When my guest today asked me if she can share her post about keeping our elderly parents engaged and active, I couldn’t pass it up. If you’ve been stopping by for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been caring for my ill mother. As her caretaker, I want to make sure she’s as active as she can be.
Are you looking for ways to keep your elderly parents engaged and active? If so, keep on reading…
For grown up children, watching parents age can be really tough.
It’s a natural part of life, but it can stimulate feelings of guilt, fear, anxiety, and sadness. These are natural responses to what is a difficult process, but precisely how hard it is depends on a number of factors. The most important is the nature of your relationship with your parents.
If you can be honest and open with them, the transition to geriatric care and assisted living will be much smoother. They’ll feel like a key part of the decision-making process and you’ll get to share your opinions about what the next steps should be. This type of understanding is great for encouraging elderly parents to feel positive about the change and their future.
It isn’t all about picking home care packages, though, because you also need to ensure that your parents stay active and healthy, no matter what their living situation.
Tackling the Tough Questions
The mistake that many grown up children make is to assume that, once care has been arranged, the decisions stop. This isn’t the case, because a bigger issue for most elderly people is filling time. They don’t have work commitments. They may not be able to travel far from their home. They could feel unwillingly isolated by mobility problems. So, finding ways around these restrictions becomes very important.
Staying Fit and Active
You don’t need to get them on the squash court once a week, but elderly parents should be making an effort to move around where possible. So many geriatric ailments are linked to poor mobility and a sedentary lifestyle. Even a small amount of walking every day is enough to keep a person feeling fit and emotionally balanced. Arrange to take weekly walks in the park. Suggest day trips and community activities. Just get them out of the house and engaging with life.
It can be difficult to schedule on a frequent basis, but trying to factor in activities that you and your parent can do together is a great chance to bond and stay active at the same time. As an example, finding an outdoor market to peruse together is a leisurely way to get some exercise. It’s also a great place for your parent to meet people, which is invaluable for maintaining a healthy outlook.
Keeping the Mind Sharp
Being old is tough for all kinds of different reasons, but one of the hardest is boredom. Lots of elderly people spend all day alone in a silent house, without company or entertainment. While you can’t be there to visit all the time, you can keep your parents occupied with audio books, CDs, radio shows, puzzle games, and anything else you think they might enjoy. Encourage them to maintain a lively house, with music and television during alone time.
Talking to Caregivers
Stay connected and up to date with caregivers, particularly if your parent is aided in their own home, by an assisted living system. They are the people who are there every day. They spot changes, see signs of trouble early, and have all of the information that you need. Think of them as your eyes and ears when you can’t be there to spend time with your folks. If you make the effort to have a friendly relationship with the caregiver, life will be easier for all of you.
Putting Them in the Picture
Where possible, take steps to include your parents in family engagements and events.
Don’t assume that a weekly visit solves all ills, particularly if they were used to hosting communal dinners and get-togethers in the past. It can be really nice for older people to have an excuse to get out of the house; whether it’s the birthday party of a grandchild or a hearty Sunday cookout. Give them plenty of warning and arrange for an escort if they need one.
Why Happiness is the Key to Good Health in Old Age
Time and time again, studies have shown that older people who feel happy and engaged with life tend to live longer and suffer fewer serious illnesses. Loneliness and boredom can be surprisingly tough on the health, which is why they’re two of the biggest dangers of old age. However, you can conquer both by reminding your parents that there’s a big, vibrant world out there and a lot of great opportunities just waiting for their time and attention.
Over to You
I hope these tips were helpful. If you know anyone who also cares for their elderly parents, please share this post with them.
What kind of activities do you do with your parents? Let’s get the conversation going in the comments section below!