How do you convince an aging parent to be active? (i.e. exercise, crafts, etc.)

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My mom just turned 80. She used to take dance and music lessons. Currently, she only participates in one class. Karaoke. Ever since we installed digital cable, she watches tv most of the time or sometimes goes on the computer. I have noticed that she is slowing down a bit mentally and physically. How do I convince her to be proactive again whether its exercise, crafts, music (which she loves), etc. Each time I ask her, she walks away from the subject. I also need time for myself to take care of the house and would like to try and start working from home. I am worried and don't know what else to do. Any suggestions?

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F1lowers, this is just a thought, does your Mom wear glasses? When was the last time her eyes were checked? Poor eyesight can stop a person from doing a lot of things. She probably has no issue watching TV because of the super sized TV screens we have today, and to use the computer where she can sit up close. Anything else could bother her and maybe throw her a bit off balance.
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One of the pluses of Mother living at the NH, is the activities. She never did anything at home. Now, the aids convince her to go listen to the music, see the quilt display, etc.
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This is not for everyone but it did work for my Mom. She was very active until about 88 and then she stopped her daily walks, socialization with friends ect. I tried taking her to classes - chair yoga- going to the water aerobics in her community center and other activities. She would go but had no interest and acted like I was torturing her. I started doing animal fostering in her home about 2 years ago. She was totally into it because she could sit and watch TV while feeding the little kittens. She loves to clean out their litter boxes and watches them for hours while they play. We have fostered about 22 kittens now and they have all found homes. My Mothers cronies have all passed on and the ones that are left either have dementia or do not want to hang around my Mom because she has dementia.
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Others' comments here about gardening reminded me of two issues:

1. There's a movement in gardening circles for "assistive gardening" in which gardening is done at raised beds. Wheelchairs can be rolled up alongside the beds. It's not as easy as if the wheelchairs could be wheeled underneath slots in the raised beds so the person in the wheelchair could garden from either side, but it's a start.

2. There was an assistive garden at the first rehab facility my mother stayed in. Working in the garden was part of patient's occupational therapy.

3. Houseplants or working with grow lights and flora-carts could substitute for outdoor gardening activity.
Perhaps even a small collection of fragrant herbs could be added.

There's something inherently therapeutic about working with plants.
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My mom is the same way. She used to line dance and visit with friends but has since turned into a hermit. It's almost like the idea of doing some or going somewhere is just too much for her to deal with, making plans, getting ready, going to the bathroom, etc., so her answer is always "no". She could walk with a walker but has some dementia so I would never have been able to put her on a bus to go an activity. She can't really do any physical activity anymore. She used to love to read and do crossword puzzles but does not do either any more because of memory issues. She stays parked in front of the television most of the day. I haven't found anything that works. Good luck.
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Gigi11, I don't know how much experience you have with rehabbing after a fall. What they don't tell you up front is that they bill be booted out of the rehab facility or nursing home if they refuse to comply with physical therapy a couple of times because Medicare won't continue to pay for them to stay. I have been through this with both my sister and mother. They called me to say that they were making plans to return my sister to her assisted living facility because she refused PT. We had been through this before so I know there had to be a good reason, plus I am her POA and they had orders to call me immediately if either mom or sister refused PT. It turns out my sister got pneumonia from the facility and she also has asthma. I had to raise cane with the administrator but they did keep mom. Mom refused PT at the nursing home, even after speaking with me on the phone, so they stopped PT and she no longer walks. It's almost like they are looking for some reason to stop the PT. I don't get it.
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She may be embarrassed to even tell you that she's feeling tired or in pain. Let her do activities that don't require "dance" or physical exertion, however - I did convince my mother of 76 to help out with the garden so it makes her feel needed. She LOVES to cook, so I stand around "pretending she does it all" while I say, "Oh lemme' chop this for you?" and she lets me - but she feels a sense of accomplishment. They do stop doing things they once used to. After Mom and I reminisce about all the huge Italian dinners she has served for at least 10 people in her household - she says, "That was a different person." And it's so true. They change, maybe just slow down a bit, but mentally stimulate her with questions about her past. SO important. Keep her mind sharp. My mom loves crossword puzzles and I swear to you - she would win on Jeopardy if she had the guts to go on.

Right now, the mind is the most important thing, after that, she'll have a desire to do more. Try gardening with her - getting her maybe a planter to where she can stand and plant. That helped a great deal.

Good luck!
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I read that computer games and learning new things is good brain exercise. Don't discourage her enjoyment of tv and the computer. Wow, that she is 80 and even wants to be on the computer is amazing! Now, thats not to be said that is all she should be doing but its not all or nothing either. how would you like it if someone told you you couldn't read anymore because its not active? Let her have her activities PLUS add some if you can.

There are youtubes of chair exercises. Maybe combine her enjoyment of the computer with that. In the end its really up to her. You can't physically force someone out of the chair. My 79 year old aunt found zumba classes at her local senior center and she loves it. God bless her that at 79 she can do that!

How about a wii? They have to still be around. Get one or find one at a center and have her play golf or bowl with it. The key is to find out what she has an interest in. You could ask me til the cows come home to go line dancing but I can't stand it, however if you asked me to go do karaoke I'd jump at it in a heartbeat. Find out what she likes and i bet she might be more willing to do it.
Good luck
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I signed my dad with a swimming pool, he loves it and it gives me some free time, I also take him to a massaging therapy, but I don’t know if I’ll keep taking him there.
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Karaoke is great, but you need to look at why she's not as active. Does she have depression or is she having pain due to arthritis? Maybe she would like a pal to go with her to these activities does she have any friends that would also have some of the same interests? She can go to the senior center, make new friends. At 80, after having been so active and now not so much, maybe she has some medical issues, she can visit her physician and have a complete physical to see if anything is going on. At 80, she should do what she wants, but like you I also believe is she doesn't use it she'll loose it so it's more important to keep active. Maybe she needs a different activity such as walking using an Ipod to listen to music. Just keep encouraging her.
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