Tips For Helping Elderly Relatives Stay Healthy During The Quarantine
The COVID-19 quarantine has been particularly tough on the elderly, but you can help your older loved ones stay strong and feel less isolated with this simple idea: encourage them to engage in gentle movements throughout the day.
Stay-at-home orders are very likely preventing your elderly loved ones from enjoying their regular routines, which might have included social outings or exercise classes. Without these activities and without face-to-face visits from friends and family, seniors are spending a lot of time sitting and engaging in passive activities. Sitting for long periods isn’t healthy for any of us, but it’s especially bad for the elderly because it increases stiffness and impedes circulation.
It is very important to encourage your older loved ones to get up and move or exercise from a seated position every 30 minutes. They should also stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.
What sorts of exercises can your elderly loved one perform? There are lots of safe and appropriate options.
Even those with limited mobility can perform regular exercises from a chair. Make sure the chair has arms and is pushed against a wall so that it provides stability and doesn’t slip.
Seated exercises include heel-toe raises, marches, leg lifts, hamstring stretches, straight leg raises, shoulder presses, bicep curls, overheard arm raises and finish with sit to stand.
Standing exercises are great for those who are comfortable exercising in a standing position while holding onto a counter or sturdy table for balance.
Standing exercises include heel raises, marches, hip abduction, hip extension, hamstring curls, mini squats
These kinds of exercises are for those who are steady on their feet. They should still be executed while placing one hand on a wall or counter for balance. A hallway works well for these exercises, or anywhere your loved one can walk several steps without impediments.
Dynamic exercises include standing with feet together, standing with staggered along the instep, walking with high knees, backward walking and side stepping along the wall.
Remind your senior loved one to set alarm on their phone to move every 30 minutes. Or better yet, have family members call or text them throughout the day to periodically remind them. It’s a great way to stay connected and ensure they stay as healthy as possible during the quarantine.
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Lindsey Martindill, PTA, is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant and has been employed with HPRC since 2017. She earned her PTA degree in 2012 from Darton College and previously earned a B.S. degree in Exercise Science in 2010 from Columbus State University. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), and Physical Therapy Association of Georgia. She is ASTYM (Augmented Soft Tissue Massage) certified. Her interests include orthopedics, sports injuries and pain science.