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I want to help someone get active

Helping loved ones stay active

Mohan's family is helping him to live an active and fulfilled life with dementia.

It can be tempting to encourage our older friends or relatives to take it easy, but that's not always the best thing for them long term.

As we get older, our bodies change and we naturally start to slow down a little bit. If someone's been diagnosed with a health condition, or is living with long-term challenges like arthritis or breathing difficulties, it's understandable they might not feel able to be as active.

But too much sitting and too little movement can make people feel worse in the long run, and leave them more prone to slips and falls. So it's best to encourage your loved one to keep active, no matter how old they are or what they're able to do.


If someone is completely inactive

Does the person you want to help struggle with basic activities like walking around the house and getting up the stairs?

Here are some things you should encourage them to do:

  • If they sit down a lot during the day, suggest they get up once an hour. Or if that's not possible, get them to move their arms and legs for a few minutes. You could set a timer to remind them when to get up.
  • Get them to do gentle stretches in bed or in a chair each day to keep them supple.
  • Set goals for them to work towards, like pushing up from sitting in a chair to standing position without using a walker or leaning on someone else.
  • If they're a bit steadier on their feet, they could walk from one room to another and back, and time how long it takes. They could try to beat their time every day.

If someone wants to get active but isn't sure how to

There's no specific type of exercise people need to do as they get older, but activities that work your cardiovascular system are the best. This includes things like:

  • walking
  • zumba
  • swimming
  • dancing
  • yoga.

Lots of local Age UKs run classes tailored for older people. Find your local Age UK and get in touch to see what they can offer.

Find your local Age UK

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Last updated: Sep 10 2019

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Mohan with his family

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