safety applies to certain activities. In honor of Mother’s Day, here are some popular recreational activities for seniors that also take their safety into account:
For The “Outdoorsy” Mom: Gardening
For those who love to be outside and get their hands dirty, gardening is a great way to connect with nature in an interactive way. If your mom used to go on long solo hikes and you are concerned about her safety out in the wild, encouraging her to tend to her garden can keep her in the great outdoors while taking senior safety into account.
Being in nature has also been proven to improve mental and physical health. Studies have shown that spending time in your garden can help to reduce stress and anxiety, decreases your risk of heart disease and diabetes, inspires more feelings of happiness and helps you sleep more soundly.
For The Mom Who Loves Exercise: Yoga or Tai Chi
Exercise is vital to your overall health as you age, but high-impact classes and exercise routines can take a toll on an aging body, especially as an older woman losing bone mass. Two great exercise activities for seniors that are not only great for the body but also for the mind, are yoga and tai chi. Both exercises will help mom maintain her balance and mobility, reduce her risk of chronic diseases and boost her mental health.
Yoga and tai chi have also been linked to holistic stress relief and longevity, either through literally altering your DNA or improvements to neurological and cardiovascular function. Tai Chi is very slow, moving you through a series of 19 different movements and one held pose. This non-impact exercise is ideal for seniors regardless of their ability level or flexibility. With yoga, there is a wide range of class options for all different ability levels, but there are senior-specific classes that are slower and non-impact, or also use props, like chairs, to help those who need to work on their balance.
For The Mom Who Loves Music: Dance Classes
Dancing might not seem like one of the safest recreational activities for seniors, but ballroom dancing classes have been shown to improve balance, cognitive and fine motor performance and encourage social engagement. Dancing has also been linked to reduced levels of depression, anxiety and stress--because who is worried when they are dancing?!
There are plenty of dance classes available just for seniors, that move a little slower and ensure that mom can be in a class with her peers. From the tango, to the foxtrot, to the flamenco, all the new moves will take senior safety into account, and many seniors report that dancing makes them “feel young again.”
For The Mom Who Loves Helping Others: Volunteer Work
Volunteering is a great way to socialize and give back to the community. It also has been proven to be good for your health! UnitedHealth Group surveyed over 3,000 people and found that volunteering has a major impact on our health. 76 percent of participants who had volunteered their time in the past 12 months reported feeling healthier, and 94 percent of them said that volunteering improved their mood.
This Volunteerism Effect applies to everyone, with the study reporting that “volunteering isn’t just something healthy people do. Everyone can reap benefits. Our study involved a representative sample of adults across the country: young, old, in good health and in poor health. Remarkably, we see older individuals and those who suffer from multiple chronic conditions taking on volunteering—and feeling better as a result.”
For The Mom Who Loves Technology: Computer Classes
There’s no reason why older folks shouldn’t be able to learn the language of computers. The technology available with today’s computers, offer older folks simple and affordable ways to connect with family and friends who may be living far away. And while learning how to use the computer might be one of the more passive recreational activities for seniors on this list, it has been shown to improve feelings of loneliness and combat depression in those who live alone.
And just as any of these other activities for seniors, it’s crucial to practice senior safety when it comes to going online. From knowing how to spot an email scam, to practicing information safety on social networking sites like Facebook, helping mom to become more savvy on the world wide web benefits the whole family.
Senior Safety: Anytime, Anywhere
While it’s wonderful that mom can safely enjoy any of the recreational activities listed above, her safety needs will eventually expand beyond single activities, if they haven’t already. Medical Guardian medical alert systems provide mom access to instant help both inside and outside of the house.
And now, for Mother’s Day, we’re making it even easier to ensure mom’s safety with our limited time offer: Call one of our Life Safety Consultants at 1-800-668-2000 and mention Promo Code MOM17 and receive a free $25 Amazon gift card. You can spend that $25 however you’d like, but we highly recommend putting it towards one of these great activities for mom this Mother’s Day!