As your parents get older, it is only natural that you will start to worry about them and their future health a bit more than you did in the past. After all, you want your parents to be around for as long as possible, and you want to ensure that they will enjoy that time as much as they possibly can, seizing every single day.
Unfortunately, for many seniors, that is not a reality. Many senior people start to neglect their health and wellbeing as they get older, and this can lead to life-limiting aches and pains, as well as more serious illnesses.
The good news is, there are lots of things you can do to help your senior parents get and stay healthier for as long as possible, including the following:
Invite them places
One of the simplest ways of helping your senior parents to stay fit and healthy is to simply invite them to places where little activity is expected such as a trip to the zoo with the grandchildren or a picnic in the park. As well as helping them to stay active, it will also ensure that they do not succumb to loneliness which is a huge problem for many seniors, and one that can cause swift mental decline.
Get them some help
If your parents have already started to decline in terms of health, then getting them some help from a physical therapist, nurse, or carer, or even looking into assisted living centers near me where they will be helped to live a more independent life with a focus on health and wellness, is a good way to ensure that they maintain as healthy a life as possible for as long as possible.
Make it about you
If you’re dealing with a stubborn parent who you both know needs to exercise a little more, but who is too proud to admit it (which is actually quite a common issue between senior parents and their children) something that can work surprisingly well is to make it about you. Tell your mom that you need to lose a few pounds and ask her if she will come on a walk twice a week with you or let your dad know that you’d love to learn how to play golf to encourage him to offer to teach you.
Chances are this will be enough to get them out the door, and once they’re out being active, they will probably enjoy it a whole lot and want to do it again.
Get the grandkids involved
If your parents don’t take up your offer, chances are they will not decline taking the grandbabies to the park or playing a fun game of hide and seek in the yard, so if you have children, get them involved and it will really help to encourage your parents to move around a bit more. Just make sure that you keep sessions short as you don’t want to wear your parents out running around after the kids.
Find a local senior center
Most towns and cities have at least one senior center and these can be great places for older people to meet friends. Many of the activities they offer, alongside bingo and choir practice, are pretty active games like golf or bowling, and your parents are more likely to get involved if they meet a nice bunch of like-minded people to go along with each week.
Don’t push them
All that being said, it is really not a good idea to push your senior parents into a healthy lifestyle if they really don’t want to. Your parents are their own people with their own agency and they know their limits better than most. So, gentle encouragement is fine but don’t try to force them to do what you want even if you do think it would be better for their health if they did so.
Remember mental health
Mental health is just as important as physical, so as well as encouraging exercise, ensure you schedule regular dates with your parents so that they do not get too bored or lonely. A pet may also be a good idea if they are able to look after one, and of course, the senior center is great for keeping the old gray matter in good shape too.
Helping your senior parents stay healthy is one of the best things you can do for them at this stage in their lives, providing that is a goal of theirs, so what not have a chat to them about their health and wellness today?