Active aging is the process of growing old(er) gracefully. By 2030, it is estimated that 1 in 6 people will be 60 years of age or older. With senior care staff training designed to support active aging, your team can help residents engage physically, emotionally, socially, and mentally to enhance their quality of life.
Senior care staff training to support active aging
It all begins with onboarding. The perception of aging has long focused on declining abilities. Active aging instead focuses on capabilities. Senior care staff training to support active aging adults begins with a comprehensive understanding of the normal aging process and how to assess residents’ needs, a solid basis in communicating effectively with seniors, and knowledge of basic safety procedures.
Physical fitness and mobility are an important aspect of active aging. According to the National Institute on Aging, “Often, inactivity is more to blame than age when older people lose the ability to do things on their own. Regular physical activity over long periods of time can produce long-term health benefits. That’s why health experts say that older adults should be regularly active throughout each week to maintain optimal health.”
Walking is an effective, low-cost exercise option for seniors of different ability levels. Kim Bradeen, Resident Services Director of Country Meadows Retirement Community in Hershey, PA offered these tips to help senior care staff encourage walking through fun challenges such as a door scavenger hunt or a flower walk. Tai chi, yoga, and balance games are other popular fitness activities in retirement communities.
By training staff to incorporate movement into daily activities, to encourage family participation, and to make exercise fun, senior living communities can create an atmosphere that promotes wellness.
It is important for your team to know how to communicate with residents about the benefits of drinking water and choosing a healthy diet. According to the International Council on Active Aging, “By raising awareness of good nutrition and hydration to support immune health, active aging professionals can help those they counsel stay strong and healthy.” Regular in-service programs can emphasize the importance of staff encouraging good nutrition and hydration.
Active older adults are less likely to develop certain diseases, have a longer lifespan, are happier and less depressed, are better able to cope, and may be able to improve their thinking abilities, according to the National Institute on Aging, Staying connected with others and learning something new are two ways seniors can stay young at heart. Possible activities could include book clubs, yoga classes, or craft groups. Check out our blog, Creating Activity Programs for Assisted Living Communities is Beneficial and Fun! for more ideas.
SeniorLivingU can help
Many retirement communities find SeniorLivingU’s Anytime Learning Portal a great way to quickly and conveniently get new employees up to speed on senior care essentials or provide additional learning opportunities for experienced staff.
For continuing education, the Caregiver Corner series covers Exercise Essentials, Meaningful Activities, Normal Aging, and more. Each instant download provides 12 in-service programs for convenient senior care staff training on your schedule. The Culinary Connections Instant Download Packet includes 10 infographics that can be used to start a conversation with your caregiving staff, culinary team, or residents and their families. Topics include Creative Ways to Hydrate, Healthy Summertime Eats, Healthy Choices as You Age, and Immune Boosting Foods.
Programs like the Finding Fitness DVD make it easy for senior living management to develop or enhance their community’s active aging program. It can also be used for an in-service program to educate caregivers about how to engage residents in physical activity.
For more information on developing an activity program and encouraging resident participation, check out SeniorLivingU’s Creating Meaningful Activities in-service program or our Community Life Certification program.