There comes a certain point in life when you start to feel like you are the parent and your parent is the child. Just like in the past, when the roles were reversed, you have an opinion about what’s best for their health whether or not they want to hear it. It’s harder to convince someone older than you to heed your advice. They most likely will feel like they know best.
However, when you pose the concern in a way that is helpful and not chastising or demanding in any way, it will be most likely better received. Dealing with a stubborn parent who needs to pay more attention to their health can be a challenge, but with a little willpower and good intention followed by action, you can turn the tables for your father and lead him down a path of an improved quality of living.
If dear ol’ dad has hit his mid-60s or older, there are things he definitely needs to be extra aware of in terms of his health. The first thing is to incorporate an active lifestyle. As bodies slow down, it can be hard and even painful to move. Old bones and tired muscles that need to be used may stay stagnant if an exercise regimen isn’t introduced.
This doesn’t mean that your father has to sign up for the next 5K, but moving every day is important to keep the blood pumping and the body moving. Gardening, leisurely walks, swimming and even yoga are all gentler ways to incorporate exercise. Aim for an hour a day, which also means that it’s split up over the course of 24 hours. Let him know he needs to move it—in the nicest possible way, of course.
Eating right goes hand in hand with exercise. Your dad might be used to eating meat and potatoes every day, but that’s hardly a sustainable diet. Encourage him to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into his meals. Whether that means creating new recipes with him or taking a trip together to the farmer’s market to pick up fresh produce, you can make his eating habits change over time, not all at once where he feels restricted. Check out these healthy drinks for other suggestions on how to boost his immune system and get more vitamins into his body.
Quitting Nasty Habits
Another way to help your father get healthier is to help him stop smoking. Easier said than done—especially if your dad has smoked before you were even born. If he’s a smoker, buy him an e–cigarette online to get him to stop smoking real cigarettes right away. Once he tries an e-cigarette and understands how it is much healthier for him, he will start to enjoy it more without even missing the real deal.
Regular Health Checkups
Make sure he is also receiving regular health checkups. These are important because a diagnosis caught early can be easier to fight than if he waited too long to go. He might try to convince you that he feels strong and healthy, which may be true, but a visit to the doctor is the safest route to keep him at a healthy level. Go to the doctor with him and make sure he’s up-to-date on vaccines, as well as routine procedures, such as a colonoscopy.
Lead by Example
Don’t show up with McDonald’s if you’re instructing your dad to eat more organic. Schedule activities together focused on being healthy. This can be an evening walk, taking a class together, or planning a trip. Incorporate it in a way that makes it seem enjoyable—not something he would rather avoid.
Just like when you were younger, you might have wanted to battle your parents’ advice, but deep down, you knew it was coming from a good place and more often than not, they were right. Depending on what type of man your dad is, you might face a little push-back at first, but keep in mind that some tough love is good if it’s meant that your father is going to get healthier.
What are a few grumbles if they mean a healthier father for you? Once he starts to sleep, eat, move, and all around feel better, he’ll be thankful that you helped boost him along into a better lifestyle. Sometimes being the parent is hard, especially when it’s for your own, but that’s what family is for: lending a helping hand when necessary and making those special in your life feel loved.
What things have you learned from taking care of your elderly father?