Bad habits can have a negative impact on health regardless of age. For seniors, the impact of smoking, living a sedentary lifestyle, or eating unhealthy foods is compounded by age. With each passing year, it becomes more and more important for seniors to quit bad habits. Here are a few ways to help your aging loved one change his or her habits for the better.
Replace Bad Habits with Better Ones
Few people have the willpower to eliminate bad habits from their lives. Most habits have a purpose. Though they’re unhealthy in the long term, they provide stimulation or stress relief in the short term. To help your loved one overcome a bad habit, help him or her find an adequate replacement. For smokers, nicotine patches provide small doses of nicotine, serving as an effective replacement while seniors kick the habit. Some people who drink too much alcohol trade their nightly glasses of wine for different oral habits like eating sugar-free lollipops or crunching on pieces of ice. By satisfying the oral component of the bad habit and reaching for a lollipop whenever the urge to drink alcohol arises, your loved one can retrain his or her body to replace the bad habit with the innocuous one.
A professional caregiver can provide additional support for your efforts to help your loved one adopt a healthier lifestyle. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of homecare services. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide an individualized care plan to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
For many seniors, specific things trigger their bad habits. The triggers can be certain environments (some people smoke every time they hang out in bars) or physical objects (some people can’t refrain from eating cookies when they have fully stocked cookie jars). If your loved one wants to kick a bad habit for good, he or she needs to rid the environment of triggers. Help your loved one identify the most common triggers, then clear his or her living space of anything that could cause a backslide. When he or she is embarking upon the new lifestyle, help your loved one avoid triggers for the first few weeks. For example, if your loved one is trying to stick to a healthy diet, offer to do the grocery shopping for a month so he or she doesn’t get tempted by the bakery aisle.
Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Pembroke Pines families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation.
Eliminate Bad Habits Together
Studies suggest it’s easier to kick a bad habit when joining forces with a friend or family member. Having someone to hold your loved one accountable when wavering and celebrate successes when holding strong can provide the motivation to exercise, eat healthily, or give up smoking. If your loved one needs to adopt a healthier lifestyle, consider joining his or her journey. This way, you can celebrate your milestones together.
Create a Reward System
Consider tracking your loved one’s progress and celebrating each milestone with a reward. Tracking systems can make positive habit formation feel like a game. Create a bulletin board where you can check off daily victories. When he or she meets specific milestones, such as two weeks without a cigarette or three weeks of regular exercise, give your loved one a reward. Rewards should be senior-specific, and options range from manicures to trips to a favorite golf course.
A professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of information and encouragement as your loved one adopts new healthy habits. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust Pembroke Pines elder care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (954) 374-8273.