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Elder Care Nursing Homes Can Help Keep Your Loved Ones Active
2 Oct 2019

Selecting a suitable elder care nursing home that can provide a suitable atmosphere, environment, and level of care for your loved one is a crucial process. From a distance to visit through to care essentials and needs, there are many factors which need to be carefully weighed up and evaluated. One factor which people tend to have previously overlooked concerns the amount of assistance you should expect a full-time nursing care facility to provide towards encouraging residents to stay active.


A great deal of physical therapy based research suggests that the decline in motor skills/function we all expect in older age can be considerably lessened with suitable care and attention. Regular physical activity is essential for not just physical but also emotional and mental health. Here are some examples to look out for when browsing care home options.


1) Regular Organized Walks


Walking is an excellent way of staying active, and the advantage is that it can be easily spread throughout the week and performed to an appropriate level of intensity. Daily walking - even as little as half an hour each day - is an almost universally shared pursuit among the fittest residents. All kinds of walks count, and with care homes, you have the extra advantage of the social dimension provided by walking in company with other residents and staff.


Taking a stroll around nearby parks and grounds is much more preferential than even using a treadmill because it encourages the use of all muscles and varies in intensity. It is also an interesting way to break up the morning or afternoon schedule. Look for care homes which provide for these, ideally at least two or three different times throughout the day.


2) Encourage A Level Of Self Care


Something you'll tend to find at the best care facilities is the staff encouraging residents to perform as many of their own daily chores as possible. Those who are able to even perform basic chores such as washing their dishes or ironing some clothes (perhaps with a little assistance along the way) are often those who are happiest and healthiest. Good care homes will appreciate that not everyone wishes to be waited on and have all their tasks done for them - and will instead help make sure that the essential tasks are more of a shared effort. 


Remember also that chores and light housework are good for overall fitness and use a variety of different motor skills. Keeping these used wherever possible is always a positive step in later age, and something good quality residential nursing facilities will always encourage.


3) Dancing & Games


It may sound almost cliched but there is plenty of solid logic behind the reason why so many superior care facilities encourage dancing and physical games among their residents. Anything that helps get people up from their chairs and active is worth promoting, especially when it is also within a social context. Once again you'll notice that the facilities you visit which have the most pleasant atmosphere (look for residents chatting and smiling with each other) make these group activities enjoyable and frequently available.


4) High-Quality Training & Exercise


Chair based exercises have always been a feature of many elder care homes and while they should always be encouraged, there are some newer technologies based upon proactive physical therapy that is thought to be much more effective. Keep an eye out for homes which offer gyms that include Neurogym technologies. These are especially focused on maintaining basic motor skills and helping towards preventing accidents and falls. One of the most frustrating aspects of aging for many people if finding themselves becoming more clumsy and prone to knocking items over. Immobility plays a major contributory role in this development, so exercises which encourage basic motor skills *catching, throwing, adaptable movements, etc) are essential.


Orthopedic rehabilitation and neurologic rehabilitation provision are increasingly common in the higher quality residential care facilities and can play an enormous role in assisting people to make the most of their later years. Therapists and clinicians will usually discuss rehabilitation with their patients and help create a care model that works best for their condition. Having such services as in-house is always better than needing to take long journeys to specialist facilities.


Final Thoughts


Residential nursing homes should provide plenty of ways to encourage their residents to stay fit and active. The best are going to be those who provide that little extra motivation and assistance to help ensure that everyone can partake. Staying reasonably active - and making effective provisions for where underlying health issues can make this more awkward - are the hallmark of good quality care options and something which ought to be towards the top of anyone's selection criteria.

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