There’s so much evidence that staying active is essential for seniors’ physical and mental well-being. Activity not only helps older adults stay physically healthy, it also helps them stay socially engaged, happier and more productive. That’s why activity–physical, mental and social–is such an important focus at Evergreen Health and Rehab and why our activities calendar is always packed.
Physical Activity and Seniors
A report from the U.S. Surgeon General found that older adults benefit from physical activity, and it doesn’t need to be strenuous to achieve health benefits. The report found that even sedentary seniors can gradually build up from short intervals of just five or ten minutes to longer periods. Here are some of the benefits of physical activity according to the report:
- Can help reduce the risk of injury from falls
- Can help lower blood pressure
- Can help seniors with chronic conditions build stamina and strength
- Can help reduce anxiety and depression
- Helps maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints
The report also notes that social support from friends and family can help encourage physical activity. This is why, in addition to targeted physical therapy and exercise programming, Evergreen Health and Rehab also offers fun opportunities for seniors to be physically active. These include everything from Wii bowling to shuffleboard to noodle ball using balloons and pool noodles to walking and talking with friends.
Mental Activity and Brain Stimulation in Seniors
Keeping seniors’ brains stimulated and engaged is another reason why staying active is so important. According to the National Institutes of Health, seniors who stay engaged in “meaningful activities” are happier and healthier. Mental stimulation can include everything from reading books to playing games to taking a class. This is why Evergreen Health and Rehab offers so many classes and discussion groups, from arts and crafts to Bible study. Keeping seniors thinking, talking and spending time with peers is an important part of our programming.
Socialization and Seniors
Staying active is essential, and staying active with friends and peers is even more helpful. Engaging in group activities helps seniors connect and feel less isolated. According to the NIH, becoming involved in community activities can help with certain health conditions and improve well-being. There’s also growing evidence that socialization can help improve cognitive health in seniors. While the NIH says there’s no conclusive evidence that socialization can prevent or delay Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, there is evidence that it may help with memory and can possibly push back age-related cognitive decline. Spending time with friends and engaging in meaningful activities helps seniors focus on positive, productive outcomes rather than health concerns or setbacks. It’s a great stress reliever for people of all ages and is especially important in seniors, for whom loneliness is a growing concern.
Staying Active at Evergreen
At Evergreen Health and Rehab, taking care of patients’ physical health is an important part of what we do. Through physical and occupational therapies, counseling and nutrition, we work to help patients regain strength and mobility whether they’re managing a chronic illness or recovering from injury or surgery. But in addition to formal therapies, we know that an element of fun and engagement is essential to keeping seniors happy and healthy.
This is why we have packed activities calendar every month, offering daily opportunities for socialization, physical activity and mental exercise. There is truly something for everyone, from Bible study and church groups, spelling bees, shuffleboard, tabletop games and of course bingo to fun and informative classes including painting and crafts and music. Themed events and coffee socials offer regular opportunities for socialization, and our enthusiastic staff members are on hand to help gently facilitate social connections and participation. It’s all part of our ongoing efforts to keep brains sharp and hearts full for happy, productive and fulfilling days.