Seniors are more prone to disease, accidents and dangers when doing physical activities, since their bodies are less active, weaker and less flexible compared years ago. It is important to note that most are still capable of doing the same things, except that the intensity, duration and extent need to be toned down a bit for their safety and convenience.
Basic Safety Measures
It is important to keep in mind that you can only provide activities that senior citizens can tolerate. Some activities may already be too severe or strenuous for them to bear, and can lead to disease development and even complications of already existing conditions. There are plenty of alternatives, however, to provide when older individuals still request for items like playing basketball, golf, shopping, etc. You can make use of safety tools like wheelchairs, walkers and joint protectors. You can also let them indulge in activities in less severe form. Let them play with others in the same age to reduce overall intensity.
Check for signs of fatigue, stress and potential dangers. Make sure that the environment you choose is completely free of debris and other items that might lead to accidents, falls and wounds. The elderly are particularly prone to fractures and their healing mechanisms also tend to slow down, which is why you need to avoid injury and stress as much as possible.
It is equally important to consider the mental health of the elderly to make sure that they are living normal lives. You can provide activities that will boost their social welfare, such as letting them join sports activities, seminars, group counseling services and other extracurricular events. Seniors tend to battle feelings of anxiety and despair with self-fulfilment. Let them talk to others who were also in the same position before.
For example, seniors who have had experience in war will most likely relate better to past soldiers. They can share their stories, thereby boosting self-confidence and giving them the idea that they have been productive in the past. It is vital that you allow family and friends to visit and communicate regularly, even if the elderly is confined in the hospital or a home, so that they always have the feeling of being remembered and cared for.
Tools for Safety
There are several equipments available to ensure safety for the elderly. Some of the most popular are wheelchairs, canes, bandages for the joints, etc. You should also assess the environment and provide the necessary tools to keep seniors comfortable for various activities. Hats, sweaters, water bottles, diapers, etc. may be needed depending on the individual capacity. Always have a first aid kit ready, and keep a number of emergency services in your phone or wallet, just in case.
For starters, it is always advised to give seniors activities that are right for their age and physical tolerance. Over time, you can increase the duration and intensity to continue building strength and endurance. Assess the performance of different individuals and allow them to give you feedback. Their suggestions can be very useful when developing a program for maintenance and wellness. You can also ask others who have cared for the elderly in the past, including their immediate family. List down possible ideas that will keep activities entertaining, productive and most of all, safe.