Exercises for Elderly Ladies – Part Two

In part one of our series of blogs on exercises for elderly ladies, we began by stressing the importance of the subject.  We explained our experience here, at Vermont Aged Care, in the care of our beloved residents. And we told you that we know the dangers of sedentariness. Physically, sedentariness has many negative effects. Also, mentally and emotionally sedentariness is not beneficial to them. So, if you are caring for an elderly loved one, we hope the following tips will assist you.

We began with the physical dangers of sedentariness. Now we would like to share with you the extended dangers of sedentariness and lack of exercise.

The negative mental effects of sedentariness

Surprisingly, the reported ones are an increased susceptibility to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. At first, you might be forgiven for wondering what the link is. That is because mental effects are much harder to define than physical ones. Also, people are often more reluctant to discuss their mental issues than their physical ones. Furthermore, they might not see the correlation. If they have not been physically active in their past life, they might not believe the importance of exercise.

For instance, it has been established that the elderly fear injury due to frailty and physical weakness. They might believe it is not important in old age. They may also think they are no longer physically able to exercise to any good use. So it is really a battle of the mind. We have to convince them of the importance of exercise in their well-being. Also, we need to stress the negative consequences if they refuse.

Perhaps they’re concerned about their budget. They may have an idea that exercises will involve machinery and high costs. This is understandable in view of the amount of  advertising for gym equipment in the media. Nonetheless, it is our job to present them with the research data backing up the claim described above. Here again, their GP will back you up. Further, they will have up-to-date data concerning the correlation between lack of exercise, anxiety and depression.

If your elderly loved one is taking medication to combat anxiety and depression, that would be a good starting point. Tell them that with exercise they may be able to reduce or even stop having to take their medication. Of course, under advisement from their GP. But there might be a definite link there that only needs identifying.

The emotional effects of sedentariness

Once again, the invisible symptoms of negative emotions are harder to categorise than physical ones. However, that does not mean they are not real or important. In a holistic sense, human beings are tripartite, as in consisting of three parts. We cannot detach our emotional health from our mental-health and our physical health. Therefore, it stands to reason that the ill-health of one will affect the other two.

That is another selling point you can use to convince your elderly loved one of the benefits of exercise. During the course of that conversation, the following objections may come up. “I prefer reading. It allows me to sit quietly and lose myself in a good story.” “I’ve never been one for physical activity, I prefer a good chat and a cup of tea.” “I like socialising, so cards and bingo suit me better.” “My body is not what it used to be and I’m embarrassed in comparison with the gym bunnies.” “I don’t feel welcome at the gym or group classes because they’re all so much younger than I am.”

Whilst all of the above are perfectly legitimate excuses, they’re not helpful! If you want to help your elderly loved one, you will need to overcome these sorts of objections. You could join in and exercise with them at home following a class on TV. There are so many really good ones available these days. What’s more, they’re free. If the grandchildren are around they might think it great fun exercising with Nana. The more the merrier as long as the objective is achieved.

In part three of this series of blogs on exercises for elderly ladies we will suggest solutions. Furthermore, we will present you with solutions to all three problems we have raised. Look out for this third blog coming soon. So, hoping you are finding the above helpful, we will say goodbye for now. From all of us here at Vermont Aged Care, we wish you and your elderly loved ones and family good health and happiness as always. Cheerio.

Recommended Reading

There are many very helpful websites and articles on the above subjects. We have listed a few to get you started.

http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/phd-physical-rec-older-guidelines

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/physical-activity-for-seniors

http://www.belmarrahealth.com/sedentary-lifestyle-found-to-increase-anxiety-and-depression-risk/

Seniors Information Victoria Tel. 1300 135 090

This blog is intended to provide helpful advice. Please speak with your family GP for personalised information or, for specialist advice & support in Melbourne Australia, please contact VERMONT AGED CARE:

770 Canterbury Road, Vermont, Victoria, Australia 3133

Phone: +61 03-9873 5300. Email: info@vermontagedcare.com.au

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