Preventing Senior Hospitalizations - Part 4
Stay Active Physically and Mentally
My neighbor Milly was the best example I have ever seen who stayed physically and mentally active. Milly lived to be 112 years old. She was born in England in 1900 and moved to New Bedford, MA in 1910. She was a woman who survived a lot of things in her lifetime and I think that is because she was strong physically and mentally.
Milly was a huge advocate for exercise. She would lift her weights, which consisted of cans of soup, everyday. She would stretch every morning before getting out of bed. Milly knew the benefits of staying physically active and that is what allowed her to remain in her home until the age of 110.
Home Instead Senior Care's research found that:
“Research has shown that people who remain active over a lifetime decline for a shorter span of time. The more of that lifetime you can be active and doing the things you consider functional means the shorter decline at the end of life."
When people think about exercise they usually think of physical exercise, while that is one key, mental exercise is just as important. Remember the phrase "use it or lose it". You need to keep your mind active and challenged on a daily basis.
Milly was a person who always played cards so her mental capacity was 100% until the day she died. You need brain power to play cards and so she kept hers active by doing that on a very regular basis. You have to know the cards you have, watch what others are discarding and also calculate your betting as you play. So card playing is a very good way to stimulate your brain.
My Home Instead office in North Dartmouth offers a Memory Fitness presentation to senior centers in the area. It is 30 minutes of brain education and 30 minutes of brain teasers and facts. One thing that I found the most interesting was using your brain in a different way each day. For instance, we are always asked or told about the seniors who do Soduko. While using your brain to play that game each day is great, you need to change it up on a regular basis. Meaning don't play the same game each day. Try the ones in the newspaper one day and use a workbook another day. Repetition is not good when you need to challenge your brain.
So I encourage you to think about the senior in your life. How much physical and mental stimulation do they get on a daily basis? How could you help improve their exercise? What can you do to keep them healthy and strong?
Share your ideas with me!
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