"How Does Leisure Activity Effect Elderly" is a good example of a paper on care. The elderly are a vulnerable group that requires support and attention. Old age presents a myriad of physical and psychological changes that make the aged to be at risk while increasing their susceptibility to illnesses including cognitive and mental conditions. Engaging them in regular physical activities has been found to be beneficial to them. However, there are also non-physical leisure activities that are equally beneficial to the elderly. Despite the potential benefits to the elderly, most of the elderly remain inactive due to less engagement in leisure activities.
The elderly can engage in a variety of leisure activities in order to remain active. Such include swimming, reading, watching the television, walking, and playing among others. There has been a close correlation between the quality of life and engagement in leisure activities among the elderly. Researchers have advanced two theories that help to establish the link between the levels of leisure engagement with the quality of life. Firstly, the activity theory proposes that as an individual grows, happiness and fulfillment are found on the maintenance of their leisure activities.
In this regard, older people that are active have been found to be happier as opposed to the ones that are inactive. Secondly, there is the continuity theory, which proposes that the process of aging, an individual should endeavor to exhibit some continuity to the activities that they were initially engaged with. The old activities and relationships have been found to make a major contribution to the quality of life of an elderly person. However, it is paramount that an elderly person should be open to change in order to be able to adjust to the prevailing circumstances such as general body weaknesses.
Despite the relationship between leisure activities and the well-being of the elderly, research shows that there is a need to engage in activities that are less strenuous and promote an individual’ s health. Leisure activities keep the aged occupied hence they are constantly active. Leisure activities have been found to reduce mortality rates among the elderly. Active participation in leisure activities has not been well explored through research especially pertaining to its effect on survival beyond age 75.
However, recent research has indicated that leisure activities reduce mortality among the elderly. Recent research by Paganini-Hill, Kawas, and Corrada (2011) showed that active elders showed a significant reduction in mortality risks by 15-35% as opposed to their counterparts who were not active. In the scenario of the elderly that reduced their previous activities or those that cut down the activity, the chances of death were almost the same, a case that was not for the ones that completely disengaged active activities.
Through their research, the researchers concluded that engagement in leisure activities promotes health and quality of life among the aged. The elderly that engaged in leisure activities were more active hence, the chances of their death were significantly reduced. Leisure activities have been found to play a significant role in the psychological and mental wellbeing of the elderly. Leisure activities engage the elderly while providing them with an opportunity to interact with the environment. Through these interactions, they are able to acquire new ideas. In addition, they will get something to think about instead of being idle and inactive.
According to Verghese et al (2003), engagement in leisure activities plays a role in the reduction of the severity of dementia. Some of the leisure activities by the elderly demonstrated higher chances of overcoming dementia as opposed to others. The risk of dementia was significantly reduced for the participants that engaged in playing board games, dancing, playing musical instruments, and reading. The reduced risk of dementia was measured through an increment in the cognitive activity score.
The elder’ s cognitive capacity is improved courtesy of the activities associated with leisure engagement. The level of activity for such individuals has relatively improved hence the chances of early mortality are reduced. The healing process is facilitated through engagement in leisure activities. The elderly confront many challenges, most of which are health-related. Leisure activities help keeps them off the thoughts of what they are suffering from. They keep off the thought of disease and the anticipated mortality; thereby they are able to remain positive and objective. However, the existing diversity in cultures and lifestyles that shape the leisure activities being embraced influence the prognosis of an elderly person.
In circumstances where the leisure activity is strenuous to the elderly person, then it is likely that they will suffer some negative consequences. A reduction in the level of activity can be beneficial in some instances depending on the type of leisure activity as well as the psychological and physical attributes thereof. Some leisure activities have been shown to be destructive, for example, engagement in alcohol use and smoking may increase the chances of mortality.
Elders that seem stressed are alleviated through the engagement in leisure activities; therefore, chances of developing depression are significantly reduced. On the other hand, stress can accumulate as a result of inactivity, hence predisposing the elderly person to depression, stress among other conditions. Leisure activities play a significant role in life satisfaction hence promotes good health among the elderly. Activities done by the elderly ranging from basic aspects such as bathing and dressing are very significant in enhancing their activity. Leisure activities can either be physical while others may not.
Some leisure activities are very important for the elderly; these may include having a quiet time, walking, gardening, religious participation, and communing with others among other aspects. When an elderly person is able to have a positive perception of their past, present, and future, then they stand at a good chance of living a fulfilled life. This fulfillment is based on the view that they are engaged throughout the time they have at their disposal. This makes them be explorative and have a positive perception of their lives. Psychological wellbeing is a very important facet to the life of an elderly person.
Previous research has not clearly elucidated a theoretical framework in which fulfillment can be directly linked with reduced mortality rates. However, satisfaction is linked to a better quality of life, and improved self-efficacy (Bembom, Van der Laan & Haight, 2009). Self-efficacy is a very important aspect that is highly necessary among the aged in order to spell the notion and fears that are associated with death. Leisure activities that are challenging discourage the elderly to participate. According to Crombie et al (2004), an increment in the leisure-based physical activities acts as a source of discouragement to elderly persons.
It is paramount that the elderly should be subjected to activities that they are able to cope with. Such acts as a motivation to them, improving their self-efficacy. The availability of caregivers that take the elderly through phases of constructive physical leisure would motivate them to engage more. This facilitates the motivation that the elderly persons will have. In addition, mild physical activities facilitate the buildup of positive beliefs concerning self for an elderly person.
Despite the high level of awareness among the elderly on the need and benefits of physical leisure activities, the fear that it will strain then makes the majority of them keep off. However, it is important that they are exposed to the activities and encouraged to take part in order to ensure that their health and overall wellbeing is facilitated. The time taken engaging in leisure should also be put into perspective; it should not exceed a certain level based on the physiological and psychological status of the elderly person.
Bembom, O., Van der Laan, M. & Haight, T. T. (2009). Leisure-time physical activity and all-cause mortality in an elderly cohort. Pub med; 20(3): 424-430. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19333126
Crombie, I. K., Irvine, L., Williams, B., McGinnis, A. R., Slane, P.W., Alder, E. M., & McMurdo, M. E. T. (2004). Why older people do not participate in leisure time physical activity: a survey of activity levels, beliefs and deterrents. Oxford Journals Vol33, Issue: p.287-292.
Paganini-Hill, A., Kawas, C. H. & Corrada, M. M. (2011). Activities and mortality in the elderly: The leisure world cohort study. Journal of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences; 66 A(5):559-567.
Verghese, J., Lipton, R. B., Katz, M. J., Hall, C. B., Derby, C. A., Kuslansky, G., Ambrose, A. F., Sliwinski, M. & Buschke, H. (2003). Leisure activities and the risk of dementia in the elderly. The New England Journal of Medicine, 348: 2506-2516.