Aging Parents: Six ways to ensure they stay healthy

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Health and well-being are crucial at any stage of life, and carelessness can expose anyone to numerous health issues. Old age prerequisites more caution and carefulness as aging can expose one to healthcare challenges. But it is not destined for everyone to fall ill and experience miseries in old age. Many people lead healthy, independent, and comfortable lives even in their seventies, eighties, and nineties. Healthcare facilities, sophisticated treatment approaches, and awareness have enhanced people’s life expectancy to an unimaginable level. 

You can also help your parents enjoy a healthy life with quality care, timely access to healthcare facilities, and a well-functional family support system. And for that, you need to address barriers and challenges to their well-being and help them adopt a healthy way of living. For instance, teach them how to keep track of blood pressure, temperature, blood glucose, weight, and other fundamental signs and symptoms. It is better to arrange specific devices and teach them self-monitoring. If they lack financial affordability, support them or search for elderly assistance services in your locality. 

Inadequate and poor diet or lack of physical activities also multiply their health issues. Increase their awareness about healthy and nutritious foods and safe ways to stay physically active. Many older people experience deprivation and social detachment once their children lead independent lives or send their parents to nursing homes. But it is not always a comfortable choice for many older adults. Abuse, injuries, neglect, and psychological distress are common challenges in nursing homes. Thus do not leave your parents unassisted. Ensure your availability whenever they need you. If you feel they are being wrongly treated, hire lawyers who can help by exposing nursing home abuse and save your parents and other seniors as well.

The following sections discuss some tips to ensure the healthy aging of your elderly parents.

1. A healthy and safe environment at home

A peaceful and healthy home environment is crucial for anyone to stay fit and functional. Aging-related challenges do not require that one should seek nursing home services. The elderly can lead an independent life without any support if they have a healthy and safe environment at home. Most elderly experience pain and discomfort while using stairs. It is better to arrange their residence on the ground floor. Equip your home with assisting tools, appliances, and electronics to simplify your parent’s life and work. Tend to them if they are too feeble or old and cannot live independently. 

2. Regular healthcare checkups

Health-related ups and downs are part of life. But preventive measures, awareness, and consultation with healthcare specialists can minimize complications and prevent irrecoverable health challenges. For instance, aging hampers the functions of every body part and slows down immunity. As a result, the elderly are under the weather now and then. Thus do not underestimate or ignore minor signs and symptoms of illness. Stay in touch with a healthcare expert, fund their healthcare expenses, and facilitate regular checkups. Regular checks can help detect illnesses early on and minimize complications for your parents. It is better to accompany them, keep track of their medical history, and consult their doctors for preventive measures and precautions regarding aging-related ailments. 

3. Healthy and balanced diet

Aging is challenging for many as several illnesses like osteoporosis, cataract, Alzheimer’s disease, age-related dementia, insulin impairment, and various malignancies correlate with increasing age. But diet can prevent aging-related complications and slow down the aging process. For instance, individuals with sufficient intake of vitamin C can postpone early cataracts. Regular dairy consumption helps strengthen bones and reduces the likelihood of osteoporosis, tooth loss, and other bone-weakening illnesses. Fulfilling carbohydrate requirements from fresh fruit, dry fruits, and vegetables can minimize the risk factor for diabetes. Unfortunately, one cannot eat whatever they want as aging slows digestive tract functions, hampers metabolism, and minimizes appetite. Old age is not the time to munch on sugary, processed, greasy, and spicy foods. Hence, balance your parent’s diet with fiber, vitamins, protein, whole grains, fish, minerals, and other essential nutrients. 

4. Social connectivity

Maintaining social and personal connections is difficult as one goes through different life phases. Health and well-being challenges, retirement, and move-outs to other areas further keep them preoccupied and distanced from their friends, peers, and relatives. But these changes have a deteriorating effect on their emotional, physical, and psychological health. Isolation and social detachment are not only upsetting but unhealthy for anyone. The same goes for aging people. Thus your parents need more connectivity to overcome the complications of old age. Loss of their loved ones, contemporaries, and peers further pushes them to loneliness. Hence, you should maintain a healthy relationship with your parents. Use digital media platforms to stay connected to your parents and keep track of their well-being if you live separately or away from them. Arrange family gatherings and help them stay connected with their friends and relatives.

5. Encourage physical activity

Many elderly experience musculoskeletal pain and discomfort as their physical strength diminishes with age. As a result, they fear physical workouts can increase pain, incur injuries, and endanger their lives. Exercise in old age does not mean your parents will break their bones or develop disabilities. Physical workout has innumerable health benefits for all age groups. It enhances the body’s defense system to fight healthcare issues, improves metabolism and digestive functions, and helps maintain a healthy blood sugar level, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Physical activities improve mood, sharpen memory, revitalize energy, and boost immunity. Regular exercise also minimizes risk factors for many preventable and non-communicable illnesses, including insomnia, obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension, and others. 

6. Ensure sufficient sleep

Aging brings physical and mental changes that hamper the circadian rhythm and sleep cycle. Elderly experience changes in their sleep timings and patterns as they age. Many go to bed and rise early, unlike their adulthood days. They quickly get exhausted and might sleep in multiple sessions to recharge their bodies and minds. However, they still need seven to eight hours of sleep, like young people. Otherwise, lack of sleep can trigger and augment several health issues. Sleep-deprived elderlies are more at risk of experiencing dementia, depression, diabetes, hypertension, weight gain, stroke, malignancies, and the list continues. Thus do not take your parent’s sleep deprivation and disruptions lightly. Create a comfortable environment where they can rest and sleep whenever they want. Minimize interruptions when they rest and ensure they maintain a regular pattern. 

Conclusion

Ensuring the health and well-being of aging parents is a concerning challenge for every adult. It is not simple to look after them when you have other responsibilities. Aging can increase healthcare complications and their demands and dependence on others. But such challenges are not unmanageable. They only need more care and attention to stay healthy and live independently. Practicing the mentioned tips can ensure your elderly parents stay healthy and fit while aging.

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