June is Men’s Health Month, a month to bring awareness of preventable health issues and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases in men. Does this sound like your dad or husband? “I’m fine, I don’t need help from any one. I took care of the family for 67 years, I think I can take care of myself.” Your dad has always been the provider for your family, so why should he take the time to care for himself? He doesn’t believe in going to the doctor or asking for help. No matter how many times you offer to give him a ride or go along with him to his appointments – he simply won’t go. Having your dad be resistive to the idea of going to the doctor for a regular check up can leave you feeling defeated.
While your dad might think he doesn’t need a doctor to tell him what kind of medical conditions he may or may not have, he might be mistaken. Taking a proactive approach to his health can help prevent unwanted health issues many men are faced with or help in early detection of often treatable illnesses. Men in America today are faced with chronic health concerns such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and high cholesterol, potentially leading to a shortened life. How can you help your dad be aware of these health issues and stay ahead of it? Here are five simple tips to share with him.
- Staying Active
Your dad should keep his body moving by finding an activity he enjoys. Whether it’s walking, pickle ball, or gardening – choose something that will keep him motivated. Staying active will help his overall health and well-being by helping to reduce blood pressure, relieving stress and boost his mood. Being active though doesn’t mean he needs to run and work up a big sweat. Incorporating different non-strenuous activities throughout his day will also make a big impact.
- Be Social with Others
Socializing with others can keep aging adults young at heart and mentally sharp. Encourage your dad to participate in activities in his community, go out for a cup of coffee together or put a puzzle together to keep his brain sharp. If he lives alone, make it a point to visit him often or reach out to other friends and family to take him out and visit.
- Prevent Health Issues and Injuries
There are many health issues that men can prevent by going to an annual doctor visit and getting screened. Men are usually screened for blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, prostate health and more. Encourage your dad to schedule an appointment with his doctor. He should also get regular checkups for his teeth, eyes and hearing. If he’s hesitant about going, offer to drive him or go along with him. Be supportive and patient with his hesitations.
- Eat a Healthier Diet
If your dad is living off frozen microwave meals and bags of chips, it might be time to help him by cleaning up his diet. Talk with him about incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy into his daily diet. Take him grocery shopping a few times to show him what to buy. Help prepare a few meals and show him how feasible eating real foods can be.
- Get Enough Sleep
As your dad gets older, he can suffer from sleep insomnia, daytime sleepiness or wake up several times during the night which leads to him not getting the proper amount of sleep. Getting enough sleep is essential to keeping his body healthy and energized throughout the day. You can suggest these ways for him to get enough sleep.
- Keep artificial lights to a minimum. Turn off the TV or smartphone at least an hour before going to bed.
- Have a regularly scheduled bed time. He might not be able to go to sleep every night at 9 pm but have him try his best to keep on a consistent schedule.
Men’s health awareness and education may only be highlighted in June, but it’s important to keep the conversation going. Help your dad keep up with his annual doctor visits and prevention screenings by talking with him each time you see him. You don’t have to “nag” him about scheduling his appointment, but remind him you care about his health and want to see him age well.
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