When my senior dad was diagnosed in the early stages of his Parkinsons Disease, he had a choice. He could have let that diagnosis scare him into sitting in his comfy rocking chair and not exercising. After all, it was a terrifying diagnosis to us since we were so unfamiiiar with it. And each year, it got a bit harder for him to do the same things he'd done the year before. A friend of one of my family members decided to do just that and watched her health decline much more rapidly. My dad made a different choice, though. He decided to stay active as long as he could.
He kept walking, playing golf, swimming in the ocean when it was warm enough, and doing just what he'd been doing – even when it got tougher. As a result, he stayed very active for over 15 years before we really started seeing the disease make major inroads. Even then, it was another five years before he reached the end stage of his Parkinsons Disease. And through those last five years, he and my senior mom (and often I) headed for the mall most days to walk around it, dodging speeding strollers with a sweet smile, even when he had to switch to a rollator and later a wheelchair. His regular exercise turned out to be one of the best gifts he gave our Sandwich Generation family – both because it helped him physically AND because it was good mental brain food!
Now my senior mom stays busy with her gardening activities – both because she thoroughly enjoys them AND because she knows they help keep her aging senior citizens body more limber and flexible even if she doesn't always feel like it.
Yesterday, we stopped at Home Depot and she enjoyed picking out a hummingbird magazine and a garden design magazine that included fun ideas for one of her favorite things, a butterfly garden. She also picked out some flower seeds including a butterfly garden seed mixture, along with some Cosmos, Marigolds, and Zinnias. Lots of fun for my mom and lots of fun for the grandkids working on the various garden activities with her. Healthy exercise for the body and the brain AND sweet family memories for our Sandwich Generation family = Priceless! How about you? How do you and your senior parents stay healthily active? 🙂
P.S. Are you enjoying the Ultimate Blog Party 2012? Howdy! And if you're wondering what it's all about, or if it's of interest to all of us in the Sandwich Generation, you might enjoy reading SandwichINK For the Sandwich Generation Says WELCOME to the Ultimate Blog Party 2012, Blog Hopping Fun for the Sandwich Generation on A Pink Saturday at the Ultimate Blog Party, More Blog Hopping Fun for Sandwich Generation Caregivers at the Ultimate Blog Party. You'll get to meet fellow grandparents, caregivers AND members of the Sandwich Generation who are combining both. It's definitely been a lot of fun this week. Enjoy! 🙂