What Can You Do to Help Your Parents Stay Healthy
As your parents grow older, they experience many challenges that come with age. Their health may not be as robust as it was before, and they may have difficulty doing things they used to do. This is the time when parents need their children’s assistance the most. How do you lend a hand, especially in taking care of their health while respecting their wishes? Here are some tips.
One out of three older adults in the United States is lonely, and it’s negatively affecting their health. Chronic loneliness increases seniors’ risk of heart disease, exacerbates existing health conditions, and shortens their life expectancy.
There are many factors that cause chronic loneliness in older adults, and one of which is social isolation. You can help your parents feel less lonely by spending time and chatting with them more often.
Connecting with their family can help reduce older adults’ feelings of loneliness, but it’s not always the cure for everyone. Encourage your parents to pursue their interests and join clubs and communities where they can meet new people.
If things don’t get better, talk to them about seeking professional help. Their loneliness may be stemming from the loss of a spouse or an underlying issue that can only be addressed with the help of a professional.
Talk to Your Parents Often
Encourage Them to Stay Active
Everyone can benefit from staying active, including older adults. Physical activity has many health benefits, including lowering the risk of heart disease, strengthening muscles and bones, boosting the immune system, improving mood, and delaying cognitive decline. It also helps reduce stress levels in many people.
Many older adults get increasingly isolated because without work, they have fewer reasons to go out. They also get tired more easily, so they may choose to stay at home. However, it’s vital for seniors to regularly go out and engage with their surroundings.
If you live nearby, invite your parents to go on a walk with you or attend fitness classes. Or urge them to join senior groups, meet with their friends, or participate in community activities. If they’ve been idle for some time, they might experience muscle and joint aches. Make sure you’ve prepared something that will help them ease the pain and recover faster.
Seniors who own a pet tend to be more active and less isolated than those who don’t have one. If your parents are up for it, why not help them adopt a dog?
Doctor visits and medical screenings, which use medical sensors (with a specialized sensor cable) and equipment, are essential for older adults to keep track of their health. Encourage your parents to stay up-to-date on their health tests, screenings, and vaccinations. Better yet, accompany them if they ask you to.
Adults who are in their fifties or older need to undergo yearly tests to check for illnesses. These exams include blood-pressure checks, eye exams, hearing tests, bone-density tests, and blood tests for lipids. Women are recommended to get a mammogram, Pap smear, and pelvic exam to check for cancer, while men should take a prostate cancer test.
Urge Your Parents to See Their Doctor
Come Up with a Plan Together
As they get older, your parents need to be more careful about what they eat and drink. Many older adults don’t maintain a healthy diet, despite existing medical conditions. Talk to your parents about their habits and their diet.
If they agree to make a change in their diet, come up with a plan together. List specific things they can do to improve their diet, like eating half a plate of fruits and vegetables every day.
Work with your parents to determine how to live a healthier lifestyle. Respect their choices if they’re not ready to make a change, but don’t give up on convincing them.