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Motivating a Senior Loved One to Exercise

By Mary-Frances Walsh, 8:00 am on

It may take some serious effort to convince a senior loved who never displayed a passion for exercise to make it a habit now that they’re older. Fortunately, our professional in-home caregivers have found some productive ways to motivate seniors to get some regular exercise – and they’re simple tips that you can employ yourself, helping to boost your loved one’s physical, emotional and cognitive health.

Focus on Social Benefits

Focusing on the opportunities for socialization may convince seniors to at least give some group activities a try. There are many community-based programs designed specifically for seniors, with opportunities ranging from water aerobics classes to low-impact strength training.

Use Relevant Stats

If you want to use stats to motivate your senior loved one, stick to facts that are relevant to their lifestyle. For instance, you could explain that regular exercise can make it easier for them to walk around the mall without assistance or get outside to tend to their garden.

Participate with Them

Take some time to show your loved one how to do some basic exercises, making modifications as necessary to match their physical abilities. Consider taking a fitness class with them or get the whole family involved and schedule a regular day of exercise at a local park. The extra support can give your loved one the push they need to become more involved.

Let Them Select Activities

Emphasize the fact that exercise can be fun. Talk with your senior loved one and make a list of activities they’re interested in doing, whether it be learning some yoga moves or taking up ballroom dancing. Take the list to their doctor for approval. If some activities aren’t doctor-approved, see if there are acceptable modifications that can be made.

Track Their Progress

Finally, sometimes motivation comes from seeing the results of your efforts. For instance, giving your senior loved one a pedometer to take with them while walking can allow them to see their daily progress. There are also plenty of mobile apps your loved one can use to track real-time stats like calories burned.

Need help motivating your loved one? Perhaps you’re not able to visit with them regularly or you live out-of-state and are concerned about their physical health. Whatever the reason, Home Care Assistance Sonoma County is here to help. We provide senior care in Sonoma County, assisting older adults with daily exercise, nutritious meal preparation, medication reminders and more. Find out how our highly trained and compassionate caregivers could help your aging parent, grandparent or loved one by calling a friendly Care Manager at 707-843-4368.