Get Active! Caregiver Tips to Promote Physical Activity

Get Active! Caregiver Tips to Promote Physical Activity

Being physically active, regardless of your age, is a great way to stay healthy and improve overall wellbeing. 

It is especially important for older adults to be physically active if possible. You may run into challenges when trying to encourage the person you are caring for to participate in daily physical activities such as walking or completing a prescribed exercise program from a health care professional. 

These challenges can create a stressful situation if the person does not want to participate in the exercises or any physical activity despite your best efforts.

Here are some helpful tips on how to become more physically active with the person you are caring for and continually engage them in physical activity for life. 

Before promoting a more active lifestyle, please consult with a health care professional such as a family physician or a physiotherapist to ensure that the person you are caring for is safe to participate in the types of physical activity you want to promote.

Meaningful Physical Activity

Assuring the person in your care that you are on their side and understand their goals are great steps forward in building a good relationship with exercise and physical activities. Knowing what their goals are can provide a means to motivate the person in your care to participate in an exercise or activity program.

Consider asking questions such as:

  • “What would you like to achieve?”
  • “Do you have any goals you would like to work on?” 

Using the information they provide you, see if you can link them to their prescribed exercises or a new appropriate activity they can do. Encourage the ones you care for that they can achieve their goals if they participate in those activities routinely.

Physical Activity Buddy System

Working out with friends has social benefits as well so join in on the fun! Doing exercises with the person you care for provides them with encouragement and a great cheerleader. You can be accountable to each other in doing the exercises. Knowing someone who is ’in it together’ can give the person you care for a sense of inclusion and responsibility.

Double-Duty Activities

Incorporating exercises into everyday activities will help make them seem like no work at all.

For example, when you are assisting the one you care for to walk into the living room, consider taking the long way around or walk an extra lap around the area. 

Incorporating exercises into everyday tasks will make them feel less onerous and provides the one you care for with a more physically active lifestyle. 

Make Exercise Part of Their Daily Routine

Encourage the person you are caring for to schedule a regular time in the day to complete an exercise program or physical activity.

Having the one you care for complete the exercise program at the same time each day (for example, every day after lunch) will ingrain the activity into their schedule and become part of their regular, daily routine. 

Make Physical Activity Fun!

Exercises may not always appear interesting but you can help make daily physical activity fun by using imagination and enlisting the help of family and friends.

For example, if an exercise was to raise their arms up towards the ceiling, have the person you care for do the wave or simulate a basketball throw. 

Involving family members such as grandchildren can make the exercises feel like a game rather than a chore. Playing catch with a softball or bouncing a balloon can give the one you care for a great workout while allowing them to have fun at the same time. 

Positivity in Numbers

Participating in a group exercise class is a great way to become more active and social.

The participants in the class can be a new social group for the person you are caring for and can provide motivation and company. Some classes may be free of charge to the person you care for. Contact your local community centre for more information.

How do you encourage the person you are caring for to engage in some daily physical activity? 

At Elizz, we provide caregiver support for you and home care services for those who depend on you through SE Health.

Elizz is a powered by SE Health, a not-for-profit health care organization that has been caring for Canadians since 1908.

Call us at 1-855-275-3549

Learn more about our home care services by visiting the services section of our website

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