It is natural to worry about the health and well-being of the older loved ones in your life. With an increase in age, the likelihood of developing chronic diseases such as dementia, arthritis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer also rises. However, embracing a healthy lifestyle and consistently upholding some crucial habits can improve the quality of life in older adults, enabling them to live better. And as a responsible member of the family, you can motivate the older adults in your life to make healthy choices to bolster their immunity, thereby preventing illnesses.
Why is a healthy lifestyle important?
Practicing a healthy lifestyle allows older adults to live more independently. This independence leads to self-reliance, which is beneficial because it helps them maintain their quality of life. However, if a family member becomes incapable of looking after themselves due to a disability or a chronic disease, it leaves you with two options. You may have to devote time, energy, and finances to acting as a caregiver for your loved one, or you may have to place your loved one in a nursing home, which will also strongly influence your family dynamics and finances.
Additionally, your loved ones are always at risk of facing abuse, emotional distress, and neglect while living in an assisted living facility. You can gain a deeper insight into the horrors that seniors can encounter at nursing homes by visiting nursinghomeabusecenter.com. Unfortunately, most of the perpetrators are among the nursing home staff. The people responsible for providing care to seniors usually exploit them out of greed or neglect their duties because of the lack of supervision.
So if you cannot tend to them because of strenuous working hours and other duties, you will have to place them in a nursing home. However, you will constantly worry about their safety and well-being, and you will have to check in regularly to prevent any signs of abuse that might impact them.
Therefore use the tips given below to help the older adults in your life maintain their health, so they live as independently as possible and preserve their quality of life even as they age.
- Prevent loneliness and social isolation
Although they may appear interchangeable, social isolation and loneliness are markedly different. Loneliness refers to the sorrow and distress you feel when you are alone. On the contrary, social isolation is the absence of social activity and the minimum interaction with people. Social isolation and loneliness increase the risk of developing health problems like heart disease, depression, and cognitive decline, which is associated with a diminished ability to ponder, learn, and remember.
As a family member, you can encourage the older people in your life to remain socially connected by scheduling video calls with relatives and friends daily, weekly, or biweekly. You can also motivate them to join a walking group, garden club, or a voluntary organization where they can interact with other seniors and cultivate friendly ties to keep each other company.
- Encourage physical activity
There are several reasons to incorporate physical activity into your daily life. Regular exercise lowers stress and anxiety while improving balance, which decreases the risk of falling and breaking bones. Moreover, exercising consistently improves the quality of sleep and prevents depression. Seniors who regularly engage in some physical activity live better lives. On the contrary, avoiding physical activity increases the risk of chronic health problems, resulting in more frequent doctor visits, hospitalizations, and disabilities.
Persuading older people to exercise is not easy. Getting them to step out of their comfort zone and start a new activity is difficult. Instead of forcing your loved ones to do one specific activity, introduce them to a mix of activities, such as walking around the neighborhood, gardening, stretching, and lifting weights. Let them explore these activities and decide which one is best for them. You can also encourage them to enroll in yoga and swimming classes.
- Encourage healthy eating
A healthy diet is as important as physical activity, if not more. A nutritious diet supports muscle growth and strengthens bones, which helps maintain balance and mobility. A good diet incorporating the right amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins develops high immunity in the body.
Although breaking old habits can present a challenge, there are ways in which you can persuade your loved ones to eat healthier meals. You can plan a visit to the grocery store together and help them pick healthy options. Similarly, discuss what they love to eat the most and how you can make those dishes healthier. For example, you can replace butter with olive oil or sour cream with yogurt for a healthier twist. You can also try to visit them frequently and enjoy a healthy meal together.
If you have time, you can cook healthy dishes in bulk and package the leftovers, which they can eat later in the week. Also, keep track of the food items in their fridge and pantry. Make sure that they have healthy options available at all times and remove expired food or drinks.
- Have them take supplements
With an increase in age, it is vital to take supplements to guarantee the right amount of vitamins and minerals enter the body. Thus, you should encourage your loved ones to consult their doctor about any vitamin and mineral supplements they may need because they help keep the immune system strong. Before taking the supplement, ensure that they have consulted their doctors for safety, especially if they are already taking a prescription medication. The most common supplements include calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, which help strengthen the body.
Asking someone to change their habits is difficult, especially if they have to do it later in life. However, if you are truly concerned about the health and wellness of your loved ones and determined to help them embrace healthier lifestyles, try to be more patient and understanding. If you face some resistance at first or things are not working out the way you want, remain calm and try a different approach because your unwavering motivation and perseverance will ultimately make a difference.