As our parents grow old, we need to be there for them. We can provide them with the love, care, and attention they need to remain healthy – mentally and physically. The only viable way to go about it is to provide our aging parents with the necessary physical, emotional, and spiritual support they need to get through this life stage with as little suffering as possible.
According to US statistics, more than thirty-five million American adults have aging parents. As they age, their physical health may become impaired, and mental ability can also be affected. The challenges of caring for aging parents are numerous, as most health conditions are difficult to manage.
Here are some tips to keep your aging parents happy and healthy:
1. Overcome Isolation And Loneliness:
Most elderly individuals prefer spending time alone. But isolation can lead to stress and depression. Most importantly, if your aging parents undergo any treatment or medication, they must be supervised properly. If this seems challenging, keeping them in a nursing home will prove worthwhile.
In the nursing home, they’ll have people around them who care about them and offer them companionship. Such factors can make all the difference in keeping them happy, healthy, and thriving.
However, nursing homes are sometimes understaffed, which provides an opportunity to take advantage of their vulnerable patient population (often elderly patients). If you suspect your parents are being abused in the nursing home, consult a nursing home abuse lawyer immediately. The lawyer will help you hold the negligent party accountable and report to law enforcement agencies if required.
2. Monitor Health and Behavioral Changes:
Aging parents need to be monitored closely because they’re still at risk of health problems as they age. Regular checkups detect potential risks earlier and help maintain optimal health.
Make sure they eat well-balanced meals that contain proteins from fish or red meat sources each day, as these can help reduce cholesterol levels in the body.
Likewise, get their vision and hearing checked periodically since vision and hearing impairments are common among the elderly. Ask them if they have pain or discomfort when doing activities like walking or sitting for extended periods.
Keep an eye out for changes in behavior, such as irritability or moodiness, which could signal illnesses such as depression.
3. Give Time, Care, and Attention
Talk to your aging parents, spend time with them, listen to their stories, and encourage them to do things they enjoy. It’s essential to maintain a strong relationship with your parents.
When caring for an aging parent, you might feel like they’re drifting away from rationality. They may seem confused and forgetful or have trouble remembering simple tasks. But these symptoms are not uncommon—they are simply the consequence of age-related changes in the brain and body.
You don’t have to become an expert gerontologist, but there are certain things everyone needs to know about how older adults think and behave so they can get through this tough time without much stress.
4. Exercise Regularly:
Undoubtedly, to boost your parent’s physical and mental well-being, it’s crucial to engage them in physical activity, such as:
- Yoga is an excellent way to help your aging parents maintain a healthy lifestyle. It can help them stay active and fit, improving their flexibility, balance, and muscle strength.
- Water aerobics is also a fantastic way to get in shape, meet new people, and stay active. It is also an excellent way to ensure your aging parents do not develop chronic health problems.
The only problem with exercise is that it can initially be intimidating, and picking appropriate ones for older adults is also challenging.
5. Engage in Outdoor Activities:
Engaging your parents in outdoor activities such as gardening, community events, and sports is important.
Gardening is a fantastic way to get exercise while bonding with them. Traveling is another wonderful way to bond with your parents since it allows you to experience the same things together. When traveling together, make sure that there are lots of fun activities planned out so that both parties have something interesting going on during each day.
Arts and crafts are also a terrific way to engage your aging parents.
6. Encourage Socialization:
To help your aging parents socialize and make friends, encourage them to join clubs or groups relevant to their interests. Social clubs ensure your aging parents remain active and connected, keeping their minds occupied. These organizations often offer opportunities for people to meet new friends, make new connections, and stay on top of everything happening around them.
But most importantly, encourage your aging parents to spend time with family and friends for emotional support.
7. Make the House Safer:
Make sure the home is safe for your parents. Check the stairs, windows, and other things that could harm them. A fall from wires scattered around the house can prove fatal. Unsurprisingly, falls and trips are among the major causes of injuries the elderly face almost yearly.
Ensure there are no sharp objects in the home; this includes knives or other cutting utensils and fire extinguishers. If you do not have time to inspect every room daily, check occasionally. Your parents should never be left alone in the house because they might accidentally hurt themselves.
Undeniably, every person’s situation varies, and there are no set rules for how to care for someone. You may be used to managing your health, but now it is time to help your parents get healthy. Gradually incorporate each new habit into their routine else they’ll get agitated. Likewise, help them understand how each habit will benefit them in the long run.
So, prevent them from isolating themselves, encourage them to socialize and engage in physical activity, and offer them love and support. Given your busy life, you might neglect to spend time with or care for them. Prioritize them above everything else and be attentive to their needs.
Use these tips for taking care of aging parents so they can continue living independently in their golden years.