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Staying Active During the Cold Winter Months

It’s cold and icy outside. A stroll around the block or even the few steps to a waiting car is now hazardous for seniors. A sunny park bench across the street might look tempting, but a fall between here and there would be catastrophic. So what other options are there to keep your aging loved one moving and stimulated this winter?

If they live in a senior’s residence:

  • Endless activities and/or exercise programs available in-house (See AgeCare Seton’s latest activities calendar for example)
  • A daily walk in the halls – once up and down the stairs too if they are able.
  • A daily visit to any of the main gathering areas – for movement and much needed social connection.
  • A simple seated or standing stretching regime daily – under the direction of a family member or care team.

Other options, and for those living independently:

  • An accompanied trip to the mall for light shopping or just for coffee and some indoor walking.
  • A visit to an indoor vegetable, craft or Christmas market.
  • An afternoon of browsing at the local library.
  • Swimming or aquafit for seniors – available at most local community pools. (e.g. Aquafit at YMCA )
  • A light exercise class or yoga class at a community facility.
  • Enrollment in activities at a local seniors’ centre.
  • A church concert or live play (less congested than a large public venue).

The main thing to remember is that physical activity for seniors does not have to mean strenuous exertion; the main thing is to intersperse movement throughout the day, and that can be something as simple as sweeping, folding laundry, unloading the dishwasher, or even a walk around the house during the commercials of a favourite show.

Other winter activities that don’t require exertion but prove good for health and wellbeing:

  • Puzzles (jigsaw, crossword, and Suduko)
  • Card games
  • Crafts (easy art projects)
  • Knitting or crocheting
  • Cooking or baking (assisted)
  • Music – playing or listening

On another note, nature and the great outdoors are still unequivocally one of the best providers of physical, mental and spiritual nourishment. On a sunny clear day, try to arrange to take your aging loved one on a car ride outside the city. You’d be surprised how delightful it is to see open sky and snow covered fields, and forest when most of your days are spent indoors. Plus, it’s another great way to spend quality time together.