Most of us have at least one unhealthy habit, like smoking, not exercising enough, or eating too many high-calorie foods. But for those aged 65-and-over, unhealthy habits like those can be a game-changer that threatens their ability to continue aging in place.
Getting your elderly mom or dad to say “yes” to eliminating some of their unhealthy habits can be very challenging and stressful. Fortunately, there are several proven ways to convince an aging parent to make some positive lifestyle changes, starting with these.
Unhealthy Habits Seniors Engage In
Most seniors feel like they’ve already lived a full life, and they also don’t like to be lectured by their kids. As a result, making healthier choices isn’t a priority for them. But if they’re still living independently, changes may be necessary to ensure their continued health and wellbeing. As their child, you also want your parents around for as long as possible. Here are some of the unhealthy habits that your mom or dad might be engaging in:
- Cigarette smoking
- Drinking alcohol to excess
- Abusing painkillers for arthritis or back pain
- Eating too many high-calorie foods
- Not socializing with others
If your mom or dad is currently participating in one or more of these negative behaviors, they’re rolling the dice when it comes to their at-home independence.
Kicking Bad Habits to the Curb
You love your parent and want them to continue aging comfortably in place for as long as possible. To make that happen, you’ll need to develop an effective strategy for kicking those old bad habits to the curb. Try these approaches:
Talk About It
Gently and respectfully approach your parent about your concerns, while explaining how much they are loved by you and others. Discuss how their unhealthy habits are threatening their at-home independence, especially if they already have a medical condition that the behaviors could exacerbate. If they agree to implementing some positive changes, offer your support any way you can. If they’re still being stubborn, it’s time to move on to Plan B.
Plan B: Recruit Outsiders
As was mentioned earlier, most seniors don’t like to be scolded by their children. Ask one of their trusted friends, a clergy member or their doctor to sit down and explain how each risky behavior is threatening their health and wellbeing. Print off some medical articles from WebMD or the Mayo Clinic about a chronic condition they might have and how it’s made worse by their unhealthy habits. For example, if your dad has diabetes but still smokes and eats too many pastries, share a detailed article with him that explains how he’s placing his health at risk.
Encourage Healthy Activities
When mom’s spending too much time in front of the TV, encourage her to explore some healthy activities. Every community has good opportunities available to seniors that also provide a positive setting for making some new friends, like:
- Joining a senior-focused gym
- Going to the park every day
- Taking a healthy cooking class
- Learning a new craft or hobby
- Volunteering at a hospital or cancer center
If getting around is an issue for mom, arrange some transportation through a ride-sharing service, family member or the public transit system.
Celebrate Milestones Together
Track your parent’s progress and celebrate milestones together using a reward system. For example, if dad’s gone 6 months without a cigarette, take him to go see his favorite sports team play. If mom’s been exercising regularly, pamper her with a spa day. Studies have found that it’s much easier to kick a bad habit when teaming up with a friend or family member, so continue giving your loved one the support they need while applauding their efforts!
In-Home Respite Caregivers that Encourage Healthy Habits
Helping an aging in place parent avoid unhealthy habits can be hard, especially if you need a break or live too far away. When you need a hand, call Cranberry Home Care. Our highly trained and thoroughly screened caregivers love helping at-home seniors participate in healthy activities so they can continue aging comfortably in place right where they want to be. In addition to transportation, companionship and nutritious meals, our fully licensed aides can also perform duties like light housework, personal hygiene and medication reminders.
And, all our in-home daily living assistance services can be flexibly tailored in an affordable package that’ll put your mind at ease. To schedule a FREE in-home consultation in the Middleboro, MA, area, or to learn more about Cranberry Home Care, please visit: www.cranberryhomecare.com now!
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