In my last two blog posts, I’ve discussed the importance of preparing for our aging parent’s death, having their desires known and written down and keeping track of finances. Another important component of being prepared with our parents is healthy aging, both in mind and in body. With retirement and aging, older adults can find themselves with a lot of free time and not many ideas of what to do. Some alternatives to keep the mind busy and active are volunteering, starting another business, embarking on an encore career, engaging with one’s community, and care-giving or taking responsibility for grandchildren or friends with limited mobility.

These things can help us to build structure and purpose into our lives as we age and as we care for our own parents. It won’t surprise you to learn that the most popular pastime for older adults is watching TV. According to a MetLife study in 2012, socialization and communication as well as recreation and exercise decreased from 13% to 10% after the age of 75. My friend, Dr. Arnold Bresky, a preventive gerontologist, has come up with a nine point system of ways to be proactive in healthy aging and both prevent and treat symptoms of dementia.  These tips can be applied to our own health in addition to our aging loved ones.

  1. Fun and laughter: have 9 hearty laughs per day.
  2. Relaxation, meditation or prayer: meditate or pray at least once a day.
  3. Tunes Rx: Play joyful and relaxing music at least 15 minutes a day.
  4. Sleep: Ideally sleep 8 uninterrupted hours between 11PM and 7AM.
  5. Physical exercise: exercise everyday and track your progress. This can be anything from a slow, gentle walk to pool workouts, going to the gym, or taking a class.
  6. Nutrition: eat a low fat Mediterranean diet. Many of our aging parents do not get the nutrients and vitamins they need. A low-fat Mediterranean diet is one that consists of things like olive oil, fresh fruit, vegetables, and low sugar options.
  7. Hydration: drink 6, 8 ounce glasses of water a day. So many of us forget this important step. This is exceptionally true for older adults who can get dehydrated from medications and other sources.
  8. Learn something new: Do crossword puzzles, create art, or take a class to acquire a new skill. Engaging our aging loved one’s minds can be a critical step in preventing depression.
  9. Practice Acts of Kindness: reach out and make another person smile at least once a day.

My 91-year-old Mom is the poster girl for healthy aging. She lives alone, still drives during the day, gets together with friends often to socialize and play games, takes classes at the local community college, exercises in the community pool, takes care of her diet and walks on the treadmill for 20 minutes every morning. Although caring for our aging loved ones and ourselves can be challenging at times, making sure to take the steps to age healthily can ensure our ultimate success.

With over 37 years in the practice of clinical psychology, Dr. Mikol Davis is practiced in the art of helping people of all generations and backgrounds lead better lives. He provides mental competency testing for elders, support and help with aging parents and interpersonal difficulties. He is sensitive to the changes elders must face as they age and lose independence. He is experienced in helping to reduce conflicts among family members and others. Dr. Davis received his doctorate in Psychology from the University of San Francisco in 1980. He has been in private practice in Marin County, California since 1976.

mikol

Through developing close relationships with medical specialists, support groups and services, Dr. Davis has assisted many families with important community resources for aging loved ones. He is recognized aging expert and gerontologist.

Since founding AgingParents.com with his wife Carolyn Rosenblatt, Dr. Davis has offered important emotional support and resources for family members caring for aging parents. The emotional burden in making critical decisions about aging parents, elder care and safety can often be overwhelming for concerned family members. Dr. Davis is well versed in these subjects both personally and professionally. He assists with these difficult decisions. He provides one-on-one emotional support for the primary caregivers of elders, teaches coping skills, and helps the caregiver avoid burnout and overload. Dr. Davis is also passionate about the prevention of elder abuse.

www.agingparents.com

www.drmikol.com

Schedule a video session with Dr. Mikol

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