Habits that make being healthy more difficult for your elderly family member are likely habits you’ve been after her for years to change. But now might be the right time. If she’s talking about making some changes, try these ideas.
Get Educated about What’s Happening
One of the best things that you and your senior can do when she’s ready to start changing some of her habits is to take some time and learn more about those habits. This isn’t about scaring her or bringing her bad news. What it’s really about is helping her to navigate this change and to be prepared for whatever might happen.
Nagging Won’t Work
One tool you want to avoid completely is nagging. You might think that you’re reminding your senior what she wants to do or that you’re helping, but this is not as helpful as you might think. Remember how it feels when someone nags you and hold onto that feeling. Your senior is still an adult and can make her own decisions.
Don’t Be Judgmental, Either
Your senior might be choosing to nix a really difficult habit. Or one that is difficult for her. She might backslide or change her mind about this habit. Whatever else you do, try not to be judgmental about the entire situation. Like nagging, it’s not helpful and it can seriously damage your relationship with your elderly family member.
Replace Negative Habits with Positive Ones
Something that can help a lot is to help your senior to brainstorm healthy or positive habits that she can use to replace the one she’s trying to change. When she’s doing something else instead of the habit she’s trying to stop doing, that’s a lot easier than trying to just not do the “bad thing.” So, instead of snacking on junk foods, she might decide to journal about whether she’s hungry or not. Then, if she is hungry, she can use a list of healthier snacks than what she used to reach for.
Homecare Services Can Be a Huge Help
It’s tough to break unhealthy habits. Homecare providers can help your senior by supporting her in finding alternative “good habits” and they can remind her when she’s straying from the routines she’s trying to put in place. Homecare providers can also help by doing things like handling the cooking for her or driving her to exercise classes.
It’s not easy to ditch bad habits, but it can be done, even when someone is older. Your elderly family member doesn’t have to change some of her unhealthy habits, but if she’s choosing to do so, find ways to support her.