Four Ways to Keep Your Parents Healthier- Dean - WI

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Published on April 23, 2015

Four Ways to Keep Your Parents Healthier 

Becoming your parents’ caregiver can be overwhelming, especially when you’ve got children of your own. These tips will help you keep your parents as healthy as they can be, as you help them navigate their golden
years.

1. Lead by Example: Lecturing your parents on their weight, eating habits and lifestyle can often come across as condescending. If your parents feel ashamed, they’re less likely to come to you when they really need help. Instead, involve them in your healthy lifestyle and they’ll pick up on good habits, plus get in some quality family time. Invite them on walks around the neighborhood or to run errands, like picking up healthy groceries. Ask if they want to take the grandkids to the zoo or the park, which will encourage some light exercise and provide the opportunity for your parents and kids to spend the day together. 

2. Make Prevention a Priority: A visit to the doctor for a specific illness or ailment doesn’t substitute for a complete checkup. Make sure your parents are scheduling regular physical exams, where they’ll get important tests done like blood pressure, heart rate and cancer screenings. While you’re managing their care, don't forget to take care of yourself. Consider making your important preventive care appointments at the same time!

Older people are often likely to have several doctors and prescriptions, which can be difficult to manage. Tag along to their appointments and bring a list of all their medications. Try to narrow down their doctors to one primary care physician they trust and only the specialists that are truly necessary. Ask to be notified every time your parents have an
appointment or get a new prescription.

You can prevent illness and injury at home as well, by getting medical ID jewelry and slip proofing the house. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death and hospitalization for those 65 and older. Put rubber stickers in the bathtub and grab bars on the walls, secure household rugs with tape, clear the house of clutter and purchase nonslip shoes for your parents. 

3. Introduce a Balanced Diet: Seniors are often uninformed about the benefits of a healthy diet, and simply telling them about it likely won’t do the trick. Go a step further by shopping with your parents to help them pick out healthy options. Invite them to a weekly family dinner, where you can prepare a wholesome meal to ensure they’re getting the nutrients they need. Not to mention, a regular dinner is a good tradition for the whole family. You can also start a weekly trip to the Farmers’ Market, where you can ensure your parents pick up some fresh produce. Whether your parents live near or far, consider sending them a weekly meal plan with ingredients for each dish. 
    
4. Encourage exercise: It’s sometimes hard to get seniors to try new things on their own, like signing up for a fitness membership. But if you bring your parents along to your gym, they might be more likely to join. Offer to drive them every time you work out, guaranteeing they’ll get some use out of the membership. Workout classes for seniors can be a great way to stay active and make new friends, especially for lonely parents who have lost their partner or friends over the years. If your parents aren’t nearby, send them some seeds to grow a garden, so they’ll have access to fresh fruits and veggies and get in a little physical activity from the yard work.

How do you help keep your parents healthy in their senior years? Share your tips below! 

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