Keeping Your Elderly Parents Healthy

Study after study has shown that more and more adult children are living with their parents longer, but what about the reverse?

Turns out, there’s another trend that isn’t talked about quite as much where elderly parents are moving in with their grown children.

While this isn’t necessarily the “ideal” living situation, it is a much cheaper option than putting your aging parent in a nursing home.

Whether your aging parents live with you or not, of course you want them to be both safe and healthy. It’s in our blood to want to take care of our family members and luckily, there are many ways to do this.

Staying in Contact

One of the best ways to help your aging parents is by simply visiting them and spending time with them.

Call on the weekends just to say hi, stop by to check on them, invite them over for dinner or bring them dinner once a week and show them you care about them. If people are emotionally healthy, they have a better chance of being physically healthy, too.

Other ways to keep your parents safe and healthy include:

  • Make sure they are not overly medicated – If your parents see multiple doctors and are prescribed a variety of different types of medication, get involved and make sure they aren’t mixing things they shouldn’t be. A good idea is to go with them to their next doctor’s appointment and speak to the doctor directly.
  • Keep their home safe – If your parent is in a wheelchair, you will need to make the house wheelchair friendly. Even if they are still walking around, you’ll want to install grab bars in the showers and hand railings on the stairs. Other ideas include covering sharp corners in case of a fall, turning the water heater down a bit to prevent burns and installing special smoke alarms if they are having trouble hearing.
  • Make sure they eat healthy – Eating healthy should always be a priority, but especially in the elderly when their bodies depend on essential vitamins and minerals. The article “The elderly and Noni products” recommends eating the tropical noni fruit to stay healthy. Noni benefits many, but can be especially helpful to older people. Benefits include easing arthritis pain, fighting germs and looking younger.
  • Try to prevent falls – Falling down is the leading cause of injuries among older people.

Do your best to slip-proof their house with area rugs and carpeting, make sure the lighting in their home is adequate and make sure their eyesight is up to par. Buying a medical shower chair and a non-slip bathmat might also help avoid falling while bathing. Shower chairs enable a person to shower comfortably and independently without the risk of collapsing.

  • Keep them socialized – As stated above, by keeping your parents emotionally healthy you will be helping to keep them physically healthy. Encourage them to join groups, go out with friends, take walks, volunteer and be actively involved with their community. This helps keep their mind sharp and their body strong. They say laughter is the best medicine, and when it comes to the elderly, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Charlotte, NC. She writes on a variety of topics including small businesses, the elderly and personal finance.

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