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Alert & active 93 yr old female- lives in Independent part of retirement facility ( plays bridge & volunteers 1xwk at hospital)
Has never liked to exercise. Goes to classes sometimes but has to make herself. Sits a lot & watches lots of tv - reads some. Gets terrible back pain periodically when she has gone long periods of not getting exercise. Can't make her understand that while she can still move around she should strengthen her back to prepare for the day she won't be able to.

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OMG. If I make it to 93, am alert and active and can still live independently, there better not be someone in my life nagging me to exercise! Or trying to regulate how much television I watch or how much I read. Or telling me I can't have ice cream for breakfast. Grrrrr

Has a doctor diagnosed the back pain as being caused by lack of exercise? Would exercise really help? Has a PT given specific kinds of exercises to her for this problem? My mother had back pain. I knew we'd never get Mother to "exercise" but I asked her geriatrician if it would help if she didn't sit so much, if we should take her for short walks, etc. Doc said there was really no way to cure the deterioration in her spine. The focus should be on relieving the pain. This was hard because she could not tolerate narcotics, but a pain treatment plan was worked out. She walked with a walker until her hip broke at 93 and she did well in a wheelchair after that. She died at 94.

Our bodies wear out as we age. There is no cure or prevention for that.
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Sblturner, how old is her mattress? If it has been around the block a few times, it would be good to invest in a new one. Sometimes that can make a difference, but no guarantees.
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She may understand that doing the exercises are helpful, but, can't get motivated. Maybe, figure a way to motivate her, without being pushy. OR maybe, she forgets that the exercises help and she needs reminding. I'd try to figure a way to gently remind her. I'd try to be realistic about it. She may just not want to keep doing it. I'd figure a way to accept that if that is her decision.

I'd also consider that she won't be able to do certain things indefinitely. To me, if she's competent, I'd let her make her own mind up about what she does. At 93 years of age, I'd support, encourage and not insist or bother her. I know your heart is in the right place. I get it.
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When you find out how to get an alert, active 93 year old to exercise please let me know..the method would be the same as to how to get an alert, active 63 year old to exercise.
Seriously forget "exercise" and just focus on the active part.
Walking
Some gardening.
Cleaning
Any activity that will keep you moving and a plus if it will keep you engaged.
Can she get out?..
How about once a week stopping in at an animal shelter and taking a dog for a walk, play with the cats or kittens. Animal shelters need people that will volunteer to do just those things.
How about volunteering at the local school to tutor a student or just help in a classroom. (might be a bit late this year but a thought for August or September)
Spending a bit of time volunteering at a local food pantry or resale shop.
I volunteer for the Hospice that helped me care for my Husband. I do office work. I also bake. They are always looking for volunteers to sit with patients in the In patient unit, gardening, shopping for needed items but there are many jobs that volunteers do and she would be welcome and fulfill a great need.
So for get "exercise" for the sake of exercising and just keep moving.
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Thanks Jeannegibbs & Sunnygirl.
Yes she does live close by & I do walk w/ her but will try to do it more. I think I can convince her to get back to the chair exercise class she used to attend. My Husbands mom got addicted to her pain medication so my mother doesn't want to take them all the time- Also because of her heart medication she can't take many meds that used to help her. I just got her tickets to see Barry Manilow for her 94th bday so that will motivate her for a while. She won't want to miss that!
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I think worrying about being addicted to pain medications is silly when someone has a terminal illness, and lets face it when anyone reached their 90's their end time on earth is just over the next hill. I have avoided opiates for my mother only because they cause constipation, something she already has trouble with. Between a degenerated spine, knee and hip and lifelong headaches I know that pain is a constant in her life and achieving a level comfort is a prime concern.
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Yes she has been diagnosed w/ back pain & she doesn't sleep or do anything when this happens. It also causes her to get depressed. She can't rely on pain medication because she can't take it indefinitely. The dr. has told her to walk regularly and to do the exercises her PT gave her to strengthen the back muscles & her abdominal muscles. She will do them for a while but as soon as it doesn't hurt anymore - it's back to the sitting which then eventually causes the pain to return. It's a cycle.
Believe me I'm not trying to force her to exercise or trying to get her into skinny jeans- I just want her to Not have to deal with the back issue when she can't move around any longer. I think as long as she can do the strenghthenung exercises & walk - she should.
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BARRY MANILOW! That sounds like a great prescription. You know, he's had a terrible hip problem. Can she stretch, while listening to his music? When I used to run, I ran to music. It kept me going and into another zone.

Also, check out what kind of chair she has. I've read that classic recliner chairs are bad for back support. I might explore other options for a comfortable and supportive chair.

And lastly, you are right about the stretching. My doctor told me to stretch, because my leg and hip pain was really a back problem. So, I started stretching and it was the BEST TREATMENT. It really does help me more than meds, ice, etc. Still, mom may still not get on board with it. I'd try to accept her decision. And if her doctor clears the meds, why not go with it. If she wants comfort, I'd try to support her in that decision.  Problem is that meds don't touch some kind of pain.  They never helped me much, the way stretching does. 
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Freqflyer. It was new when she moved here 10 years ago but I will check. May be too soft.
Hadn't thought about that.
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When you nag her maybe change the word 'exercise' to something she likes to do that involves some physical activity? something where she gets a prize, like walking to buy herself her favorite snack. Instead of nagging her yourself you can use a service to send her automatic phone calls that will remind her to get some exercise. You can record any message you like, for example 'your loving family reminds you to stretch your back'. You can also try a recording like 'we are proud that you did your back stretch today' so then she will need to actually do them to earn the compliment.
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