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Help Seniors 'Shake Things Up' After the Holidays

Senior woman doing yoga in her own home.
Your mother, like many of the rest of us, probably could benefit from an exercise or activity program. Why not suggest it to her and see what she says.

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December 15, 2011

An exercise or activity program for your senior loved one might be the right medicine to kick off the New Year. Make sure your older loved one checks first with his or her doctor, then encourage the senior in your life to take the first steps toward better health.

Q. My 79-year-old mother had a great time enjoying the holidays with us. But now that it’s all over, she seems to be at loose ends with a lot of time on her hands. Do you have any suggestions?

It’s a new year, and maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit. We have all celebrated and feasted during the holidays. Your mother, like many of the rest of us, probably could benefit from an exercise or activity program. Why not suggest it to her and see what she says. Before beginning any physical programs, make sure she consults her doctor. Most seniors who are in relatively good health will benefit from a walking program of some kind.

If she’s looking for someone to join her on walks, contact the local mall. That’s where many seniors walk. See if mall management can put her in touch with a walking group. Or, if the weather is nice in the winter where your mother lives, suggest that she call a neighbor or friend. She may know other seniors who would be just as eager for companionship.

If your mother is not able to exercise, perhaps a reading hobby would appeal to her. It’s one of the most popular senior pastimes. She could contact her local senior center, library or bookstore to find reading clubs in her area to join.

Is your mom eating her meals alone? If so, encourage her to get out for at least one meal a day. Many senior centers have great meal programs, and fun and interesting activities in conjunction with those programs. Or she could invite friends to her home to dine with her.

Most seniors enjoy and want companionship. If your mom doesn’t know many people in her area or if her closest friends have passed on, consider hiring a professional caregiver. The local Home Instead Senior Care® office tries to match its CAREGiversSM with seniors of similar interests. Many are also the same age as seniors. All are screened, bonded and insured, and trained to work with older adults.

We all need to change our routine once in a while, and the New Year is a good time to do that. Check out the benefits of exercise for seniors.

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