How to Motivate Seniors to Participate in Activities

Conversations are the portal to finding out what people care about.

Helping seniors to become more active and connected is one of the most impactful things that Papa Pals can do. There are endless benefits to physical and social activities for all ages, including more confidence, weight management, strengthening bones and muscles, reduced risk of heart disease, and more. 

Seniors, as well as people of all ages, can sometimes feel embarrassed to participate in any physical activity because of age or fitness level. And the longer anyone spends without exercising or participating, the more compounded these feelings become. 

That’s why it is important to find ways to make it happen. For example, Papa Pals can be a partner who helps motivate seniors to participate in activities, ranging from gentle exercise to board games and crafts.

It’s never too late to try something new and find a new hobby or pastime. Below are some tips on how to get started.

Motivate seniors to participate in activities with these tips
There are endless benefits to physical and social activities for all ages.

Find something they’re passionate about

We all find it much more enjoyable to spend time doing things we care about. Seniors are the same way.

Not everyone is naturally inclined towards typical exercise like jogging or swimming. Some people may prefer golf, or dancing. There are plenty of ways to exercise and stay active, so don’t feel as though your options are limited. For example, you may discover ways to combine a favorite hobby with physical exercise. Birding, or birdwatching, is a great example of combining a hobby with walking and outdoor exercise.

The most important part is inspiring people to do something that involves movement. The easiest way to accomplish that is to figure out what they enjoy doing or are interested in doing.  

Try talking about what they did as child growing up. Maybe they used to go biking with their family or played tennis with their friends. Conversations are the portal to finding out what people care about. If you can find their passion, it will be much easier to inspire them to get active!

Set modest goals

Goals are a wonderful source of motivation. Often, we make big plans and set ambitious goals. But we can feel a sense of failure if we don’t meet them.

Always take an approach that celebrates small accomplishments.

By setting small, achievable goals, you cultivate feelings of success, confidence, and momentum. Make your first goal something simple like, “Signing up for one yoga class.” If that particular activity sticks, you can start thinking bigger and build upon your success. Momentum is a powerful tool and that’s exactly what you create by keeping your goals in the form of small, achievable steps.

Cultivate a social environment

Positive support from others helps create motivation and confidence. Group settings are a great way to help nudge people to participate in more activities.

Social interaction also creates an entirely independent benefit outside of the physical component. Developing a network of friends with common interests is a huge contributor to happiness, regardless of your age.

Most senior centers offer group classes for a plethora of different activities, and your local center is the perfect place to connect with programs, classes, and services. Try beginning with a group class, and as you develop a social network, you will have more inspiration to continue. 

If getting to a class is a challenge, try to find a carpool or as about public transportation. A Papa Pal can also help. Papa Pals provide transportation to-and-from senior centers to help Papa members participate in activities and fitness classes.

Talk about the benefits

This advice sounds simple but can be extremely effective. There are plenty of major benefits to physical and social activities for seniors and people of all ages. Sometimes, laying them out in black and white can motivate you to get started.

Become a Papa Pal companion caregiver and share your love of activities

If you're looking for part-time, flexible work, and want to support seniors, older adults, and families, consider becoming a Papa Pal companion caregiver.

Papa Pals support fellow community members with things like companionship, activities, help around the house, shopping, and transportation. As a Papa Pal, you can create meaningful connections with others and make a lasting, positive impact.

If the possibility of a caregiving job sparks your interest, click here to learn more about becoming a Papa Pal.