Old age is a vulnerable phase in one’s life. Even when we’re determined at heart, our physique and cognitive functions decline against our will. Our days become empty and lonelier. As a result, we long for others’ company and assistance. But aging-related health and well-being needs are not unattainable or undoable.
A healthy and balanced diet, proper sleep, exercise, quality social interactions, and routine healthcare checkup are necessary for older adults as they are for young people. Their desire, eagerness, and stamina for an independent, healthy, and happy life are also similar to that of young people. However, aging imposes some restrictions. Older individuals cannot afford negligence and neglect and must follow healthcare experts’ advice. They need vigilance, care, and assistance to live healthily and independently.
If you have aging parents at home, you can relate to the need to care for them. Round-the-clock alertness is not necessary if your parents can live on their own. But specific steps are crucial in ensuring their health and fitness. Below, we’ll share tips on doing so:
1. Do Not Abandon Them
Busy lifestyles and professional commitments force many people to juggle multiple responsibilities. For most individuals, aged parents are the first responsibility they cannot carry on any further and hand over to nursing homes, care facilities, and welfare centers.
Nursing homes might seem like the perfect solution for your older parents, but the reality is contradictory. Many individuals experience abuse and mistreatment from caretakers and fellow residents. As per data, 5 million elder abuse cases occur yearly, with 10% of individuals above 60 being abused. That’s why nursing home abuse lawsuits are increasing day by day. And your parents may be among the victims.
Alarmingly, your parent’s health complications can worsen if you leave them at the caretaker’s mercy. Follow-ups and visits are necessary to ensure their well-being. Visit them frequently and enquire if they have any problems. If they complain of mistreatment, do not overlook it. Mistreatment, neglect, or abuse qualify for nursing home abuse lawsuits.
2. Offer A Balanced Diet
A balanced diet is essential for everyone, regardless of age or health conditions. A nutritionally-rich diet provides energy and strength to function, sustain, and grow. It strengthens our body’s defense mechanism against several health issues. As much as diet is necessary, diet-related negligence can cost us more as we age.
Nutritional deficiency in older adults can accelerate decay and aging and trigger many health issues, such as malnutrition, anemia, osteoporosis, constipation, diabetes mellitus, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. So, look after your parent’s dietary needs. Ensure their plates have all the required nutrients, including vitamins, protein, healthy fats, minerals, and fiber. Facilitate them with healthy food choices, such as seafood, lentils, beans, grains, low-fat dairy, eggs, seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. And practice healthy eating habits with them to support and encourage their dietary compliance.
3. Give Them Nutritional Supplements
Our food choices and portion sizes narrow as we age. Likewise, our body cannot synthesize foods and extract nutrients efficiently as it does at a young age. As a result, we are prone to nutritional deficiency in old age. Either way, nutritional deficiency in old age can lead to several well-being complications. For instance, vitamin D and calcium deficiency can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Wound healing takes time if their diet lacks enough vitamin C. Magnesium deficiency can lead to hyper-emotionality, sleepiness, cognitive disorders, loss of appetite, fatigue, and abnormal heartbeat.
In short, even mild nutritional deficiency can cause severe complications in old age. Given these reasons, additional supplements are essential for aging people. Since they cannot binge on certain foods, they need dietary supplements. A single pill or capsule can replenish the required nutrients. But before giving them any medication, seek the advice of a healthcare practitioner.
4. Encourage Regular Workout
Physical activity is essential for everyone to maintain a healthy mind and body. Mobility helps our bodies function better and stay fit. However, since physical activity decreases in older adults, they’re more vulnerable to various health challenges.
But you can prevent such complications with healthy habits and lifestyle changes. Exercise is one way to incorporate mobility into their lives. It’s also a healthy engagement with countless health benefits. It strengthens their muscles, bones, and joints and improves their balance, coordination, and stamina.
Exercise also uplifts mood and improves sleep and appetite. It’s an effective preventive tool against age-related health issues, such as cognitive decline, forgetfulness, poor immunity, weaker bones, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, depression, and anxiety. Hence, encourage your parents for regular physical activity. Experts recommend 30 minutes of intense to moderate physical activity in routine for adults aged 65 or over. You can also connect them to a physiotherapist and ask for workout suggestions suitable to their age and health condition.
5. Urge Them for Routine Checkups
Every organ slows and undergoes wear and tear as we age. The immune system also loses its vigor and stamina crucial to keep up with the speed of age-related decline or malfunctions. Even minor health issues worsen, making healing more time-taking in old age. In such cases, negligence and ignorance can lead to lifelong complications. So, urge your parents for routine checkups.
Regular health checkups and follow-ups are necessary to observe your parent’s health status or detect age-related risks. Early prognosis can prevent severe complications if they’re susceptible to some well-being challenges. And doctors can recommend further tests, treatments, or precautions to minimize the odds.
6. Spend Time with Them
Children always come first for every parent. Parents sacrifice their wants, needs, and comfort to raise, adore, and support their children. They prioritize children’s well-being and happiness even when they need assistance and support. But now it’s time to look after them and prioritize their happiness and well-being. At this age, they may feel abandoned and helpless. So, help them realize that their happiness and well-being matter to you the same way as yours to them.
Visit them on holidays and adorn their days with hearty conversations over a healthy meal. If possible, accompany them or send them on a recreational trip. Traveling has an uplifting impact on mental and emotional health. Eventually, they’ll return more refreshed, healthy, and optimistic.
Looking after aged parents is laborious and difficult. But your assistance, attention, and care can help them live fulfilling, healthier, and happier lives. If your parents are in a nursing home, ensure they aren’t victims of abuse. Other than this, monitor their health and offer assistance wherever possible. Offer them a healthy diet, incorporate exercise into their routine, and ensure they follow up with checkups.