How to Motivate Seniors to Participate in Activities

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

Getting seniors more active and involved is one of the most impacting services Papa can provide. There are endless benefits to physical and social activities for the elderly including: more confidence, reduced risk of heart disease, longer life, and more. 

Often, we find that finding an activity suitable for a senior comes with ease and motivating them to participate can be the bigger challenge. Seniors can sometimes feel embarrassed to participate in any physical activity because of their age or shape. The longer they spend without exercising, the more compounded these feelings become. 

That’s why it is important for Papa Pals to work on motivating seniors to participate in activities. It’s never too late to try and get your loved ones involved, but the sooner the better. Below are some tips on how to help make it happen!

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 aerobics or swimming. Some seniors may prefer golf, or even dancing for example. There are plenty of ways to exercise, so don’t feel as though your options are limited. The most important part is getting seniors to do something outside of their house that involves movement! We want to make sure seniors aren’t feeling lonely. The easiest way to accomplish that is to figure out what they enjoy doing or used to enjoy doing.  

Try talking to your loved ones 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 get them up and active!

Set smaller goals

Accomplishment is a wonderful source of motivation. Often, we make big plans, set ambitious goals, and can feel a sense of failure if we don’t meet them. You should take an approach that creates small accomplishments when planning activities with our beloved seniors. Setting up your loved ones for success is a strategy we should utilize. 

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 reinforcement from friends and colleagues help create motivation and confidence. Group settings are a great way to help nudge seniors to participate in more physical 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 difference activities. You should encourage your loved ones to begin with a group class, and as they develop a social network, they will have more compulsion to continue. Papa provides transportation to-and-from for seniors to nourish new relationships. Accountability, companionship, social engagement, and overall enjoyment will all improve by focusing on physical activities that simultaneously cultivate a social environment. 

Inform them of the benefits

This advice sounds simple but can be extremely effective. There are plenty of major benefits to physical activity for seniors. Sometimes laying them out in black and white can motivate seniors to create these positive habits in their lives. It also shows that you care about their well-being and aren’t simply trying to get them preoccupied with “senior activities”. 

Demonstrating compassion and concern for well-being is a great way to motivate your loved ones to at least give physical exercise a chance. That’s the hardest part. Once they’ve found something enjoyable, and create the habit for themselves, it often continues all on its own. Sit down and have a heart to heart conversation with your elderly loved ones and I’m sure you’ll find your concern well-received. 

The Papa purpose

Here at Papa we are committed to improving the lives of seniors across the country. Caring for other requires a different approach, and an understanding that their needs are different from our own. 

Some of those needs are not always easily met. They can be met with resistance, or flat out rejection. Utilizing these techniques can help create a healthier life for your loved ones. Physical activities can improve confidence, physical health, emotional well-being, and overall quality of life. That’s what Papa is all about!