Family plays a huge role in who we are. The people that we are surrounded with as we grow up can shape us and influence our personalities significantly, especially since everyone is a product of their environment. For most people, their family members are people that they will always be able to rely on, no matter the circumstances.
As you get older, you probably appreciate your parents and older relatives more and more each day. You see the amount of care and work that they put into raising you, and maybe you realized this after becoming a parent yourself. As your older relatives age, perhaps you want to care for them as a way to thank them for their role in your life.
One of the biggest areas of concern for elderly individuals is their health. Their bodies and minds start to see the effects of aging and are likely getting weaker. It is very important for these individuals to invest in their health, and you can help them do just that. Here are a few ways to help protect the health of your older relatives.
Physical activity is one of the main solutions to help slow the effects of aging. It will help maintain muscle mass, keep bones stronger, and aid the immune system as it fights off diseases. You can help your loved one by encouraging them to exercise regularly in a way that suits their body. The key is to focus on low-impact activities. Their body cannot take the punishment that it could before, so the workout regimen must be adjusted to protect their more fragile state. Swimming, dancing, yoga, resistance bands, calisthenics, and pickleball are all great activities for elderly individuals that keep them moving and can prolong their health for years.
Take Advantage of Medical Advancements
Remaining independent is often a determining factor in how your elderly family member wants to spend the remaining years of their life. Though some may require constant attention and have to move into a long-term care facility, others may choose to age in place and stay home. By incorporating medical and smart technologies into their daily lives, you can help set them up to be healthier and safer in their home. A few helpful innovations that could be incorporated include medical alert devices, a smart security system, automated lighting, chair lifts, and Internet of Things technologies.
Consider Their Health History
Understanding the health history of your loved one is an important step in building a plan to prolong their life and improve the condition of their body. Does their family have a history of high blood pressure? Did they suffer a major injury as a child that affected their mobility for the rest of their life? Were they exposed to chemicals at an earlier age and developed cancer as a result? This could have happened if your loved one lived near Camp Lejeune from 1953-1987 due to its contaminated water which has been connected to lung cancer. Knowing this type of information about your aging loved one can help inform a care plan going forward that is designed to maintain their mind and body for as long as possible.
Plan Social Gatherings
One major issue facing elderly individuals is the potential for depression. Loneliness plays a large role in the life of someone who is growing old. The family and friends they grew up with may have passed on, leaving them as one of the few survivors from their childhood. Plus, society tends to look past the needs of the elderly population, potentially leaving them feeling ignored. All this can make for a very lonely lifestyle. To maintain their mental and social health, planning social gatherings may fall to you. You can either find ways to visit more or get your loved one connected with local groups or senior centers to develop relationships with others in a similar life stage.
Suggest Healthy Eating Choices
A balanced diet is the key to delivering key nutrients to the body. This is very important for those whose bodies are beginning to deteriorate with age. They have an even greater need for sufficient vitamins and minerals to have a chance at retaining functionality in their cells and body systems. Follow these healthy eating tips for seniors to help your loved one receive the nutrients and energy that they need. Lean meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy should all be regular inclusions in their diet.
Do Not Be Controlling
When you are trying to help an elderly loved one live a healthier and longer life, it is important to know how to communicate with them. They may not be fully receptive to making changes in their lifestyle, but this will be an obstacle that you will have to overcome. The key is to be encouraging and honest without becoming controlling over their choices. At the end of the day, you can’t make them incorporate these ideas. All you can do is suggest them and then help with implementation if they are open to the concept. Help protect the health of your loved one and start the conversation today.