Before investing in a pet for an elderly parent, review budgets and activity levels. Make sure that the care and feeding of the pet is affordable and the animal is not too strong or active. Active pets can also become a fall risk for a senior citizen. A senior should be careful to choose a pet that does not jump up or get in the way of the elder's feet. Elders must also be careful of pet toys that might be left around the floor. Some people feel pets reduce their ability to travel. If you have an older person in your family, make sure that any pet ownership decision involves them; never just present them with a pet.
Janet Dolores Vlha, MD
- internal medicine
Location and Office HoursDouglas Clough
400 W Culvert
Zelienople, PA 16063
- tuesday: 12:00PM - 5:00PM
- thursday: 12:00PM - 5:00PM
What should I consider before getting an elderly parent a pet?
Shelley Webb, Nursing, answered
How should I exercise if I'm an older adult?
F. Michael Gloth, III, Gerontology, answeredAs we get older, it takes longer for our muscles to recover after exercise. For this reason, you should alter your exercise regimen from day to day. Your exercise regimen should focus on different muscle groups than those you emphasized on the first day. The cardiovascular part of your workout could involve rowing, biking (including stationary), swimming, or some other kind of repetitious exercise that increases heart rate. Then, do some abdominal exercise, followed by upper body exercises different from those you did the first day; for example, switch from curls to reverse curls, or switch from an upper body to a lower body workout. Try not to focus on the same muscle groups 2 days in a row. Even slight alterations in exercises are acceptable, such as shifting from regular push-ups to inclined push-ups.
Fortunately, there are an odd number of days in a week, which allows you 1 day off the alternating routine. This can be either a weekday or during the weekend. You might find that planning to exercise 7 days each week will assure you of getting at least six workouts during the week. Barring illness or substantial injury, nothing less than 3 days a week is ever acceptable. Even on the seventh day, you might find that some physical, recreational activity is relaxing.
Find out more about this book:Fit at Fifty and Beyond: A Balanced Exercise and Nutrition Program (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)
How can strength training slow the aging process?
Strength training builds muscle and can stop and reverse the process at any age. In studies of sedentary nursing-home residents between the ages of 80 and 90, a few weeks of weight training have improved strength by 50%.
Weight training also increases bone-mineral density and, over time, might reverse osteoporosis. And, adding muscle makes weight loss more realistic because muscle burns more calories than fat. Studies show that if you add 5 lb of muscle, you will burn up to 250 more calories daily. Weight training also improves posture, which makes you look and feel younger; it reduces stress; improves self image; and makes it easier for you to do all the things life involves, from carrying groceries or cleaning out a closet to playing golf or going dancing.
Effective weight training challenges muscles to a point where some muscle tissue breaks down. Then, during recovery, your body repairs and grows the muscle cells, producing a gain in the total amount of muscle tissue. The recovery time is about 48 hours, so you should schedule strength-training sessions every other day, never on consecutive days. Aim for three workouts each week. Do exercises that work compound muscles and joints.
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