We, as adult children of older parents, often worry that they are not remaining active and engaged in life. However, our parents do not seem to take the issue nearly as seriously as we do.
People often become less active as they age. Perhaps this is because they have less energy, are afraid of becoming injured or disabled, and/or do not have access to proper transportation. Also, seniors who do not have support from family and friends are often less motivated to remain engaged with others.
There is clear evidence that inactivity increases the likelihood of chronic disease, such as high blood pressure and arthritis, and even depression. So, what can we do as the adult children of older parents to help them remain active?
Five Ways to Keep Older Parents Active and Enjoying Life
- Provide information from respected sources that describes the importance of remaining active. This can include written materials, TV shows and documentaries, and presentations. Do not just tell the senior of the availability of these resources. Instead, plan to take part with her in reading or watching the material and then discussing the material learned.
- Recommend activities they enjoyed in the past. This could include taking part in politics, religious activities, socially based activities and exercises at the YMCA or senior center, and/or walking around the neighborhood. Get creative in identifying things to do that spark an interest in the older parent or friend.
- Create a network of supportive people who can reinforce the importance of completing the targeted activity(ies) successfully. This could include adult children, friends, neighbors, professionals, such as physicians and other healthcare workers, and staff at the local YMCA, senior center, or other community-based organization.
- There is a tendency of most people to become excited about the new activity or exercise and jump into performing it without preparation or a plan. Success breeds success and progressing gradually into the activity or exercise by developing a plan with specific milestones is optimal. This will encourage your parent to continue and also ensure safety.
- Choose activities and exercises easily performed in the home or ensure that adequate and dependable transportation is available. Ease of access and repetition are often critical to success, so do not compromise the process by reducing its availability. Most communities often have transportation options for elderly or disabled people if you cannot provide it directly.
Remember that a critical aspect of helping an elderly parent or friend remain active is personal involvement of those she loves or trusts. Virtually everyone wants to know that others care about them, and the elderly are no exception.
In addition, safety is of primary importance, so make sure activity or exercise plans are reviewed and approved by a physician or other healthcare professional and that all reasonable safety precautions are taken.
Also, if you want to arm yourself with the information needed to motivate an elderly parent or friend to remain active and exercise, take a look at this new e-book by clicking here.
Learn more about blog creator Steven Watson’s background related to helping elderly people remain active and safe by clicking here to access his Amazon Author’s Page.