Finding ways to stay healthy is important for everyone, which is why so many Americans resolve to improve their physical and mental health every January. While actually sticking to this resolution is no small feat for anyone, it can be especially challenging for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDDs). This means that the parents and caregivers of these adults may also need a fresh approach to encouraging healthy habits in their loved ones—and themselves.
Fortunately, there are many fun ways that caregivers can help family members with disabilities to live healthier lives in the new year. Here are a few ideas to consider:
Exercise. Regular exercise is essential for both physical and mental health. There are many different types of exercise that can be readily adapted for individuals with IDDs, such as swimming, yoga, dancing, hiking, rowing, or adaptive sports like wheelchair basketball. Burning those calories can be made more fun—and fitness hopefuls can be kept more accountable—if your loved one participates in a fitness class, partners with a workout buddy, or plays games that require some physical exertion.
Healthy Eating. Encourage your loved one to try new healthy foods and to help with meal preparation. Teach them about the food pyramid and involve them in meal planning and cooking. Avoid using food as a reward, and encourage healthy snacking on low-salt, low-sugar foods like nuts, raw vegetables, fruit, and yogurt.
Socializing. Staying socially active is key to mental and emotional well-being. Look for a club or class centered around your loved one's interests to help them meet new people, both with IDDs and without. Consider virtual socializing resources to help your family member expand their options.
Self-Care. Encourage your loved one to engage in activities that they enjoy and that help them to feel good about themselves, such as reading, listening to music, or spending time in nature. Consider helping them to explore new interests and forms of spirituality.
Enjoy a Healthier Life With Progressive Lifestyles
Progressive Lifestyles, Inc. is dedicated to providing innovative support services for people with disabilities. Our mission is to provide supportive and caring residential opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Oakland County, Michigan.
A primary focus of our organization is to interact with the individuals we support through the “Culture of Gentleness” model. We seek to create a positive environment to help them feel safe and valued while maximizing praise, limiting demands, maintaining consistent structure, and reducing stress during transitions.
We are hiring! No experience? No worries! You bring a warm heart and we'll teach you how to be a fantastic caregiver plus give you skills that you can use to further your career. Apply now!