You have fond memories of your aging parents, including the fact they were always taking you to fun activities as a kid, like amusement parks, birthday parties and movies. Mom and dad still live independently at home, but lately you’ve noticed they’re not getting out nearly as much as they used to.

You’ve read some articles recently about the importance of keeping seniors mentally and physically active to promote their health and wellbeing as they continue aging in place at home. As their only close by adult child, you’ve been trying to help them stay more active, but with your own kids and job it’s hard to find time. Fortunately, there are several great ways to help seniors stay active without being there. Here are some of the better ones.

Take a Class

Studies have found that a senior’s mind can stay sharp well into their 80s under the right conditions. One way is through taking a class and learning something new. Encourage your mom and dad to sign up for a class at the local hobby store, library, community college or senior center. Here are some fun new activities for them to try:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cooking and baking
  • Creative writing
  • Knitting or crocheting
  • Learning a musical instrument or new language
  • Painting or drawing
  • Woodworking

Join a Gym

More and more at-home seniors are turning to exercise to stay happier and healthier while aging in place. Experts on aging have found that a regular exercise program for persons of any age increases flexibility and self-confidence, reduces stress, and helps them eat and sleep better. If your parents’ mobility is still good, here are some great low-impact exercises they can try at home, the “Y”, or senior-focused gym:

  • Bicycling
  • Golf (Walk, don’t use a cart)
  • Walking
  • Water aerobics
  • Wii or other interactive video games
  • Yoga or Tai Cheng

Travel to Exotic Places

While you were growing up, your parents loved to take you on trips. Remind them of places they’ve always talked about, and encourage them to go. The easiest, and safest, way to do so is for mom and dad to join a travel club for seniors. Someone else would be doing the driving and they’d get to make new friends and visit parts of the country, or world, that they’ve always dreamed of!

Teach Them Social Media

Just because your parents are physically limited due to an illness or other medical condition doesn’t mean they can’t socialize. Teach them the latest social media platforms, including video chat formats like Skype and Facetime, so that they can stay connected to:

  • Old high school or college classmates
  • Family members that live far away
  • Loved ones serving in the military
  • Other seniors with similar hobbies and interests

Calling All Volunteers

One of the most rewarding activities a senior can engage in is volunteering to help others, notably persons going through physical and emotional hardships. Talk to your parents about becoming volunteers for one of these causes:

  • Preparing care packages for those serving in the military abroad
  • Not-for-profit charities (Phone calls from home are always needed if their mobility is limited)
  • Cancer centers and hospitals
  • Churches and other religious organizations
  • Homeless shelters and food pantries
  • Local community center or playhouse

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

There’s nothing quite like taking in fresh air and nature’s beauty for any of us, and your mom and dad are no exception. Encourage them to get outside more, whether it’s just sitting on the patio sipping some coffee, traveling to the local nature preserve, or walking around their neighborhood. Here are some invigorating outdoor activities your parents might enjoy:

  • Walking through the woods
  • Fishing at a nearby pond or lake
  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Playing a game outside

We Help At-Home