Best Winter Activities for Seniors

Senior citizens and the winter season do not often get along very well. During these cold months, they are supposed to stay inside; otherwise, extreme weather may cause illness or injury. However, this does not mean that seniors should only eat, sleep and just watch TV all throughout the winter season. There are actually a number of winter activities that are not only enjoyable but are also beneficial to the grandmas and grandpas out there.

Playing Bingo

Bingo may not be the best game for staying fit while remaining indoors, but this is actually a great game that encourages mental stimulation. It is also a great way to make new friends. This game is not only played at home, but can also be found in local halls and senior clubs and. Although bingo normally involves some money or prizes, it can also be played for the fun of it. Plus, there are different types of the game so that each round can seem unique.

Using the Treadmill

Treadmills are actually good friends of senior citizens while they remain indoors. Walking on a treadmill daily is just like walking outside except that there are no worries about tripping into or falling down the snowy path. Similarly, senior citizens who enjoy biking leisurely can still do what they usually do by using the stationary bike. It is just as beneficial to the body as riding outdoors. Additionally, they are much safer especially during the harsh winter seasons. Using these machines can definitely keep seniors fit and healthy even while staying inside.

Go Bowling

Bowling is a classic social activity said to be about 4,000 years old. It is fun and is one of the best ways to meet new people. Even those who do not like games will surely be interested in playing bowling with other seniors. Aside from being enjoyable, bowling offers great benefits physically. It helps the player get into shape especially when done regularly. It also tones the muscle and even works as a strength exercise.

Video Games

Although seniors are not generally seen as techy people, they can truly benefit from video games. A combination of exercise and gaming, there are now a variety of high-tech games that boost fitness in adults and keep them mentally active. There are boxing, tennis, and even dance games. Of course, they cannot be compared with the health benefits offered by doing the real activity, but they are strongly advised to seniors nowadays particularly during the cold winter season. They are an excellent way to keep being active instead of sleeping all day as the snow or rain pours down. It is important though that the senior or the caretaker or nurse knows the limits of the senior since some of the video games can be too demanding for their age as sometimes learning about things that are online or computer based can frustrate both the carer and the senior.

Walk Up and Down the Stairs

Winter activities do not have to be fancy. Simply walking up and down the stairs can actually keep senior citizens healthy. Sure, it is not as pleasant and fun as the other activities mentioned above, but this is one sure way to remain healthy throughout the winter. It burns more calories and keeps them away from heart diseases.

Take a Class

Cooking, sewing, and other kinds of classes can make the senior citizen busy and happy during the cold months. Enrolling in a class is a brilliant method to meet new people or gain new friends. In addition, this improves memory, keeps their minds sharp and even boosts their self-confidence. Learning anything is the best way to have a healthy mind and body for a long time. If your elderly relative is at home with a career most of the time, then there is the added benefit of having some independence in getting out of the house.

The activities in this list are definitely entertaining and beneficial for seniors. However, before starting an activity, make sure to consult with the doctor first to avoid health risks.

About the Author

Erin Warbrook is a freelance writer from Perth, Western Australia who loves spending time with her elderly grandmother who lives in a residential care facility with Brightwater Care Group.

Helping Our Elders Address Incontinence

Incontinence is one of the most underreported conditions in all of medicine. Over 13 million people in the U.S. (as many as 1 in every 4 seniors) suffer from this condition either in the form of involuntary secretion of urine (urinary incontinence) or inability to control bowel release (fecal incontinence). What many of these people do not realize right is that symptoms of incontinence could be a sign of a much more serious condition. Urinary incontinence is a common early symptom for health afflictions like Parkinson’s Disease, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, any condition that can affect the nervous system or bladder.

For caregivers, it is very important that you take initiative when spotting signs of incontinence and talk to the affected person. The very nature of the condition is embarrassing but essential to catch early on in case something worse is developing. If you know a particular elder that is trying to manage incontinence then touch base with them in private and ask them how they how they are managing. As caregivers it is very important to try and handle the situation while preserving as much dignity as you can for the affected. Here are some subtle ways you can help an elder manage incontinence and continue to live happy and healthy.

1. Medications

Have the person consult a doctor both to see if anything worse is developing and to check what medications they are on. Some medications are known to cause small cases of incontinence as a side effect. Check if there are any alternatives or if the meds are being abused. Overmedication is all too common in assisted living homes and is usually a sign of negligence by a caregiver. Make sure anything prescribed is safe for the individual and taken in proper doses.

2. Nutrition

Help the affected one get a handle on the condition by helping them develop a better diet. Make sure they avoid bladder stimulating beverages like alcohol, coffee, soda, anything with caffeine. Have them eat foods that are high in fiber at every meal. Fiber will help them remain regular and allow them to better time their bathroom visits so that they don’t suffer an “accident” in public. Nutrition is something that needs to monitored more closely in assisted living homes in general. It is especially important for those with incontinence or digestive problems.

3. Make Sure They Can Get to the Restroom in a Timely Fashion

For those with physical disabilities incontinence can be especially depressing as they usually are not as capable of getting to the restroom in time. Make sure they have adequate mobility aids to help them get to the toilet in a timely manner. Bed pans are also a good option to have in case of a sudden emergency.

4. Exercise

One of the many misconceptions about seniors and exercise is that those who suffer from incontinence should avoid strenuous activity altogether. This could not be more wrong as regular exercise can both increase metabolism and improve digestion to help manage incontinence. Always supervise seniors during exercise. Those who are avid joggers or walkers should consider wearing some type of incontinence briefs just in case something should happen. If the individual is still anxious about the condition schedule some time for them to exercise in private as they probably won’t want to engage in any group exercise activities. Do your best to accommodate them until they have a comfortable grasp on things.

5. Engage Them in Personal Conversation to Help them Cope

Some seniors are tremendously affected by having to have someone help them go to the bathroom. Learn about the person and talk about things that make them happy when you are with them. Let them reminisce on brighter days. One day that could very well be you, approach them how you would want to be treated.

About the author

Martha June Whitman is a writer and former caregiver who loves sharing her knowledge and experience to help others with matters of geriatric health. She writes for National Incontinence, a leading supplier of incontinence underwear and tena briefs.