It’s never too late to learn good health habits to help mom stay healthy and happy. Eating right & light exercise can even make a difference to seniors who haven’t made their health a priority in the past. It’s the start of a new year and maybe that has you thinking it’s time be healthier. Or maybe you had an injury and out of necessity you’re trying to live healthier. Whatever the reason, read on for some ideas that can help mom stay healthy and happy!

If your mom takes multiple medications you should discuss them together with her physician, especially if the doctor is changing prescriptions. Ask questions about possible drug interactions and how the new drug(s) might affect her. When she starts taking any new meds it’s a good idea to pay attention to any new symptoms (drowsiness, loss of appetite and others) she exhibits.

It’s important that your mom be alert as possible. Some meds may cloud her mind or make her dizzy and this could lead to an accident or fall. Keeping your mom’s mind alert, or “In The Game”, “In the Moment” is so important to help mom stay healthy and happy. According the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation, seniors can stimulate their minds by doing crossword puzzles, playing games, reading or writing. Simple activities like these can alleviate a decline in mental health and keep her mind sharp. This will help mom engage more with the world around her.

Exercise not only increases energy but improves memory and alleviates depression. Short strolls, long walks or a senior exercise program will help mom stay healthy and happy. Did you know that only a quarter of seniors aged 65-74 exercise regularly? Crazy right? Especially when regular exercise can reduce the risks of falls, strokes, dementia and heart attacks. If your mom doesn’t currently do any exercising the key here is to start off slow with simple easy-to-do exercises like standing up and moving her arms up and down and all around. Then work your way to walking or using resistance bands for increasing mom’s heart rate.

Eating the right foods will help mom stay healthy and happy

The digestive system tends to slow down with age, so high-fiber fruits, vegetables and whole grains are important to include in moms diet. Seniors can lose their appetite as they age so you’ll need to make sure mom gets enough calories and nutrients to maintain healthy organs, muscles, and bones. And like exercise, if mom doesn’t eat the best foods now, you can help her by changing her bad foods slowly, one at a time over the course of weeks or months. If she is too stubborn or independent and wants her bad food, then you can either reduce the amount of the bad food you serve her or dilute the bad foods/drinks if possible.

Helping mom stay healthy and happy also helps you and your children to be able to spend more quality time with her in her own environment and not the hospital.