How to Help Parents with Common Aging Fears

How to Help Parents with Common Aging Fears

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 



In youth, you can’t wait to get older — to get your driver’s license, to vote, to move out and get the independence you’ve longed for. But somewhere along the way, getting older becomes scary. Chances are your parents are dealing with this now. Whether they’ve talked about it or not, you can be sure they’re concerned about the future. So what can you do? Learn what they fear and the best ways to help, right here:

Most Common Aging Fears

We’re living longer than ever today, and that’s a great thing! But is also comes with some legitimate fears. The most common ones for seniors include:

  • Loss of independence 
  • Declining health, particularly memory
  • Running out of money
  • Having to leave home
  • Losing loved ones
  • Having to depend on others, especially strangers 
  • Not being able to drive anymore
  • Being isolated and lonely
  • Falling or becoming incapacitated

Easing Their Fears

The first thing you can do is to put yourself in their shoes. Realistically, you may very well be in those shoes at some point, so it’s important to take these fears to heart so you and your parent can openly discuss the future together.  

Additional ways to help include:

  • Show empathy and patience — This provides comfort by proving that you’re on their side and can even strengthen your relationship. 
  • Give them as much control as possible — Ask how you can help or offer options instead of making decisions for them.
  • Help with the budget — Money can be a sensitive topic, but reassuring them of their financial security through a budget is a great way to broach the subject.
  • Make safety improvements — Most falls at home can be prevented, so being proactive and removing tripping hazards, adding handrails or grab bars and improving lighting can go a long way.

If your parent’s health is declining or maintaining the house is becoming too much, it may be time for the support of senior living. There will likely be resistance to the idea, but again, involve them in the process, help them understand the positives — peace of mind, active lifestyle, social opportunities, worry-free living to name a few.  And give them time; that’s why preplanning is so important. Without a looming crisis your parent has more control to decide what they want and need in the future, and time to adjust to the prospect of moving.

Lastly, let them know you’ll be there. Whether your parent is at home or in senior living, reassure them your relationship won’t change. Make sure to also keep the conversations going so they feel comfortable sharing any worries that may arise.

When Worry Becomes More

When worry becomes so excessive that it begins to negatively affect daily life and/or health, it could be a sign of an anxiety disorder. It’s important to recognize the difference between common anxiety and an anxiety disorder, as The National Institutes of Health states the latter can affect up to 14 percent of people older than 65 years. 

If you suspect your parent may have an anxiety disorder, talk with their doctor. There are also lifestyle changes that may help with anxiety, including regular exercise, meditation, relaxation techniques, yoga and even diet changes such as staying hydrated, limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine as well as maintaining a balanced diet.

To learn more about senior living, check out our Family Decision Guide!

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