Fun Facts for Seniors

Ontario Provincial Health Plan Fact Sheet

FACT: Seniors have higher rates of heart disease, cancer, high cholesterol and high blood pressure than the rest of the adult population.

FACT: These diseases can be prevented or controlled through healthy eating and regular physical activity.
FACT: The majority of seniors are overweight or obese.

FACT: It’s also true that you are never too old to lose weight, and that losing just a little weight – even five pounds – can make a huge difference to your health.

FACT: Most seniors are not as physically active as they could be.

FACT: Seniors who are physically active for at least an hour
each day have better heart health and are better able to control their weight than those who are not as active.

FACT: The majority of senior men and many senior women eat more than the recommended amount of sodium (salt).

FACT: Decreasing the amount of sodium you eat can substantially reduce your risk of high blood pressure.

FACT: Many seniors do not get enough calcium, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and vitamin C through the food they eat.

FACT: The right vitamins and minerals, in the right amounts, can help prevent anemia, depression and memory loss.
They can also help you heal better after surgery or an injury, and help keep your bones and teeth healthy and strong.

 FACT: Most senior women do not eat enough vegetables and fruit, grains, milk and milk products, meat and meat alternatives. Most senior men do not eat enough vegetables and fruit or milk and milk products. 

FACT: It is possible to change and improve the way you eat – and the way you feel – at any age


Finding Fun Things to Do

Our loved ones need to be stimulated mentally, physically, and socially to maintain health and to avoid depression and isolation. Below are some ideas to get you thinking about other ways to connect – and inspire your loved one to keep learning, get stronger, and have fun.

Games and Exercise
• Chair Exercises: You can make up your own, ask your physician, purchase special DVDs, or download exercises from the University of Georgia as a guide.
• Walks: Even if it is just a once daily walk or even ride in a wheelchair outside – the fresh air and change of pace can make a huge difference in mood and circulation.
• Outings: Take them shopping, to the mall, to a favorite restaurant, etc.
• Hand Strength and Coordination: Use items like therapy dough to stimulate creativity and keep the hands agile and strong.
• The Wii can offer low-impact opportunities for moving around. Look around for games or fitness Wii cartridges that your loved one may enjoy.
• Music: Get new (new to your loved one) CDs from the library to test out new music.
• Electronic Games: The Wii can also offer games that keep us sharp like puzzle and math games.
• Play some old favorites: like cards, checkers, tic-tac-toe, 20 questions, trivia games, cards.

Fun on the Go with Seniors
• Animals: Visit a pet store.
• Eating Out: Go to a favorite restaurant in mid-afternoon when it is not busy and just get dessert and coffee.
• Entertainment: See about concerts and plays at your local high school for low-cost/low-stress live entertainment.
• Special Events: See if there are senior fairs going on in your community. Check out senior day care facilities for special activities or just visit once in a while.
• Reminisce: Your cable network might carry the “oldies” stations. If not purchase old TV shows on DVD like “I Love Lucy” or the “Marx Brothers” for a laugh.
• Make Music: Fiddle around with instruments – kid instruments like thumb pianos, simple lap harps, and recorders can be inexpensive and fun just to experiment with.

Activities to Stay Connected
• Chores are not just for the young. It is important that your loved one feel like a contributor as well.
• Save tasks like shelling beans, folding laundry, sorting family photos for an album, or other kitchen tasks that can be done even with physical and sensory limitations.
• Do tasks together.
• Family games like bingo can be an enjoyable way to connect.
• Visiting: Plan and schedule visits with children that include a craft for everyone to focus the visit.
• Good with Computers? If any family members are good with computers, involve your loved one in choosing family photos to be scanned for a slide show. Recording seniors commenting of the photos would make a great narration track
• Pets: Ask relatives to bring their pets along when visiting.
• Church: See if your local church offers any sort of visiting service or phone call service.
• Perform: Sing songs and play instruments together as a family – practice for a holiday song.
• Record History: Have your loved one use a voice recorder to record family history as a gift to younger generations – you may need to structure the questions they can answer.
• Interviews: Have family members visit and “interview” the senior about family history and life events. This could be done with a video camera or just recorded in writing.
• Create: Make a family cookbook with your loved one. You can test the recipes as a family, rate them, and have your loved one take pictures of the meal. Old and new recipes should be considered.

Fun Ideas for the Home
• Change Things: To often, our loved ones have mobility issues that require them to stay in one room for a large part of their day or even the week. If your loved one is in this situation, changing the scenery around can make a big difference. Move furniture, change where the person sits for a different view.
• Think about smells. Some perfumes are too much and candles can be a hazard – but small potpourri bowls can make a difference.
• Music is important – try different types to see what your loved one likes.
• Change Pictures: Have picture frames that are easy to change out. When people visit, take a photo of them with your loved one so these can be printed out and hung on the wall to remind the person of the visit. • Make seasonal changes by making crafts together with your loved one to display.
• Remember to bring in old memories too – old photos and objects that were important to them for a long time can be a source of peace and inspiration.

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