By Michael Kabel
Aging is a fact of life, and we accept that. Aging family members, especially parents, are one of the most difficult challenges of our lives. It’s a strange, unsettling feeling to realize the traditional roles are reversed and our parents are now dependent on us, just as our own children have relied on our help.
Research suggests that taking a holistic, or “whole body,” approach to your parents’ wellbeing will support their ongoing emotional health. Feelings of optimism and positivity are crucial to helping seniors preserve their vibrancy as they age.
Prepare yourself for pushback – but don’t take it personally.
It’s not that your parents are stubborn. Senior men and women, especially immediately after retirement, often feel a need to maintain their independence even when their ability to remain self-sufficient starts to wane. Adult children caring for aging parents may find their efforts met with resentment and frustration. But experts caution not to confront parents (“You’re too old to handle that now. Let me help.”). Instead, offer assistance without advertising it.
Also, don’t broach the subjects of finances and other personal responsibilities without being asked. Parents may interpret your interest as prying.
Encourage seniors to find new solutions.
To help keep their mobility and energy at more youthful levels, encourage your parents to take an exercise class. Eastern disciplines, including tai chi and yoga, offer increased and sustained energy, flexibility, and tissue and muscle health. Many community centers offer classes devoted to seniors. For men and women without a regular social outlet, such classes provide opportunities to interact with others, promoting emotional health.
Nutritional supplements such as ginkgo biloba may help improve memory retention. Consult a medical professional for advice on nutritional supplements to help with arthritis, psoriasis, diabetes and other ailments.
Take care of yourself.
Remember to take breaks for yourself and give your relationships enough distance and space to remain healthy.
Feed Your Soul
Bridge To Healing
By Israela Meyerstein
“My illness journey made gratitude my strongest emotion.” Author, social worker and specialist in marriage and family therapy Israela Meyerstein begins the acknowledgements to her self-help book with a strong, personal statement. Chronicling the journey of transition and enlightenment as patient, with the wisdom and experience of her profession, Meyerstein offers both inspirational and practical approaches to wellness. The informative, non-technical book offers spiritual, emotional and physical exercises for the body, soul and mind. From traditional to modern spiritual tools, she provides a toolbox of practical suggestions designed to heal.