When you care for an aging loved one, your relationship with that person can be tricky to navigate.
You always want the best for them, but sometimes, what’s best may not be what that person is currently doing for themselves.
Poor lifestyle choices are always difficult to address with someone you care so deeply about.
To help you out, here are a few common challenges seniors and their loved ones face, and some ideas on how to address them without damaging your relationship or causing more harm.
Your Loved One Needs More Exercise
Staying active is important for older adults for many different reasons. When seniors exercise, they are less likely to develop chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes, and are also less likely to experience a life-threatening fall.
Sometimes, seniors may not be exercising due to lack of access to gyms and equipment.
If this is the case for your loved one, you can let them know that many Medicare Advantage plans offer free access to fitness centers through the SilverSneakers program.
This will give your loved one access to equipment, exercise programs, and classes that include yoga and sports teams.
Other seniors may be avoiding exercise due to chronic pain, but you can let your loved one know that some gentle exercise can actually improve pain symptoms.
Gently talking to a loved one can often help, but you can also encourage them to stay active by joining them on walks and offering support.
Your Loved One Needs to Eat Healthier
Food habits can be hard to change for seniors, but eating better is just as important as exercising for long-term health.
For older adults, that means filling the plate with plenty of veggies, lean proteins and whole grains, and cutting back on processed and sugary foods.
As with any difficult discussion, talk to your loved one when they are calm and receptive.
Keep the focus on your love and concern for their well-being, and try to understand the root cause of those unhealthy eating habits you are trying to change.
You also need to be prepared with some simple solutions to improve your family member’s diet.
One way to ensure your loved one has access to healthy foods is to look into a meal kit delivery service. With these services, you can choose the types of food you prefer, and everything needed to make healthy meals is in one box.
It’s a great way for older adults to have access to the healthy fare they need.
Your Loved One Needs to Move into Assisted Living
Healthy eating and daily exercise can help older adults age in place, but sometimes, seniors simply cannot live alone and stay safe.
Deciding whether your loved one needs assisted living can be a challenge for you, and it’s an emotional choice for everyone involved.
Try to be objective when making the call, and keep your loved one’s physical safety in mind.
It’s a tough decision to make, but it’s even more of a challenge to talk to seniors about this life transition, especially if they are resistant to the change.
You may need to enlist other family members to help, and you may need to have more than one conversation about it.
Try to be understanding of the emotional and financial concerns your loved one may have about assisted living, and try to present sound solutions.
Depending on the level of care your loved one needs, costs can be a major source of stress and hesitation.
Above all, remain calm, and stop the conversation if things get too tense.
Changing your own habits is challenging enough, but getting a senior to change theirs can seem impossible.
However, if a lifestyle choice is seriously affecting your loved one’s health, voicing your concerns with love and understanding can make a difference.
Just try to pick your battles with your senior relatives, make sure the difficult conversation is really worth having, and always have solutions ready to make changing those habits easier.
Most importantly, be patient with your loved one and yourself.
If you like this post leave me a comment, I’d love to know your takeaway…
Milan Perry, HHP, MH provides Culinary Wellness Expert for busy entrepreneur, jet-setting businesswomen and high-level professionals, corporate managers and VIP coaches in their 40’s or age 50-60; women 50+, who are holistically oriented and want to feel and look her best.
As a herbalist. healthy lifestyle coach, menu planner, busy wife. The “joie de vivre” is wine + anti-aging (not in that order). She coaches women that have tried the fad diets of quick weight loss of 20 pounds without success.
Moving past that, you’re at a point in life where you feel more in touch with your need of well-being.
If you’re still struggling with trying to maintain your weight and feel as confident as you used to, schedule your FREE ‘Chic Women Don’t Diet’ Makeover call with Milan.
…Stay BEAUTIFUL AND HEALTHY,
Guest blog post by Sheila Olsen