Caring for Seniors of All Faiths


Four Ways to Promote Healthy Aging

Learn how to promote healthy aging and help older loved ones improve their quality of life.

When age-related changes are noticed, it’s normal for family members to worry about the health and wellbeing of older loved ones. While there are many aspects to aging that should be celebrated, aging also increases the risk for a number of troubling issues, such as falls and chronic illnesses like diabetes and dementia. Family caregivers often have a variety of questions about how to protect aging parents. What measures need to be taken? Should I move them into my home? Is a move to an assisted living facility needed? However, even as age-related changes occur, most older adults are quite capable of living independently, particularly when healthy aging behaviors are promoted and integrated into daily life.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to ensuring that older adults can live independently for as long as possible. What steps can be taken to help a loved one stay healthy throughout aging? The following are four important areas where family members can support senior loved ones and promote healthy aging.

Encourage Social Activity

Social isolation affects millions of older adults. A decline in physical health can lead seniors to stay inside more often and avoid social situations. Additionally, the loss of a spouse or other close loved ones can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. These feelings can cause depression and a host of other health problems including heart disease and cognitive decline. Family members play a vital role in helping seniors stay socially active to avoid these dangerous health issues. Some ways to encourage social activity include:

  • Scheduling a daily or weekly in-person or phone chat with the individual.
  • Encouraging the person to engage with a local group, such as a book club, gardening class, etc.
  • Looking into volunteer opportunities that the individual might be interested in, allowing them to get out of the house and interact with like-minded people.

Help Seniors Stay Physically Active

It is well documented that exercise can reduce stress and anxiety and improve a person’s overall health and wellbeing. For older adults, regular exercise can also improve flexibility and balance, lowering the risk of dangerous falls. Most importantly, however, people who exercise regularly not only live longer, but they may also live better. Encouraging a new exercise routine for older loved ones can be a bit of a challenge, but there are some tips to make physical activity more inviting.

  • Discuss physical activities that are fun and interesting for the individual, such as gardening, stretching, yoga, etc.
  • Working out is always more fun with a friend or family member, so think of activities that can be done together, such as an exercise class or a daily walk in the park or neighborhood.
  • Look up exercise videos on YouTube designed specifically for older adults.
  • Always discuss any changes in exercise with the older adult’s physician prior to starting new activities.

Promote a Healthy Diet

Eating right is an important aspect of health no matter a person’s age, but it is especially crucial for older adults. A healthy diet supports muscle and bone strength and lowers the risk for certain health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers. Adjusting a person’s diet, particularly one they have had for decades, can be tricky. Try these tips to help gradually incorporate healthier foods into your loved one’s life:

  • Discuss ways to alter traditional dishes with healthier substitutes, such as using olive oil instead of butter or Greek yogurt as a replacement for sour cream.
  • Go grocery shopping with the individual to help them select healthy foods.
  • Remove expired foods from the pantry and refrigerator.
  • Speak to their doctor or a nutritionist for guidance on which foods are recommended for improving health.

Schedule Routine Checkups

Regular health exams and screenings are extremely important as a loved one ages. Seeing the doctor regularly allows for emerging health issues to be picked up on and treated before they become major problems.

  • Encourage older loved ones to reach out to their doctor immediately if they experience any new symptoms, pain, or changes in health.
  • Offer to drive aging parents to appointments or even go to the appointment with them if they want, and take notes of what the doctor says.
  • Maintain a current list of any medications and supplements the individual takes.
  • Ask the person if they would be comfortable with you or another trusted family member having access to their medical records and for permission to speak with their doctor, if needed.

Partner With a Professional Home Care Provider

In addition to these four tips, partnering with a professional in-home care provider, like Jewish Family Home Care, can help promote healthy aging for loved ones. Our caregivers are highly skilled in caring for older adults with a wide range of care needs. We can assist with:

  • Fall prevention
  • Preparing healthy meals in accordance with a senior’s diet and health issues
  • Medication reminders
  • Assistance with movement and exercise
  • Companionship to stave off loneliness and isolation
  • And much more

Want to learn more about how our caregivers can help promote healthy aging in seniors? Give us a call at 954-908-5677 or contact us online to learn more.