I always say, “You get old when you stop going for it no matter what your age.” I have sometimes seen 25 year olds have less energy and drive than some 80 year olds. In fact, just recently I saw a popular video of an 87 year old woman who did a mean SALSA. Don’t you want that kind of energy, sassiness, and exuberance at that age? I sure do!

My mother, who is 88, is recuperating after taking a fall in her living room just a few days ago. Unfortunately, she fell on her good knee. My mother has always taken great pride in a clean and organized house. I guess it’s her German upbringing. Well, she was watching TV (probably watching her favorite American Idol from last season, David Archeletta) and noticed a flower petal lying on the floor (where it should not be, in her mind). She leaned over to pick it up and subsequently disconnected from her walker and fell. She had been bound and determined to get that petal and put it in its proper place. She fell and hurt herself considerably. Thank goodness, nothing is broken.

I love my mother dearly. She’s a delight. When I visit her in Vancouver, we spend hours reminiscing and laughing about funny things. Sometimes like two schoolgirls. It’s great to feel so connected to her and I make a point of visiting her often, and calling her almost every Sunday. How about you? How are you staying connected to your mother and your aging parents? Here are five ways you can help them live a healthier, more energetic, and vital life.

  • Having a healthy, fresh, and light diet is always necessary. Even though your parents and aging loved ones may find it difficult to eat certain foods that require a lot of chewing or biting, there are many sources of protein that are easier for them to breakdown and enjoy. Foods like cheese, eggs, ground turkey, chicken, or beef for example. It’s always a good idea for them to eat their heaviest meal at noon. Actually, a good idea for almost everyone, really. This provides adequate time in the day to digest food before they head off to bed for their night’s beauty rest.
  • Exercise is good for everyone and when one is older, do not overlook it. Whether your loved one is chair bound, arthritic, or facing other physical challenges, a little movement is vital. I’m proud to say my elderly mother still does her daily stretching every morning. I encourage her to learn a few new stretches or exercises every time I visit her—it’s a fun thing we do together.
  • As your parents age, their systems often get sluggish and healthy elimination may become a problem for them. Their dietary choices may not be the only cause of this problem. Medications could also be a culprit. Having them take a supplement to help bowels move regularly is essential. An herbal formula called Triphala works very well for balancing the bowels, or simply have them take 500-1000 mgs of Magnesium at bedtime. You could suggest they try adding more fiber into their diet as well. Such as adding bran or a fiber supplement.
  • Wonderful new research in the neuro-sciences is discovering the human brain actually expands as we age and not the reverse, as we were once led to believe. Just think what we could accomplish with that piece of new knowledge. A chance to truly change the way we see the elderly and the way we in fact will age as well—it’s just extraordinary.
  • Finally, studies have been done on the longest lived population in the world in Okinawa, Japan. They attribute their healthy aging to their healthy diet, primarily from the sea, exercise like Tai Chi, good genes, and most important, their social connections with each other. Seems that staying connected is extremely vital to longevity. There are many elderly who live alone and could benefit from having more social connection. You could even try suggesting the new phenomenon of Internet Social Networking like Facebook and Twitter for those who are “computer-curious” and ready to go.

Again, "You get old when you stop going for it no matter what your age." So keep going for it and stay ACTIVE—physically, mentally, and spiritually.

(c) Monika Klein, B.S., C.N.

Author's Bio: 

Monika Klein, B.S., C.N. is an award winning clinical nutritionist and weight loss expert. Monika is the "Compassionate and Practical Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach." Her company, Coaching For Health, offers life transforming weight loss and wellness programs, classes and products throughout the world. To learn more about Monika’s services and programs, visit www.coachingforhealth.com.