How to Help Elderly Parents
Deal With Depression and Anxiety

As our parents age, they may experience more health problems, both physical and mental. Depression and anxiety are common mental health issues that can be especially difficult for the elderly. If you have elderly parents struggling with depression or anxiety, you can do a few things to help.

care for aging parents

You remember your parents are adults and you should treat them well. It's easy to want to baby them or try to take on too much, but this will only make things worse. Instead, talk with them about what they are going through and what kind of help they need.

Spend time with your parents as often as possible, even if it’s just for a short while. Spending quality time with your parents can help them feel more connected and less isolated.

Here are some ideas for spending time with your parents:

1. Take a walk together. Walking is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air and also an opportunity to chat and catch up.

walk with parents

2. Play cards or board games together. Playing games can be a fun way to pass the time and an excellent way to help keep your parents’ minds sharp.

3. Cook or bake together. Cooking or baking is an excellent way to bond while preparing a delicious meal or treat.

cook or bake with aging parents

4. Go through old photos together. Going through old photos is a sentimental activity that can help you learn more about your parents’ pasts.

5. Watch their favorite TV show or movie together. Watching their favorite TV shows can be an excellent way to relax and enjoy quality time together.

active senior parents

6. Encourage your parents to stay active. Physical activity can lift their mood and provide a sense of purpose.

   * Here are some ideas for helping your parents remain active: They may no longer do the things they love or even the things they need to do without help. But just because they’re getting older doesn’t mean they must give up on being active.

   * Take your parents for walks around the neighborhood. If they cannot walk long distances, consider getting a wheelchair or scooter.

seniors working in the garden

   * Sign your parents up for a senior exercise class at the local recreation center. Exercise classes will allow your parents to socialize and stay active simultaneously.

   * Encourage your parents to work in the garden. Even if they can’t do much physical activity, gardening is a relaxing and enjoyable way to stay active mentally and emotionally.

   * Help your parents with household chores. Something as simple as vacuuming or doing the dishes can be a good workout for them.

   * These are just a few ways to help your elderly parents stay active. The most important thing is to find something they enjoy and make it part of their routine. With your help, they can remain active and independent.

healthy senior snacks

7. Prepare healthy meals and snacks for your parents. As your parents age, their bodies change, affecting their nutritional needs.

   * Older adults may need more fiber to help with bowel regularity or more vitamin D to maintain bone health. Many seniors need help preparing meals or may need help accessing healthy food options.

   * If you have elderly parents, you can help them maintain their health by preparing healthy meals and snacks—balanced meals with lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

   * You can also include healthy snacks like yogurt, whole-grain crackers, or fruit cups. You can help your elderly parents stay nourished and independent by providing healthy food options.

   * Finally, encourage honest and open communication. Direct conversation is challenging, but you must let your parents know you’re there for them and willing to listen.

 If you take the time to support your elderly parents through their depression and anxiety, you can help make their golden years a little brighter.

Don't forget the Biblical admonition, In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’   Acts 20:35  

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