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A Healthy Holiday Gift for Aging Parents

Bill Case - November 06, 2017 11:40 AM

When we think of the holiday season, we usually think of family.  We remember the memories of mom and dad while growing up, as well as, our grandparents sharing stories and life reflections.   Now that this holiday season is around the corner, wouldn’t it be cool to do something different this year.  How about the gift of a healthier lifestyle that only you can provide.

Whether it is calling up mom or dad for a weekly walk or stopping by to exercise together, no other gift shouts love like time.  Visiting a loved one creates an atmosphere of connection and warmth, saying I’m glad we are together.

Keeping our older adult family active and healthy is an ongoing process.  Creating daily opportunities to stimulate the mind, body and emotions has proven to be a key to a happy life.  We strive to prevent all those unnecessary hardships and trials that come our way and sadly life doesn’t always give us the heads up. However, newsflash, now you can be proactive and create a healthy and safe lifestyle to your older adult with the gift that keeps on giving –your time.

An active lifestyle includes exercise and activities that keep the joints lubricated, the muscles active and the balance system in check. Playing cards focuses on fine motor skills and board games stimulate memory.

Walking helps maintain an upright posture, as well as, reminds you to pick up your feet. Also, one on one time, provides for discussion of canes, shoes, glasses and medications which all affect balance and stability.
Personally, when I visit my dad, I am able to walk through the home and check for safety features that go overlooked. Checking the proper function of the thermostat, stove and oven can eliminate an unnecessary expense, as well as, make sure it’s safe.

Are there strategically placed grab bars in the bathroom?  Is all the clutter removed from the bed to the bathroom that may create a trip in the middle of the night?  Is there a rubber mat in the shower or bathtub?  Statistically, most home falls do occur in the bathroom.

Older adult falls are preventable.  Falling is not an inevitable result of aging.

However, falling is the number one cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for people over 65 years of age.  Every 15 seconds a senior is seen in the emergency room for a fall-related injury.  Those who fall are two to three times more likely to fall again. Each week, there are more than 30,000 adults over the age of 65 that are seriously injured by falling.  Each week, nearly 250 older adults will die as a result.

This holiday season, let’s get out of our comfort zone, pick up the phone or just stop by and visit an older adult and say, “I was thinking about you.”  You can go for a walk, play a game or just assess the home environment for safety.  Your time will be rewarded and your touch remembered.  Most importantly, a window of opportunity will not open itself.

Bill Case is the #1 Bestselling Author of Stand Tall, Don’t Fall.  NASA astronauts, NFL, NBA and MLB Athletes, Professional Ballet Dancers, and more than 85,000 other patients over the course of his 34 year career have benefitted from his expertise in physical therapy.

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