Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

4 Ways to Help Your Aging Parents Stay Healthy and Avoid Degenerative Diseases

Your parents cared for you when you were a child, and now it’s your turn. There are more than 40 million people in the United States serving as unpaid caregivers for adults aged 65 and older. Degenerative disease is one of the obstacles that caregivers often face, but there are many lifestyle changes your parents can make to prevent, manage or reverse these age-related complications. Here are four ways you can help your aging parents stay healthy and avoid degenerative diseases as they get older.

Encourage a Low-fat Diet

Reducing intake of dietary fat, especially saturated and trans fats, is a great way to minimize heart attack and stroke risk. Encourage your parents to follow a low-fat, plant-based diet like the vegetarian, flexitarian or Mediterranean diet. This can be a big change for older folks who are used to eating bacon and eggs for breakfast every day, so support your parents by helping them shop for groceries and teaching them to cook healthy meals.

Consider Stem Cell Therapy

If your aging parents suffer from degenerative disc or joint disease, consider using stem cell therapy to help them find relief from pain and immobility. Stem cells are harvested from the umbilical cord when a baby is born and have the ability to develop into any type of human cell. Many doctors also combine stem cell services with other therapies to reduce inflammation and scarring while speeding up recovery time.

Exercise for Body and Mind

Staying active is one of the most important factors in staving off degenerative disease. Yoga, aerobics and light weightlifting are great ways for seniors to stay in shape, while crosswords, arts and crafts or video games help keep minds sharp. If your parents are reluctant to participate in physical activity, exercise along with them. Remember, it’s good for you too.

Facilitate Socialization

Humans are social creatures, and that doesn’t change when we get older. Socializing with friends, family and new acquaintances is vital for keeping aging brains healthy. Make an effort to take your aging parents for visits and invite loved ones over whenever you can. You can also find a group or class for your parents to join so they can meet new people.

Caring for aging parents can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. Most cities have support groups for caregivers of elderly parents. There’s also no shame in hiring help, such as a home health nurse, if you feel overwhelmed.

Tim Esterdahl

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