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EllaCoaxing An Aging Parent To Exercise

Ella Traver | ElderThink | 02.07.11


The easiest way to help an elderly parent to exercise is to encourage her to do her own housework every day, get her own mail, and go to the grocery store herself.


Sometimes we take too much care of our parents as they age. Letting go a little and helping them help themselves is the best thing to do.


You may have to go along with her to the grocery or the post office, but my goodness, you were doing it for her anyway. Take a step back and let her reach for that cereal box.


If she has become a real couch potato, then ask her advice. Say, "I've forgotten how you had this cupboard organized. Can you come help me?"


Once you've got her moving some, get her a good-natured dog. That should do it.



Senior Hypertension



Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) in Elders

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is especially common in the elderly. It can damage the heart and other organs and increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.


Until recently, the medical community believed that a certain degree of high blood pressure is normal to the aging process. Now we know differently. High blood pressure in anyone is dangerous.


High Blood Pressure Can Weaken Arteries

Like the house that Jack built, if the force on your arteries is too high, it creates microscopic tears in the artery walls. Those little tears then form scar tissue. The scar tissue provides a lodging place for bits fat and cholesterol. The bits of fat and cholesterol bind together to form plaque. The plaque builds up just like it does on your teeth, and the inside of your arteries becomes narrower. Less blood can flow through narrowed arteries and your organs suffer because they aren't getting enough blood. In addition, slower moving blood can clot which can completely block the blood supply to parts of your body (like your heart or your brain!)


Know Your Blood Pressure Levels

This is about you and the rest of your life. It's definitely not about your nagging spouse or the worried look on the nurse's face when she takes your blood pressure in the doctor's office. It's your body and what's going on inside it is under your control.


Your doctor may give you some medications to lower your blood pressure or control your cholesterol, but is just isn't right to depend on meds for a solution. You need to limit your alcohol consumption if you drink, stop smoking if you smoke, get at least six hours of huff and puff exercise a week, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.


If you have pain or other limitations in your body that makes it difficult to exercise then ask your doctor for a prescription to see a physical therapist. You will be amazed at how much exercise you can actually do, and you will also learn how to care for painful joints or other problems. A long healthy life for you depends on this. Don't wait.