Keeping seniors active as they age in place – Global News Calgary

Jodi Hughes (00:00):

We all want to live our best life. And most people know that staying active can be the key to staying healthy. And this can be especially true as we age. MP Fortin is an Aging and Play specialist with Ohana Care Health services, and she joins us now. Good morning, MP. Thank you so much for being with us.

MP Fortin (00:17):

Good morning.

Jodi Hughes (00:18):

What benefits come from staying active as we get older?

MP Fortin (00:23):

Well, stay active doesn’t always mean to be doing some intense physical activities. You can choose to stay active by keeping your brain stimulated, to keep your network active. That’s your friends, your family. Feeling and expressing positive emotions through arts, through gardening. And overall, it helps you with your blood pressure, strong bones, strong muscles. It keeps anxiety and depression at bay, reduces your fall risks. And overall, just increases your energy as well.

Jodi Hughes (00:52):

Well, what kinds of resources are available for people who are at home? And like you said, we all have different levels of activity, maybe you’re not quite at the stage of running a marathon. So what activities are out there or what resources?

MP Fortin (01:05):

There are so many, it really depends on your interests. At the library, you can get large font books, you can get audio books as well if your eyesight is decreasing slowly. And then as far as exercises go, there are a lot of activities that you can do seated as well for your own safety and just reaching your fitness level. If you’ve had a surgery in the past, and you had exercise bands given to you for rehab, you can always rehash those exercises, and doing it on both sides to keep your yourself active and healthy.

MP Fortin (01:38):

There are … also a new resource. There’s a new resource called Finding balance, and it’s a 32 page document with a whole bunch of activities. Whether you want to keep your brain fit or your body fit, you have all sorts of activities that are outlined for you to do at home.

Jodi Hughes (01:57):

And I think … I mean, you touched on this as well. That mental stimulation that can help with your mental health can be so incredibly beneficial to keeping everything in balance, can’t it?

MP Fortin (02:11):

Well, absolutely. If you don’t feel well and you don’t have any energy and you don’t want to get out of bed, then you’re not going to want to exercise. You’re not going to want to walk and keep your body fit. So body and mind really work hand in hand here.

Jodi Hughes (02:25):

What other activities could people be focusing on that might be very beneficial to them?

MP Fortin (02:31):

So, easy to use technologies. There are some tablets that are more seniors accessible if you’re not very technology inclined. Leisure area with accessible those supplies, if you used to garden a lot and now bending over is no longer in the cards for you, you can bring some of those plants inside and have it at eye level where you can work while just standing. Same with arts and crafts, you can make it more accessible and more convenient for you.

MP Fortin (03:03):

Everything that has large font to help with your eyesight. And really, the trick here is variety. Do things alone, do things with friends. Do things for your body, do things for the mind. Keep your routine alive, but also throw in new activities in there. Go and do some walking outdoors instead of always staying indoors. You’re going to walk so much further if it’s sunny outside and you have a goal [crosstalk 00:03:28].

Jodi Hughes (03:27):

Of course. I think that’s one thing that we tend to struggle with is humans. That when we start to see a difference, whether it’s a mobility issue or … it’s hard to remember that we can adapt the way that we do things. So that we can meet ourselves in the middle and find these opportunities to set ourselves up for success.

MP Fortin (03:49):

Absolutely. Our body is so resilient. We need to push a little bit sometimes just to get the best results.

Jodi Hughes (03:56):

For sure. Well, MP, thank you so much for your time today. For folks who would like to learn more, they can head to


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