Do you feel like your elderly parents have unhealthy habits?

In this article, we will discuss how you can intervene as an adult child. To begin, we will discuss changing rolls.

As a child, your parents were the ones who steered you from bad habits into good ones. They likely insisted on eating well and playing outside. When you started dating, they also probably offered advice to help keep you safe. As the years progress, roles begin to change. Your parents start to rely on you more than you do them. In some instances, your parents may start developing habits that are less than healthy. It can impact their health and longevity in this world. To help them be and feel healthy for many years still to come, consider some of these tips on how to help them develop good and healthy habits.

At some point in your life, the child becomes the parent and the parent becomes the child. You can navigate this transition and ensure your parents are practicing healthy habits by following these tips.


1. The Talk

Like any good intervention, you should first sit down with your parent or parents. No one likes feeling confronted, so you should do what you can to make the environment comfortable and intimate. Phrase your wording to sound conversational rather than concerned. You’re concerned, certainly, but that can often make them feel like as though they’re in the wrong. While they most likely are, you’re going to find it far more difficult to reach them if they feel as though you’re being self-righteous because you’re in the right. Communicating with a parent can be difficult because they’re used to being in the role of knowing what is right and what is wrong.

The best way to reach someone is to make sure they don’t feel as though they’re in the wrong or feel as though they’re being confronted. A natural instinct is to become defensive and close off. As such, you can avoid this by approaching the subject casually and conversationally. Empathize instead of criticizing and make them feel they’re not as though they’re estranged, but rather, that you’re right there with them.

Essentially, talk with them openly and casually about their unhealthy habits.


2. Go Shopping With Them

If your parents’ nutrition has become a little questionable, one of the best ways that you can ensure they’re buying the food they need is to go shopping with them. In this way, you can directly help them avoid foods that aren’t good for their heart or bones. Instead, you should focus on food that is rich in fiber. The elderly frequently have problems with digestion. This is typically due to the fact that their fiber intake is reduced significantly as they become older. Fiber can be found aplenty in fruits and vegetables.

By shopping with your parents, you can steer them right to the produce section of the store and help them pick out fresh vegetables and fruits to eat each week. If they attempt to choose something that is a little less than healthy, you can gently dissuade their bad behavior. While they certainly can have one little snack or treat, you should monitor their shopping basket to ensure the items within it don’t encourage their bad habits.

Going shopping with your parents is also a great way to spend some time with them and make sure they’re receiving all the other items they need. If they’re low on bandaids, toothpaste, or other medical or health items, you can make sure they have what they need right then and there. If there is a regular gap in something they need, you can have that conversation with them to find out what is going on and why they’re either always low on that item or why don’t buy it regularly.


3. Exercise With Them

If you’re concerned about the health and fitness of your parents, then one of the best ways that you can intervene and get them moving again is to join them in their exercise. If your parents don’t exercise regularly, then they may feel as though it’s too late to get started. That isn’t the case. Even just walking can have great benefits for the body. Join them on those walks. You can be the key motivator to get them off of the couch and outside.

In fact, getting your parents outside is one of the best things you can do for them. Being outside has shown in many studies to improve one’s mood and overall feelings of happiness. Taking a walk outside can improve the mood of your parents and help them start to improve their level of fitness. From walking, you can push them into power walking, and then into aerobics and other exercises that have a low impact on the body but continue to improve their state of cardio and endurance.

By exercising with them, you not only motivate them, but it also ensures that they’re actually performing the exercise instead of saying that they are and actually staying at home. You’ll benefit from exercise, too. You can make fitness goals together and keep each other motivated and determined to reach those goals.

Finally, exercising with them is another great way to connect with your parents and nurture the bond that exists between you. It can sometimes be difficult to exercise older adults when they’re not motivated or don’t feel that they have the energy to do so. However, with you right there beside them, you can help them off-set Alzheimer’s disease and other diseases by working out with them.


4. Do Puzzles With Them

Besides just their physical health, you should also take their mental health into consideration. Long term care should always involve some form of activity or exercise that improves their mental health and fortitude. One disease that threatens the elderly is Alzheimer’s disease. This terrible condition can cause a lot of emotional distress for everyone involved. One method of long term care is to regularly do puzzles.

If all your parents do is watch television, then that’s bad behavior. It isn’t aiding their mental capacity in the slightest. They require puzzles and activities that stimulate their mind. Since puzzles aren’t everyone’s favorite past time, you can make sure your parents test their mind regularly by sitting with them and doing puzzles. Whether it’s an actual puzzle or a game that requires a good deal of thinking, by performing it with them, you make the exercise a lot more fun than if they were doing it alone. Just like exercise older adults, by making the activity social, it becomes more fun.


5. Support Groups

Sometimes the best decision you can make to intervene between your parents and their unhealthy habits is to take yourself out of the equation entirely. Some parents just don’t respond well to the advice given to them by their children. As such, you should turn to support groups. Whatever their unhealthy habit may be, you can likely find a support group for it. By being with their peers, they may feel a little bit more comfortable about addressing their problems and seeking help to rectify them.

The most you can do in this regard is to ensure that they continue to meet with their support group. Driving them there and back home can be a great way to do this. While you can ask them about the group, it is likely best that you remain separate from it. Instead, just continue to show them support at home.


At some point in your life, the child becomes the parent and the parent becomes the child. You can navigate this transition and ensure your parents are practicing healthy habits by following these tips.