We all know this, and unfortunately staffers, local chiropractors, friends and family can sometimes put pressure on a nursing home resident to start an exercise program that's not right for them, just for the sake of doing something. There is no one-size-fits-all program, though, because nursing home residents are individuals with their own unique needs. Not everyone can get on the floor and do 45 minutes of hot yoga -- even a 25 year old, let alone a 65 year old -- nor should they.
The best strategy is to get the nursing home resident involved in the decision about starting an exercise and wellness plan. If they have personal involvement it will help them stay motivated. Staffers and family should listen carefully to residents and find out what they like to do, what their goals are, and what would give them a sense of accomplishment. Forcing an exercise program on someone is just a recipe for failure. For instance, a resident who just wants to be able to walk well enough to go outside and stroll around the garden on a sunny day will only get frustrated by a program with more rigorous goals, and will soon give up.
Listening well is the most important step in creating a successful exercise program for a nursing home resident.