Moving and Motivating on National Senior Health and Fitness Day - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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May 31, 2017

Moving and Motivating on National Senior Health and Fitness Day

If you’re blessed with living grandparents in your life, you’ll want to learn more about National Senior Health and Fitness Day, falling this year on Wednesday, May 31. This 24th annual day of celebration that honors our older adult population will find at least 100,000 senior citizens in over 1,000 different locations all over the country participating in fun and educational activities.

Spending the day with your grandparents is a wonderful way to pay tribute, while also inspiring them with the main message of the day: “If you keep moving, you will keep improving!” Here are some ideas on how to spend your time to help you create your own special day of sharing.

Get moving

Check with local organizations, including Departments of Parks and Recreation and shopping centers and malls, to find walking tours for seniors scheduled on this day. Many health clubs, gyms, and local “Y” facilities offer special exercise classes tailored to seniors like water aerobics and strength training for beginners.

Retirement communities get involved, too. In past years, The Older Adult Sunshine Center in Philadelphia, PA, offered a free aerobic exercise demonstration and an introduction to yoga for older adults. The Windham at Fresno, Fresno, CA, hosted a “Walker Olympics” and provided a free walker safety check and minor repairs.

 

Or you could join a flash mob!

 

Get educated

Check with local hospitals or senior centers that often hold special classes on pertinent topics such as fall prevention, osteoporosis prevention, and heart-healthy meal planning.

Get screened

Take your grandparent to one of the many health fairs scheduled during this time where free or low-cost screenings are offered. These usually include blood pressure checks, cholesterol tests, bone density assessments, hearing and vision tests, and diabetes checks.

Get nourished

The American Academy of Family Physicians reported that in 2012, 3.7 million American senior citizens were diagnosed with malnutrition. This dangerous condition is not just lack of food; it’s the failure to get proper nutrition, a very common problem for the elderly due to issues such as:

  • Changing taste buds
  • Lack of appetite
  • Depression
  • Chronic illness
  • Medication conflicts
  • New nutritional needs

 

Although your grandparents require fewer calories than they did when young, they need more protein, calcium, B vitamins, and other nutrients. Malnourishment can cause muscle weakness, increasing the risk of falls and injuries, and it weakens the immune system, leading to slow healing and increased risk of infection.

There are several creative ways you can help your elderly loved one get the nourishment needed:

1) Locate a senior center or nearby place of worship that offers community meals. Sharing mealtime with others meets nourishment and social needs, helping to prevent loneliness and isolation.

2) Sign your grandparents up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. These programs are easy to find, and usually very reasonably priced. This allows your loved ones to receive a large variety of fresh produce delivered weekly that's grown by local farmers. This seasonal produce is rich with vitamins, fiber, and flavor, and they may discover some new items to add to menu planning.

 

Most CSA members visit the farm at least once every season. Many CSAs allow members to add additional items to their weekly box such as eggs, meats, cheeses, oils, and other specialty items grown on the farm.

3) If your grandparents love the idea of growing their own fresh herbs and veggies, help them plant a container garden.

 

For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your career goals, please phone us at 855-979-5563 or email web@geneva.edu.