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Keeping Homebound Seniors Active

Homebound seniors can face additional challenges such as loneliness, lack of physical activity, stress, and more.  Left to go on for lengths of time, these challenges can turn into problems.  Seniors can still stay active, even if they are unable to leave their home.  Many who are homebound are so for medical and/or mental illness reasons.  These issues, combined with isolation, mean that up to 3.6 million people over 65 in the US who are homebound will struggle with staying active. (NCBI)

There are many ways seniors become homebound.  Some of the more common reasons are: limited mobility, weakness, poor balance, medical conditions, memory disorders, mental health problems, and lack of social support or assistance. (Sciencedirect)

Common Challenges

While there are many challenges with growing older, the homebound senior faces some added issues.  Each challenge can be worked with if a support system for the senior is in place.

  • Isolation
  • Loneliness
  • Transportation hardships
  • Difficulty obtaining groceries, prescriptions, and other essentials
  • Mobility problems within the home
  • Lack of exercise/ physical activity
  • Lack of mental stimulation
  • Few social connections
  • Decreased quality of life (Healthline)

So how can we help seniors who are homebound?  To help seniors stay mentally sharp, try to encourage crosswords, puzzles, reading, learning something new, have regular conversations, and practice memorization.  Caregivers should always encourage seniors to stay positive and active and help them participate in activities.

Stay Active

Staying active can help all seniors live a higher quality of life.  To help homebound seniors stay active, follow these suggestions.

  • Exercise
    • Physical activity is a natural way to relieve stress.  It helps seniors stay flexible, fit, and healthy.  Encourage stretching, seated strength training, aerobic exercise, and yoga.  Make sure a doctor approves exercises before beginning.
  • Hobbies
    • Help seniors try out something new to stay sharp and active.  Activities such as knitting, reading, painting, wood carving, and scrapbooking are great activities.  Many organizations and churches have outreach programs for these that will come to homebound seniors.
  • Online Communities
    • Help seniors be safe and proficient online.  Seniors who enjoy writing could make a blog.  There are safe senior chat rooms to participate in discussions.  Social media can be used to connect with friends and family members.  Digital games are fun and brain stimulating.
  • Games
    • Caregivers, friends, and family members should take time to play games with seniors on a regular basis.  You can also teach seniors games that can be played solo.
  • Visitors
    • Encouraging visitors allows for seniors to socialize without having to leave the home.  Having visitors over, hosting activity groups, and using skype can lessen feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Home Sweet Home
    • If a homebound senior is able to perform cleaning, decorating, and maintenance, caregivers should assist and encourage them to do so.  It helps them stay active and take pride in their home. (ClearCare Online)

If you need help in your home, or know someone who does, please call Safe @ Home.  We are happy to help with companionship, housekeeping, outings, and more!

(ClearCare Monthly)

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