Physical Activity Boosts Emotional and Mental Health of Patients in Nursing Homes

old woman walking outside

It’s hard enough that some of the older members of our families have to be away from us because of their physical incapability to take care of themselves. The least we can do is to find nursing homes or assisted-living facilities that care about improving their well-being through physical activity. Seniors who regularly exercise—as long as their bodies can still handle the activities—benefit physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Some nursing homes in Worcester County have large gardens, walkways, and pathways. These should be used to the benefit of the seniors who live there. They should be allowed to walk around the facility or do simple things that they enjoy such as gardening. These things will prevent them from getting depressed and anxious.

Physical Activity Benefits Seniors

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), seniors who foster an active lifestyle stand to have more energy, improve balance, prevent joint pain, diabetes, heart disease, and other serious health concerns, and reduce the chance of depression. But the activities that seniors can do should be limited to what their bodies and health can take. Some of the suggestions from NIH are meditation, gardening, brisk walking, jogging, tai chi, yoga, climbing stairs, free weights, and swimming. However, before a senior from a nursing home is integrated into a program, there should be a medical assessment of the things that he can still do and those he cannot.

Social Activities Help, Too

senior party

Those who cannot engage in physical activity because of their health and the frailty of their bodies should be a part of a program that aims to boost the residents’ mental health. Nursing homes are encouraged to facilitate social activities among their residents because this keeps dementia and Alzheimer’s disease at bay. The simple act of connecting and mingling with the other residents can put a senior in a good mood. He may even develop and cultivate friendships inside the nursing homes, which makes his stay there much easier for him.

Much of the time of residents living in nursing homes is spent looking at the window or playing checkers with their co-residents. Integrating physical fitness tasks into their daily routines will give them a sense of purpose. Some even enjoy the competitive spirit of a dance-off, so dancing instructors may also be needed in a nursing home facility.

Safety Is of Paramount Importance

Before starting any kind of physical program, seniors should consult with their doctors first for sound medical advice on what kind of activities they should be engaged in. The safety of the residents is still a top priority for a nursing home. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) says that these precautions should be made when seniors plan to join physical activity:

  • Do not exercise when you are sick.
  • Rebuild your strength and endurance by going back to the first steps of the program after you have fallen sick and have to be absent from the program for a while.
  • Avoid common areas and even the gym during cold and flu season.
  • Exercise outdoors when the weather permits it.

A nursing home aims to provide more than just a safe place for senior residents to receive medical care. They are also concerned about the well-being of the residents, making sure that they are happy and contented. The personnel of a nursing home make sure that the seniors are physically, emotionally, and mentally fit.

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