The golden ages

Young adults may restrict their physical activity because of time or laziness. Staying active as we age, the physical restrictions become a limitation. Karishma Patel, MD is a primary care physician who specializes in geriatrics at Tufts Medical Center Primary Care-Woburn. Dr. Patel provides tips on how to encourage elderly individuals to stay active.

How can elderly patients stay active? 

In addition to traditional activities like walking, senior citizens should consider other options for staying active, such as exploring volunteer opportunities in the community. Participating in community events through the senior center or local charities, will help your family member feel accountable and provide incentive to get up and out and about for the day. Being an active member of a community provides added benefits of socialization with friends and giving back promotes feelings of purpose and self-worth.

Some senior centers and senior programs offer regular classes. In Woburn, the city offers group activities including a gentle morning stretch, line dancing and yoga. Other local programs even offer rides to the center so your family member maintains the freedom to set their own schedule. 

What if pain gets in the way of an active lifestyle? 

Often, patients report that pain prevents them from being as active as they would like. Over-the-counter medications have been proven to be effective treatments for joint pain, and balance exercises, such as tai-chi, can help strengthen muscles and prevent falls.

What are some tips to help older adults remember to take medications on time? 

It can be hard for older adults to remember to take their medications on the prescribed days and times. Packing medication into containers with specific days or setting a timer or alert on their cell phone, are effective ways to remind them to take their medications. Placing medications in highly-visible places - such as on the dining room table where they will be remembered around mealtimes - is another effective approach. “I always encourage patients to keep a list of their medications in their wallet and bring their medications to every doctor’s visit, to ensure compliance and accuracy,” said Dr. Patel.