Lets Exercise! Valuable Tips

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Senior doing Exercise outdoors with caregiver, Home Care Client, Home Care Exercise

At Home Care Assistance Calgary, Alberta, we follow what the doctor orders! Doctors recommend that healthy adults should engage in at least 30 minutes per day of moderate to intense physical activity. Although seniors typically have physical deficits, they too should remain as active as physically possible. That’s because muscles that go unused atrophy and contract overtime. Once contractures begin to occur, it is almost impossible to regain lost mobility. So, this article looks at different types of physical activities that older adults may be able to engage in when receiving Home Care.

Activity of daily living (ADL’s)

People who are frail or non-ambulatory in Calgary, Alberta often find that simple ADL’s such as getting dressed, eating, and transferring from bed to wheelchair are enough to give them a challenging workout. Completing ADLs maybe considered an important form of exercise and often assisted by a caregiver for home care. Always encourage older adults to do as much as possible, even if that means an activity will take longer. For instance, it takes much less time to simply dress or feed a person with Alzheimer’s disease it does to provide the verbal and physical cues necessary to dress or feed themselves. If you perform the activity for person, however, you have to engage in healthy movement.

Sometimes seniors get used to being waited on by caregivers. During the early days of your loved one’s illness, you may be tempted to do much out of sympathy. If your loved one refuses to perform tasks of which they’re physically capable, be understanding, but firm. Don’t simply withdraw your assistance but encourage your loved one to take a little more personal responsibility for their own care. Instead of brushing his hair for instance, you might hand over the brush and say, “I’ll need to get a load of laundry started, so I’ll let you brush your own hair this morning.”

These changes will take a little getting used to for both of you, but they are good to start engaging your loved one in physical activity when providing Home Care.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL’s)

IADL’s are activities that people perform in order to live independently. Examples include cleaning the house, feeding the pets, preparing meals, grocery shopping, and managing a budget. If your loved one is capable of engaging in some of the physical IADL’s, like preparing a simple meal under your supervision or dusting the living room, encourage them to do so. Even something as simple as polishing silverware or folding laundry provides exercise for the hands, arms, and fingers. Another IADL your loved one should be able to perform with you is shopping. Rather than having them use a store provided scooter, try having them pushed the shopping cart around the store to get their leg some exercise. Shopping can also be a workout for the mind. Ask your loved one to help you spot the items you need on the store shelves.


Keep your loved one ambulatory for as long as possible. Just walking around the house or the yard a few times is better than simply sitting in a wheelchair. Many older adults have a “transfer” wheelchair that they use to go out, but walk around the house with the assistance of a cane or walker.

Stationary Bike Pedal Exercise

A stationary pedal bike exercise consists of a stand that supports two bike pedals. Your loved one can sit on the edge of a bed or on a wheelchair to use the exerciser, which provides great workout for the legs and helps keep the joints and knees loose. A stationary bike pedal exerciser can be ordered online for as little as over $100. You may also be able to purchase one at a pharmacy or a Home Health care medical equipment store.

Ball or Balloon Play

Ball or balloon play consists of encouraging your loved one to kick or hit a beachball or a balloon. This can be a great exercise to have in the home. Alternatively, you can ask your loved one to catch the balloon and throw it back to you. This form of exercise encourages movement of both the arms and the legs and can be a lot of fun. However, it isn’t for everyone. Seniors with dementia might be startled to have a ball or balloon tossed in their direction, and some feel as if this activity is too childlike.

Tai Chi

For seniors troubled by arthritis, limited mobility, or poor balance, tai chi could be the perfect exercise. There are many Tai Chi programs available in Calgary, Alberta. It provides a low impact work out that stretches the muscles and helps improve balance and agility. Some geriatric specialists report that older adults who practice Tai Chi seem to have fewer falls and seems to maintain their mobility longer. Tai Chi is a workout that you and your loved one can do together or ask the caregiver to assist when in the home for Home Care. There are several DVDs for beginners on the market in one DVD that is specific to seniors (Tai Chi exercises for seniors). If your loved one cannot do all the exercise shown in the video, have them “sit out” the ones he or she is not comfortable with and participate in the ones he or she feels that they can safely accomplish.

Range of Motion

The most common form of physician prescribed exercise for people with severely restricted mobility is called range of motion (ROM). Charles Terlesky with Home Care Assistance Calgary explains: “Basically, you take each joint in the arms, hands, legs, feet, and fingers, and put it gently through its range of motion or movement comfort zone.” Terlesky warns caregivers to talk with their loved one’s doctor or physical therapist prior to attempting ROM. In some cases, you may wish to have a professional teach you how to do ROM exercises properly, so as not to injure your loved one or yourself. there’re two types of ROM: Active and passive

Active ROM

In active ROM, your loved one moves most or all of their own limbs, while you provide verbal clues. (“Point your toes towards the ceiling”) and minor physical assistance. You verbally encourage active participation from your loved one as much as possible. Even if they are paralyzed on one side of their body, for instance, they can still move the other side.

Passive ROI

Passive ROI means that you extend and flex your loved one’s muscles with little or no assistance. For instance, passive ROM may be used if a person is unconscious, quadriplegic or too confused to follow verbal tactile clues.

Home Care Assistance Calgary uses its unique training philosophy to produce talented, skilled, and compassionate caregivers. Our caregivers are competent and knowledgeable in the exercises explained in this home care article.

If you are a senior, starting on the path to a healthier way of life, it is a matter of choice for most of us, but with older adults decreased mobility and a decreased social circle can make this choice daunting. Home Care Assistance Calgary, Alberta can help you and your loved one. Our Health Care Aids are expertly trained in our proprietary Balanced Care Method approach and can provide the support your loved one needs to live a happy and healthy lifestyle in their own Homes.

For more information on our services, contact Home Care Assistance Calgary at 403-301-3777.

Chuck Terlesky

Home Care Assistance Calgary

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