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No matter your age, helping keep your senior parents healthy is a responsibility that you have to take. Not only does it help with their long-term vitality, you also save more from potential medical expenses and intensive aftercare. Encouraging a healthy lifestyle for seniors will keep them physically and mentally sharp.
Health checkups and dental checkups go a long way for older adults, but like the old adage always says, prevention is better than cure. Whether you’re trying to save money or making sure your loved ones are in great shape, here are x tips to keep senior parents healthy. Many of these tricks are easier than you think.
Provide Consistent Physical Activity and Exercise
Exercise is a crucial component in seniors. As people age, keeping active becomes harder as the years pass by. Even then, helping your parents engage in activities can help them maintain a healthy balance, strength, and flexibility. It also promotes good circulation and superior cardiovascular health.
Physical activity is a good immune system booster that allows for sharper physical and mental acuity. It prevents progressive muscular atrophy common in people with advancing age. Exercise also allows good oxygen flow in the brain and helps keep the mind in good shape.
The activity you pick for your senior parents doesn’t even be strenuous. A few low-impact aerobic exercises and stretching 20 minutes a day can have a drastic effect. One of the best types of simple activities you can also suggest is the Japanese calisthenics, also known as taiso.
Help Them Eat Healthy
As people age, what they eat can have a drastic effect on their general health. Diets continue to change as the years go by as the digestive system slows down with age. With that said, there are a few changes that you would want to do to help keep your senior parents healthier with what they eat.
Help them transition from unhealthy meals to a fiber-rich, vegetable-rich diet. You would want to cut down on too many fats, sugars, and carbohydrates to help reduce the work their digestive system needs. Prepare them for a combination of fruits, vegetables, wholesome grains, and lean meat.
Calcium and Vitamin D are essential nutrients, especially for women who are in their advancing age to prevent osteoporosis. For older men, omega-3 rich foods like fatty fish and nuts, can help with general heart health and lower the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Smoking is one of the major contributors to elderly health problems. This vice, together with drinking, accounts for a good majority of health issues, which include cancer, strokes, heart failure, and lung issues. It’s best to discourage your older parents from smoking as soon as you can.
Depending on how long they’ve smoked, you can expect a quick recovery as soon as they stop smoking. Smoking also leads to erectile dysfunction for men, so you would want to remind your parents about these side effects. Tobacco is quite harmful, with tar and nicotine responsible for atherosclerosis.
Help your senior parents stop smoking. Offer them alternatives to prevent them from going cold turkey as well as reduce potential withdrawal symptoms. If you can, help them reduce their alcohol consumption too, moving towards less alcoholic beverages like wine and bubbly.
Keep Regular Checkups
When it comes to keeping your senior parents healthy, prepare for long term care. Stay on top of their general health and do regular checkups to prevent debilitating diseases that can cost a lot of money.
See their doctor for regular checks. Help them visit the doctor and make sure to have their medical conditions listed or memorized properly. Don’t forget the usual healthcare providers too, including their opthalmologist and their eye doctor.
These simple visits can help keep detect potential issues before they even start. Depending on your age, gender, family history, and more, you would want to focus on tests that handle potential issues. Ask your doctor to look for signs of cancers in your parents, especially breast cancer for women and testicular cancer for men.
Help Them Become Mentally Active
Physical activity is crucial for seniors, but helping your parents mentally active is important too. An environment that has consistent cognitive and social challenges can help with senior health. On the contrary, a home with very little mental stimulation can speed up any the onset of potential degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Help them take on new challenges in their lives. Check if they want to learn new skills, hobbies, or even go to new places. The trick is to help them do cognitively stimulation activities that help with better brain function. If possible, encourage them to socially interact with family and friends.
Help them cultivate a variety of leisure, social, and cultural activities. Encourage them to read a book, watch movies, or learn DIY skills. Gardening, cooking, painting, knitting, or even volunteer work can deter boredom for them.
Encourage A Full, Restful Sleep
As people age, sleep becomes less valuable to the body. Even then, enough sleep is still important to keep the body running. Frequent waking and insomnia can be a common problem for senior parents. If your parents have trouble sleeping, there are a few things you can do to support them.
For starters, help them wind down at night to improve their sleep quality. Turn the lights down as the night progresses and remove any potential stimulus in the seniors’ bedroom. Discourage them from watching TV or using smart devices.
You can also provide them natural sleep aids like melatonin gummies. Keep them away from drinking caffeine at night, as well as removing anything that can stimulate them like clocks and led lights.
For senior parents, one of the biggest reasons for deteriorating health is loneliness and depression. Loneliness can be harmful to older adults, especially if they live alone with very little stimulation. With depression and loneliness, seniors are more prone to dementia.
Those who feel lonely are less likely to get up from bed, do something productive, or do daily tasks like climbing stairs. Studies also report a shorter lifespan for seniors who are lonely, with higher levels of stress hormones. When this happens, they are more susceptible to worse forms of inflammation, body pains, arthritis, and diabetes.
If possible, stay connected with your senior parents. Keep connected through daily video calls, usually at the start or the end of your day. Help them connect with family, friends, and even neighbors. Any type of socialization can be beneficial for older adults.
As senior parents get older, their needs and activities need to change with age. Finding the right ways to help keep seniors healthy can pay dividends down the line. It will help you stay connected with the people you love and help them live a longer, fuller life.