A sedentary lifestyle can be unhealthy for anyone at any age, but for seniors over 65 it can be especially problematic. Studies have shown that older people who spend too much time sitting are at an increased risk for many health conditions in the future. Seniors are also more prone to staying seated for numerous reasons, such as retirement, physical pain, depression, and simply slowing down. Having a family caregiver around can encourage older people to move more and avoid some of these dangers that often arise due to inactivity.
1. Increased Risk of Disability
Studies have shown that seniors who sit frequently are at a greater risk for developing a physical disability down the road. Seniors who are sedentary are doubly at risk for developing a disability that can limit their lifestyle. This is true even for seniors who exercise regularly but spend the remainder of their time watching TV or doing other sedentary activities.
If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of home care. Omaha Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.
2. Loss of Independence
Lack of activity leads to a decrease in muscle mass, and seniors are already at a greater risk for muscle loss. Eventually, they may lose so much muscle that they become unable to bathe, cook, brush their teeth, or get around the home easily.
3. Poor Bone Health
Everyone loses bone density with age, especially when reaching the senior years. Remaining sedentary increases the loss of bone mass, which increases the risk for broken bones and bone-related health issues like osteoporosis.
4. Increased Risk of Diseases
Some experts suggest that sitting for long periods can be as detrimental to heart health as smoking, which means people who are sedentary are more likely to develop heart disease and die from it. Sedentary seniors are also at a greater risk of diabetes, stroke, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and certain types of cancer.
5. Increased Risk of Depression and Anxiety
A sedentary lifestyle can impact seniors mentally as well as physically. Those over 65 who sit for long periods are at a greater risk for developing depression and anxiety disorders, but physical activity can lift moods. If your loved one is prone to depression, it’s especially important to be concerned.
For some families, caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times. Luckily, they can rely on professional respite care. Omaha, NE, Home Care Assistance is a trusted name in respite and hourly care. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with bathing, transportation, medication reminders, exercise, and much more, allowing families the time they need to focus on other important responsibilities or just take a break.
How You Can Help
If you are a family caregiver who is worried about your older loved one’s sedentary lifestyle, there are some things you can do to encourage him or her to move more:
- Keep your loved one busy around the house. Cleaning, gardening, and doing other household chores is one of the best ways to stay active on a daily basis.
- Get a dog. If your loved one has the ability to take care of a dog, the pet will require daily activity, which means your loved one will need to walk and play with it.
- Find activities to do while watching TV. If your loved one enjoys watching TV, find active things to do during his or her favorite shows, like stretching, lifting hand weights, or riding an exercise bicycle.
- Plan regular outings. If your loved one is unable to leave the house independently, consider taking him or her out as frequently as you can. From walking in the park to going to the grocery store, anything that keeps your loved one moving is a good idea.
- Suggest taking part in an active hobby. Water aerobics, dancing, gardening, volunteer work, golf, tennis — there are many hobbies that can keep your loved one active. Look to your loved one’s community to see what’s available and find something that suits his or her interests.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care. Omaha families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. To learn more about our professionally trained caregivers, call us at (402) 261-5158.