Exercise Plan for Seniors

If you’re an older adult looking to establish an exercise routine, you should, ideally, be able to incorporate 150 minutes of moderate endurance activity into your week. This can include walking, swimming, cycling, and a little bit of time every day to improve strength, flexibility, and balance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest this amount of time for generally fit Americans aged 65 and older. Even though this sounds like a lot, the good news is that you can break it down into 10- or 15-minute chunks of exercise two or more times a day. Here’s an example of what a week might look like, along with suggestions for some exercises you can do to get started:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday

15-minute walk x 2 15-minute walk x 2 30 minute cycling, swimming, water aerobics, Zumba, etc. Rest 30 minute walk (or 15-minute walk x 2) 30 minute cycling, swimming, water aerobics, Zumba, etc. Rest

Strength Strength Strength

Balance Balance Balance Balance Balance Balance Balance

Flexibility Flexibility Flexibility Flexibility Flexibility Flexibility Flexibility

6-MINUTE STRENGTH ROUTINE

Safety in the Elderly Population

What are important safety measures for the elderly?

General safety measures both at home, and away from home, are encouraged and recommended to elderly patients and their family members. Falls and injuries, confusion, adherence to medical instructions, and future health and financial planning are among the concerns pertinent to elderly care.

Simple home safety recommendations for seniors include:

  • Using canes or walkers and shower seats for fall prevention if unsteady on feet
  • Utilizing assist devices such as walkers, wheelchairs, scooters to promote safe mobility and independence if difficulty getting around
  • Replacing hard wood floors with carpeting for injury reduction in case of a fall (avoid throw rugs on hard wood floors or potentially slick surfaces)
  • Using hearing aids, wearing glasses, and installing good lighting to diminish effects of hearing and visual problems
  • Managing medications by taking advantage of pill boxes when keeping track of medications become burdensome
  • Hiring caregivers or accepting assistance from family members if activities of daily living become difficult
  • Scheduling routine sleep and wake times to improve sleep quality and day time efficiency
  • Subscribing to medical alert systems and programming emergency phone number into cell phones for easy access in cases of emergency
  • Planning regular social activities to improve social interactions
  • Driving with care and recognizing when it may be safer to stop driving
  • Preparing a properly executed advance healthcare directive, living will, and trust to outline decisions and preferences in preparation for the time a person may become incapable of making sound decisions

Another noteworthy concern for the elderly is the subject of medications. With the rise in availability of various medications, naturally a growing list of drugs is offered to the elderly due to their high prevalence of medical conditions. As a consequence, interactions between these drugs and their individual side effects become increasingly more likely. The best approach to address these concerns is a discussion and periodic medication review with the treating physicians or the primary care doctor. If the elderly patient or their caregiver keep up-to-date records of allergies, medications, diseases, medical and surgical history, and advance directives readily available; the patient will have a better experience if they need emergent care or hospitalization. This is especially true if they arrive at a hospital where the patient's doctors do not practice, or if they have need of medical care while "on vacation" or "traveling."

10 Warning Signs Your Older Family Member May Need Help

Changes in physical and cognitive abilities that may occur with age can be difficult to detect—for older adults and their family members, friends, and caregivers. To help in determining when an older adult may need assistance in the home, the Eldercare Locator has compiled this list of 10 warning signs. Any one of the following behaviors may indicate the need to take action. It is also important to inform the older adult’s physician of these changes.

  • Changing eating habits, resulting in weight loss, appetite loss, or missed meals
  • Neglecting personal hygiene, including clothing, body odor, oral health, nails, and skin
  • Neglecting the home, with a noticeable change in tidiness and/or sanitation
  • Exhibiting inappropriate behavior, such as being unusually loud, quiet, paranoid, or agitated, or making phone calls at unusual hours
  • Changing relationship patterns, causing friends and neighbors to express concern
  • Showing physical injuries, such as burns, which may have resulted from general weakness, forgetfulness, or misuse of alcohol or medication
  • Decreasing or stopping participation in activities that were once enjoyable, such as a bridge or book club, dining with friends, or attending religious services
  • Exhibiting forgetfulness, resulting in unopened mail, newspaper piles, unfilled prescriptions, or missed appointments
  • Mishandling finances, such as not paying bills or paying them more than once and losing or hiding money
  • Making unusual purchases, such as more than one subscription to the same magazine, entering an unusually large number of contests, or increasing purchases from television advertisements

Through the Eldercare Locator, older adults and their loved ones can find local resources that can help older adults to continue living independently in their homes and communities. To find programs and services in your area, contact the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 or https://eldercare.acl.gov.

 Are you ready for your “care-years?”

Our “care-years” is a time in our lives when we need a combination of support services so we can live as independently as possible. Are you ready?

1. I know that my retirement years consist of 2 parts: the well-deserved, relaxing, independent years and the changing health, increased dependency care years...and I have an understanding of the needs of 'both' stages…(yes / no)

2. I have a good grasp of my financial, legal, and insurance affairs. I feel confident that all my necessary documents are up-to-date and in order…(yes / no)

3. I have made my end-of-life wishes known (e.g. written a will and discussed services with a family member)…(yes / no)

4. I feel confident that I have a good retirement plan in place because it takes into consideration the financial impact from my changing health needs…(yes / no)

5. I know at least one government agency in my community with the responsibility for seniors' health needs and I am aware of one of the programs offered through that department…(yes / no)

6. I know what to look for and how to elder-safe my home (inside and out) in order to reduce potential accidents…(yes / no)

7. I understand the medications I am taking and I have asked about many of the possible side effects related to those medications and the signs to watch for……(yes / no)

8. I know what to do during health emergencies and I am familiar with some of our local hospital's special resources for seniors…(yes / no)

9. I am aware of some of the subtle signs of dementia to watch for in my family members (e.g. the need for routines)…(yes / no)

10. I am aware of the various care-programs in my community (e.g. at-home services, rehabilitation services, nursing services, adult daycare options, assisted living complexes) and know how to request these…(yes / no)

11. I understand many of the costs associated with the care-years (e.g. at-home services, therapy costs, medications, cleaning services, special equipment...) and realize that there is now a special insurance policy available to help me cover certain care costs when needed…(yes / no)

12. I am confident that there will be 'few surprises' for my family to contend with during my senior years because my house is in order…(yes / no)