Caring For an Aging Parent? What You Need to Know to Help Them Stay Active and Independent As They Age

People everywhere are living longer (and stronger) than ever before. And, Canadians are no longer content letting age dictate what they can and cannot do.

Older woman stretches on field with granddaughter

For the first time in Canadian history, there are more of us over the age of 65 than there are under the age of 15

Along with this aging population comes another important demographic shift – more and more of us will become caregivers to our aging parents. Already one in five Canadians are caregivers to an aging loved one – that’s six million people.

But there’s one distinct difference between our parents’ generation and the one that came before them. Canadians today are no longer content with letting age dictate what they can and cannot do. Aging Canadians want to be proactive about their lives and their health. They want to keep active, try new things and stay independent.

And, as caregivers, we can help them do just that. The reality is we can’t stop our loved ones from aging, but we can help them stay physically active, which is an important part of maintaining a good quality of life as we age. Here are three simple tips to help aging Canadians maintain their independence for as long as possible.

Get Active: Why It Matters

No matter your age, health or physical ability, there are numerous benefits to staying active. Exercise and physical activity are crucial for maintaining balance and reducing the likelihood of falls and injuries. It may not seem important, but even small changes to a loved ones’ routine can go a long way toward maintaining their independence in the years to come. Physical activity is also proven to help prevent illnesses like heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes and many cancers.

Every Step Counts

As a rule of thumb, encourage your loved one to choose to walk at every opportunity. Even simple things, like taking the stairs instead of the escalator, can make a big difference. It can seem daunting, but every step counts. Encourage your loved one to do two and a half hours of physical activity each week. If they’re having difficulty reaching the recommended target, they can start with 10-minute sessions and add on a few minutes every time. If you’re helping a loved one make a schedule, start with exercise they already enjoy, like swimming or bicycling. Group activities like walking, jogging and spin class are great ways to hold them to a commitment with friends or instructors.

Where To Get Extra Help If Needed

Thankfully, there are also many resources available to help caregivers and their aging parents on the quest for active aging. For instance, to help Canadians take charge of the way they age, Shoppers Drug Mart recently launched a new resource — wellwise.ca.

Wellwise.ca is designed for people at every stage of their lives. The focus is on wellness not illness, and visitors to the website can find everything from sleep therapy and physiotherapy products through to supports and braces, mobility products and tools and gadgets to help Canadians stay active.

And, an added benefit to wellwise.ca is that caregivers who don’t live in the same city or town as their loved one can now order online and have products delivered directly to their loved one’s door.
For those living in Toronto, Shoppers Drug Mart also opened a pilot store — Wellwise™ — that features a similar product selection to the website, as well as expert staff who provide specialized services like professional fitters for compression products and supports and braces, sleep therapy consultations, and an on-site dietitian.

At Wellwise, people can find the gear they need for their travel retreats or mobility products to help them stay active longer. No matter what stage people are at, Wellwise is an important resource for Canadians looking to take control of how they age.

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