We all want our aging parents to stay fit and healthy. What better gift to give them than something that will help keep them active, like they want to be?
Senior citizens need exercise just as much as younger people, but they usually benefit more from less strenuous activities.
We did some research and shopping around and found several really good gift ideas for seniors who want to stay active and have fun.
Riding a bike builds and maintains muscle, which can help a senior stay active and healthy. It also keeps balance and coordination sharp. The fresh air and sunshine has many benefits as well, from improved mood and energy to a bunch of free vitamin D from the sun.
It’s best to avoid anything with a complicated gear system. Check out a cruiser bike with one or three speeds. Don’t forget a matching helmet and knee and elbow pads. Most bicycles come equipped with reflectors, but consider adding head and tail lights for after-hours riding.
No offence to you cat lovers, but I’m mainly talking about dogs. An older parent doesn’t need a hyper dog. Even lazier breeds like bulldogs and chows like to play occasionally, and that’s all you really need.
Think of the hours of fun your mom or dad can have playing fetch or just walking with a dog. Even giving it a bath can be a workout. The companionship is also a big plus. A study published in 2017 indicates that seniors who have an active pet tend to be happier and socialize with people more often.
Video Game System
Many developers are now designing games to be played with balance boards, jump mats, wands and other active inputs instead of the typical handheld controllers. This type of game provides great exercise and enhances coordination. They can be a fun evening with grandkids too.
Keep activity level in mind when looking for games. Some of them can be a bit strenuous. Milder games that are great for older folks include virtual golf, tennis and dance. These are all familiar activities, so there is no need to learn complicated teen-level game play.
Fun Classes And Memberships
What a great way to stay active and make new friends! Call gyms, pools, yoga instructors and dance studios to find out what kind of senior classes are available. Some places may offer a discount for older people, especially if they would like day time slots.
Think about getting memberships for the whole family so you can all spend time together. There are few other gifts you can give your parents that can help them stay active while bringing the family closer.
Call or visit your local senior center and ask for recommendations. They are likely to know which places are the best for seniors. If you aren’t sure what kind of activity they will like best, shop around for trial memberships. They are often inexpensive and come with discounts on full memberships if it works out.
There is no need to spend an obscene amount of money on an in-ground pool. A twelve or fourteen-foot pool is big enough for a few people to get some moderate low-impact exercise. Good ones cost around $350, and they can be setup in an hour or two.
Swimming isn’t necessary for getting exercise and having fun in a pool. Just wading through the water works the muscles. The body’s tendency to float takes a lot of weight off of the joints, making this type of activity great for those with arthritis or weak knees.
Mowing is light outdoor exercise. A push mower may be a little too much for many seniors, but even riding mowers require some strength and coordination. Working outside in the smell of freshly cut grass is enjoyable for people of all ages. Plus it takes care of a chore that has to be done anyway.
I looked at some mowers for seniors and found one that would be ideal as a gift. The Troy Bilt Neighborhood Rider is a good budget-friendly riding mower option that’s known for dependability and ease of use. The controls are simple and intuitive. Even better, its price is the best in its class. Seniors in good physical shape may prefer a self-propelled mower like the EGO LM2102SP.
Weights in the range of one to five pounds can make some types of exercise more intense without going overboard. Your mom or dad can carry the weights while walking, jogging or even doing light water aerobics.
I’ve seen sets that include an assortment of free weights and ankle weights. Add a water bottle and a couple of gym towels, and you have a nice gift for the senior that is concerned about losing muscle tone.
So there you have seven gift ideas for Mom and Dad. When deciding on a gift, keep your parent’s current state of health in mind. A bicycle wouldn’t make a very good present for someone with vertigo, for example.
Give a gift that keeps on giving: continuing good health.