Here are some keys to helping our parents stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle as they enter their elderly years.
1. Make Sure They Have Some Sort of Regular Exercise Regimen
Whether it’s swimming, jogging, or just going for a walk around the neighborhood, make sure your parents are getting some sort of daily exercise. Try and help them find an activity they enjoy as they much more likely to stick with it if it’s something they don’t see as just “working out”.
2. Emphasize the Importance of Hydration
Too many people are unaware of the importance of hydration and it’s long term effects on joint health. The lower back, elbow, and knees are the join systems that have no blood supply and get just about all of their nutrients from water. Notice they these are the most common areas where deteriorating injuries tend to occur in seniors. Make sure that your parents are getting enough healthy liquids every day.
3. Stretching Once a Day Keeps Disability Away
Even if your parent(s) are not as physically capable to engage in moderate exercise, they can still enjoy the many benefits of stretching. Stretching does more than loosen up the muscles, it alleviates the stress of tendons and joints as they are what picks up the slack when muscles are tightened or strained. An added bonus is that stretching itself can also burn calories if done slowly and methodically.
4. Kitchen Inspection
The one thing our elders tend to do right is consistently eating home cooked meals as opposed to eating fast food. However, it still good to check in and make sure they are eating a variety of healthy foods. If your parents are retired or tend to have a lot of downtime eating out of boredom can also be a problem which makes it all the more important for them to have some activities to keep them occupied.
5. Keep Them Mentally Active
While the television might not be the most dangerous thing in the house it can certainly be the most addicting. A big part of keeping the elderly healthy is for them to remain active mentally. Reading books is the obvious solution here but variety is always a good choice as well. Take some time every one in a while to visit them, and paly them in dominos or a few card games. These activities will go a long way to delaying symptoms of dementia or other age-related effects of the mind.
Research has proven that those with pets tend to live longer for a variety of reasons. Most of the reasons tend to boil down to the fact that keeping a pet helps reduce feelings of loneliness and depression, two things that never fail to be underestimated in how they impact our health.
The phrase “my grandkids keep me young” is truer than you know. The benefits of good grandparent-grandchild relationships are seemingly infinite as they both tend to rejuvenate one another with their unparalleled positive energy. Grandkids tend to receive a high amount of encouragement and loving affection from grandkids and they allow grandparents the opportunity to care for others and so effortlessly impact their lives in a positive, healthy way.
While all of these aspects are important for our aging parents in maintaining good health, not all of them can be done as conveniently. If you live far away from you parents or they live in an assisted living home it is important to try and do the best you can to make sure they are properly cared for. Do the best you can to address each of these keys and ensure your parents will remain with you for many birthdays and holidays to come.
About the author
Cheryl Swanson is a senior health writer and former caregiver who enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience to help others take care of the elder loved ones. She writes for Just Walkers, a supplier of rollators and other walking aids to help keep our elderly on their feet.