Possibly a little offtopic for a bodybuilding forum.
However, I think you guys just might understand what I'm trying to say here.
From reading around I've found that old folk being weak is not simply a result of being old - it also requires sitting around doing very little and wasting away.
This Christmas my nan has just told me she can't lift the garden hose and how she has to come up with an answer.
Now, I know what convention says. I know what I'm supposed to think. I'm supposed to think, once you're old that's it, game over. I'm supposed to just accept that to be old is to be weak.
To most people in this arena the concept of training is totally foreign... and dangerous... and it's just something completely off the wall to even thin about it.
Now, I'm young so what do I know.
But if only I could transmit the wisdom I've learnt from training. If only I could transmit what I have felt, what metamorphosis I have felt over short periods.
How just 15 minutes raised heart rate improves my everything for the rest of the day. How stretching my hams caused lifting at work to be a non issue. How strength training makes me feel like a man once more.
If only I could transmit these things. These wisdoms, these experiences on life, to an open mind.
At least I am granted the opportunity to grind against this trend when I am in their position.
I know T-Nation hates pink dumbbells, but if your granny is weak buy her a pair and teach her how to lift properly.
I met a guy who is 59 years old and has a body to die for because he lifts every day!!! Seriously, this dude looks incredible, probably has a better body than most 25 year olds and his skin is gorgeous.
My mom is now 62 and had the mentality that getting older means dying. After I got in the gym, lost 60lbs, and put a pair of 5lbs dumbbells in her hands she is now very conscious about her health. She's walking 3 miles every day, lifts her dumbbells, stretches every morning, and has a completely different attitude. She's even eating protein powder and oatmeal for breakfast now!!!
It's so cute when she calls me up to tell me about her walk and how many bicep curls she's done that day!!! When I pick up the phone the second question she asks me is, "Honey, did you workout today?" It's awesome.
There are plenty of things that senior citizens can do to improve their health.
For starters just going outside in the fresh air and sunshine and taking a walk will vastly improve most seniors health.
But keep in mind that there are things happening with your Grandmother that might be keeping her from feeling like she can do things. Some people think that older people are just like younger people only they have wrinkles and walk slower.
Seniors are afflicted with a multitude of problems which vary from person to person. Some of the problems that they experience do not leave them in the mood to exercise, and in fact can prevent them from exercising.
Arthritis for example, is a serious problem for seniors. And if you've never had arthritis of the hips, knees, etc. then you have no idea the extreme pain that most of these folks are in. It's easy to say "exercise" but when each step is painful most will avoid the activity.
There are other problems that effect their mood such as the lowering of hormones. In some cases it's an emotional challenge for them to even get out of bed in the morning. Sleeping is also an issue. As you get older you tend to sleep less hours and wake up during the night as well. This leaves you tired in the morning.
And then there are what I call the "sense" problems: eyes, ears, taste, smell. When each of these things begin to break down there is a mental disattachment from the real world. Exercise seems less likely as they struggle to do even the basic things.
And then there is a mental slow down which comes with age. And I'm not even talking about alzheimers, or stroke victims. Either of those two things will sideline the most avid senior. If you add depression and anxiety issues which are rampant in those over 65 years of age you have a real challenge on your hands.
Let's see, I would be remiss if I didn't speak to the issue of "muscle wasting" in seniors. After age 40 muscle, as well as bone begins to decay. Granted much of this can be postponed if you stick to a good training program. But, after the age of 65 or so it becomes far more difficult to prevent this. And you cannot give most seniors extra protein or creatine as their kidneys cannot take it as they do not function as well as a young persons. Take Jack Lalane for example, a personal favorite of mine. Lalane is 93, and while he's in incredible shape for someone even 20 years younger, he's still shorter and much smaller than he was when he was in his 30's and 40's.
Your quest is admirable, but keep in mind as you move forward that senior citizens are not just like you, only older. They are totally different people who have a myriad of challenges that they are presented with daily. And every single thing from their hair falling out (this happens with women as well) to losing bone and muscle mass is happening simultaneously.
Give your Grandmother some good tips on mild exercise and good nutrition (nutrition is another area which they are challenged in as their sense of taste fades their appetite fades with it). I've found that walking is best, if they do not have joint issues, as it gets their heart and lungs working and those are two very important organs. Lifting light dumbbells is also a good idea if she can do it. Keep goals modest and encourage her every step of the way.
I do volunteer work on a regular basis with seniors and I understand (in part) what they go through. And I can tell you that your Grandmother is very fortunate to have a Grandson who cares. Give her all the love and understanding that you can muster, that will go a long way in causing her to feel happiness, which in turn may motivate her to move around a bit more