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Remaining Active as one Ages

Posted April 12, 2017 in Articles

Keeping your body in shape is important as you grow older. It’s especially true for seniors. And regularly exercising is one way to accomplish that.

Susan Farone, recreation director at Kindred Living at the Fountains in Lyndhurst, said there are many benefits to keeping a senior active. She said it’s important to keep them engaged and motivated.

“When exercising, (seniors) get a sense of control over their life,” Farone said. “Oftentimes, they feel as they get older, they don’t have much to give, which isn’t true.”

Farone said getting seniors to talk and express feelings are important and Kindred Living finds success with this kind of holistic approach. She said Kindred Living’s best activities are song and art, which hone creativity.

“Once the process starts, you see things emerge,” Farone said. “I say stay with the process and stay with that process of creation, you see them open up and start to flourish.”

Farone said many residents at Kindred Living have limited mobility, but that doesn’t stop them from being active and motivating themselves to heal and stay strong.

“It’s about engaging them in their options, like physical activities through chairs, walking, water hockey and even things like Wii bowling,” she said.

Farone said when seniors fail to use certain body parts, they lose their abilities in those areas. Seniors sometimes experience pain and choose to avoid using that body part, which can make the pain worse, but it is important also to make sure they are aware of their limits, she said.

“There are people who get stubborn about (exercising) and think they can do more,” Farone said. “I think that’s where people can help them set boundaries in a gentle way, instead of using discouraging language and saying they can’t do it.”

Kim Skerl, activities director at Menorah Park in Beachwood, said that activities help keep bodies active, but agrees that balance should be achieved within the exercise regimen.

“Many older adults end up in rehab facilities because of broken bones due to falls,” Skerl said. “As the body ages, recovery becomes much more difficult and is a much slower process. Staying active can help maintain your balance to help prevent falls or injuries that end requiring months of recovery.”

When it comes to recovery, Skerl said seniors can participate in many activities to regain strength. Activities like weight training, walking clubs, tai chi, Zumba and sports like volleyball can help maintain one’s ability to live independently and can improve stamina.

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