If you haven’t heard the expression ‘age out loud’ yet, it refers to just the opposite of how many people visualize older Americans, which is quietly and passively living out their golden years. Aging out loud instead embraces living much more fully, being involved in activities which are meaningful, interacting with the people and the environment around them, and giving voice to the aging experience in general.
With May of 2017 being designated Older Americans Month, it’s very appropriate that the home caregivers of Menlo Park are assisting in many ways with the ‘age out loud’ experience. This is a good month to remember that, far from being a burden on family members or society in general, many older Americans still have much to offer, and still yearn to experience much about our world.
Some of the ways that home caregivers are contributing to the ‘age out loud’ theme are by making use of various health and fitness strategies, which will help to maintain good health and a sense of well-being for older Americans in their charge. By urging seniors in their care to become involved in either community activities, home activities, or both, home caregivers can provide a big boost to the aging out loud experience.
There are a number of community activities which seniors can participate in, and some of these may be offered in your area. Silver Sneakers for instance, is a national program which is available for Medicare-aged seniors at participating fitness centers. The program promotes healthy living and well-being through various classes and seminars on fitness, as well as through social gatherings and planned activities.
Volunteering for community work can be a great way to stay active and get lots of exercise, and it can be a very rewarding and satisfying experience to know that you’ve helped others, and given of yourself in some way to the larger community. Because seniors have a wealth of living experience, that can all be put to good use at many civic organizations and charities where there is never enough help to keep things running smoothly.
Many communities have senior centers which provide all kinds of activities for older Americans to stay active, and to interact comfortably with others of their own age. Exercise programs are commonly offered at such centers, as well as group activities like playing cards, reading sessions, craft-making, and even music and dance events.
Health and fitness activities at home
At times when there are no community activities scheduled, or if a senior is unable to attend one that is scheduled, there are plenty of home activities which can contribute to overall health and fitness to keep the aging out loud process going. Here are just a few of the ways that home caregivers involve seniors:
- Walking – taking a walk around the block, or out in the park can be a wonderful way to get fresh air, and stimulate the body’s muscles.
- Gardening – pulling weeds, planting flowers or vegetables, adding fertilizer, and trimming back bushes can all be low-stress activities that most seniors are capable of.
- Dancing – if there isn’t a community dance planned, why not put on some favorite dance music, and waltz around the living room? Something more energetic would be even better.
- Household chores – a surprising amount of exercise can be gained from just picking up around the house to keep it clean and tidy. Even more benefit can be gained from sweeping, mopping, doing laundry, washing dishes, dusting around the home, and even preparing meals.
- Hiking – if you’re still able to take a hike through low-impact hiking trails, this can be a terrific cardio session, and very satisfying for the senses.
- Swimming – if you don’t have a pool at home, most communities do have swimming facilities, and even provide for specific sessions for senior swimming.
- Playing games or sports – some sports such as bocce ball, badminton, or lawn darts can be fun activities while providing good exercise, and if you aren’t up to this level of exercise, playing board games like Monoply can offer at least some mental and low-level physical interaction.
Benefits of aging out loud
Involving older people in health and fitness strategies and contributing to the aging out loud experience is much more than a simple human interest story – it carries concrete, measurable benefits along with it. Any number of studies have supported the conclusions that increased physical activity for seniors is highly beneficial, in ways like the following:
- Provides a significantly greater sense of well-being and self-confidence, because seniors still feel like an active, vibrant part of the community
- Is associated with lower mortality rates, and lower incidence of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, strokes, breast cancer, colon cancer
- Higher level of muscular fitness and cardio-respiratory capability, as well as a healthier body mass index
- Is associated with bio-marker profiles much more conducive to prevention of cardiovascular issues and type II diabetes, while also enhancing bone health and strength
- Overall higher levels of functional health, with greatly reduced risks of falling
- Higher cognitive functionality, with significantly reduced risk of functional limitations, both moderate and severe.
In short, aging out loud is just plain great for seniors! In this month designated as Older Americans Month, home caregivers in the Menlo Park area are doing their part to help seniors age out loud, and so should everyone else.