They say the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago; the second-best time is right now. The same mentality applies to prioritizing one’s health and wellness. While you should strive to live a healthy life from a young age, starting later in life is better than never.
Your parents brought you into the world and raised you to the best of their ability. As they age, it’s time to return the favor. Here are some of the best healthy lifestyle ideas that you can use to take care of your senior parents.
Help Them Choose Insurance
It’s the natural progression of things: once you age, you’ll require more healthcare. Choosing the right insurance option will make a significant difference to your parents’ quality of life during the Golden years, as well as yours. The right plan can cover everything from nursing home costs to checkup appointments and medication. Unfortunately, choosing the right plan can be an arduous process.
First, determine if your parents are eligible for Medicare. If your parents require regular prescriptions or specialist appointments (for example, if your parent has diabetes and requires medication, regular eye examinations, etc.), check to see if they are eligible for Medicare Advantage plans. These plans cover the inpatient and outpatient services offered in basic Medicare as well as the extras.
Helping your aging parents choose the right plan gives them access to the care they need in the final years of their lives.
Get Them Moving
It’s never too late to start a fitness routine. Even seniors with mobility issues can benefit from exercise. Light cardiovascular activities, such as walking or dancing, can lower blood pressure and play a key role in cardiovascular disease prevention. Resistance and strength training has numerous benefits for senior populations, including an increase in muscle mass and bone density, and a reduction in the risk for osteoporosis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression. In other words, regular exercise will keep your aging parents independent for longer.
Encourage your parents to work with a trainer who specializes in senior populations. Many fitness centers and gyms are becoming more aware of the market for seniors who know the benefits of exercise at a later age. This makes it easier to find classes and offerings that could help your parents train safely and effectively for good health.
Maintain Social Connections
Take an active role in helping your parents maintain social connections. Studies have shown that social relationships play a significant role n overall health and wellness, especially as we age.
Be willing to drive your parents to card parties and seniors luncheons so that they can maintain active social relationships. If you feel as though your parents are becoming too isolated, take them out to do something yourself. Go for a walk together, visit an art museum, or engage in one of their other interests. This time together will have tremendous health benefits for both of you.
Having proper nutrition is one of the best forms of preventative medicine. The main nutrition priorities for seniors should include:
- Eating foods high in vitamin B12 – this helps with the formation of red blood cells.
- Eating foods high in fiber – fiber aids in proper digestion and helps manage diabetes and high cholesterol.
- Avoiding saturated and trans fats – unsaturated fats from nuts and avocados assist with heart health and reduce inflammation.
- Limited sodium – keeping sodium levels low helps regulate blood pressure levels.
- Adequate calcium and vitamin D – calcium and vitamin D play a key role in bone density support and mental health.
- Portion control – some seniors find it challenging to eat enough while others have a hard time limiting their portions to match their slowing metabolism.
- Lean protein – eating lean protein helps with weight management and muscle growth and maintenance.
Helping your parents with grocery shopping or hiring a professional to navigate their changing nutritional needs can help improve their health now and in the future.
Helping your parents stay healthy through the golden years has benefits for both of you. You get to develop your adult relationship with your parents and have more time to spend with them. They live out their senior years healthy and vibrant for longer to create wonderful memories for you and your children. It’s a win-win.