Assisted Living Activity Calendar Template

Exercise important for those in assisted living facilities

Because they are seniors, they have heard the message longer than others.

Monthly Activity Calendar Home Care Template Community Event
Monthly Activity Calendar Home Care Template Community Event

It is, however, one of the hardest habits to instill, especially when a senior is living alone.

That’s where assisted living facilities can assist.

Assisted Living Activity Calendar  Free Tools by Xenia
Assisted Living Activity Calendar Free Tools by Xenia

“Teaching both staff and residents the appropriate way to do exercises without putting our joints or bodies at risk all contribute to healthier individuals,” said Lee Ann O’Brien, chief marketing officer of McGregor Assisted Living in East Cleveland.

We talked with O’Brien and Lori Scarsella, memory adviser to Arden Courts of Chagrin Falls in Bainbridge Township, for their input in maintaining effective exercise regimens for their clients.

Independent and Assisted Living Activity Calendar Click on
Independent and Assisted Living Activity Calendar Click on

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that adults age 65 and older need at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking.

The CDC also recommends equivalent programs, such as 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity, like hiking, jogging or running.

Assisted Living Activity Calendar Format  Assisted living
Assisted Living Activity Calendar Format Assisted living

Obviously, the older the senior, the more such a regimen has to be scaled back and tailored differently.

“Typically, 30 minutes a day at least five days per week is recommended for the elderly,” Scarsella said. “With our residents, it’s a minimum of 45 to 60-minute sessions of physical and/or occupation therapy three to five days a week, depending on their insurance guidelines.”

O’Brien said, “Moderate exercise three-five days a week is realistic. Simply walking as a low-impact way to stimulate the muscles and the mind is encouraged. The amount of time is based on the capability and confidence of the individual. Another benefit of exercise is stretching for flexibility and balance.”

Certainly, the older the senior, the less impact can be tolerated.

“Aim for a mix of exercise types – endurance, strength, balance and flexibility,” Scarsella said. “Our in-house physical therapy is tailored to the needs and goals of our residents.

“It is very functional-based, incorporating exercise along the way. Our therapists find specific things the resident enjoys to increase their participation, which may be limited due to their cognizance.”

Lower-impact exercise at a facility like Arden Courts includes the likes of chair yoga, chair dancing, music and movement (like seated balloon volleyball).

“Walking qualifies as a low-impact exercise, but cycling, rowing and elliptical training are also low-impact exercises, because your feet never leave the pedals,” O’Brien said. “Many forms of resistance training are also considered low-impact, including barre, pilates, yoga and the use of light weights (even three-five pounds) for weightlifting and strengthening muscles and ligaments.”

Regardless of the program each senior may be scheduled for, the key at that age bracket is to have a regularly-scheduled regimen.

“Steady and routine exercise is what we promote daily at McGregor,” said O’Brien. “Morning stretch, chair yoga using Dyna-Bands, marching in place, going from a sitting position to a standing position without the use of the arms on a chair with 5-10 repetitions.

“With many walking paths throughout our 45-acre campus, residents participate in morning walks while sharing conversation with friends just makes the time seem effortless. Cardiovascular exercise of any kind helps to stimulate the brain, pushing oxygen there as well as the extremities like fingers and toes.”

Scarsella said, “Exercise is beneficial no matter one’s age, however it can have unique benefits for seniors with dementia.

“It can be a natural way to reduce challenging behaviors, improve mood and keep them active. It is imperative that there is movement throughout the day. Whether they are walking, in a chair or in a bed, there are many forms of exercise and movement that can help increase blood flow and alleviate stiff joints and muscles.

“Incorporating exercise can help reduce pain, improve sleep, strength and flexibility, hence reducing fall risk. These can all work together to also reduce sundowning and agitation.”