Today is National Senior Health and Fitness Day - a day dedicated to keeping seniors physically fit and healthy overall.
For many seniors, fitness and health goals have long been abandoned in favor of addressing other medical conditions, especially if seniors are homebound. A visiting nurse or medical team may visit homebound individuals to maintain their physical form, but there is more to being healthy than fitness and medication. Regardless of the reason for being homebound, there are still ways for homebound seniors to live actively and fully without feeling “stuck” at home.
Here are some ways to maintain health in mind and spirit, while homebound:
Seek emotional support
Social interaction isn’t just a leisure activity - it’s a biological need that makes us feel seen, heard, and alive and when we don’t receive enough of it, the isolation can deeply affect our health for the worst. Instead of treating social visits like a luxury, prioritize them as a necessity.
If possible, spend some time with caregivers outside of caregiving duties, arrange to have relatives and friends come over for visits, or seek out emotional support from volunteers. There are programs (like Visit-A-Bit) specifically designed to keep homebound individuals emotionally healthy with a visit from a friendly companion who is looking to build meaningful connections.
Discover New Interests
There’s an entire world to discover, and ironically, homebound individuals often experience more of it than anyone else. The lack of outside distraction grants them a rare focus that allows them to learn, discover and explore their personal interests.
Use this time at home to polish and refine old skills, or pick up some new ones. Get those private music lessons you’ve always wanted, study a new language, or even write a book. Remember that everyone has a story to tell, and yours is worth sharing. If you suffer from low energy or limited mobility, try something a bit slower paced: get lost in another world with a gripping audiobook, or learn more about a topic that interests you by watching a fascinating documentary.
Being homebound can be frustrating, and after long periods it’s easy to feel bored, restless, lonely, and even depressed. Many homebound individuals have found a way to help alleviate some of these very normal feelings through volunteering with projects that don’t require leaving the home.
If you’re crafty-at-heart, create cards for veterans or knit/crochet blankets for the homeless or for hospice patients, (which past VNA volunteers have done). Sort letters and bulk mail for a nonprofit that serves a cause that matters to you, or phone bank on behalf of that organization. Become a mentor to someone of a younger generation, by joining a senior-student pen-pal program. There is so much need in the world, and a great way to find a renewed sense of purpose is through helping others.
These are just a few of the endless ways for homebound individuals to find joy and fulfillment in life! We'll have more ideas to share soon.
To learn more about visiting with homebound individuals, visit our Visit-A-Bit website.