How do I encourage my father without being a nag?

2 answers | Last updated: May 07, 2012
A fellow caregiver asked...

How do I encourage my father to exercise more, eat better, etc. without ending up feeling like I'm nagging all the time? Is it better just to let him be so we can enjoy the brief remaining time we have together?


Expert Answers

Of course you want your father to eat right and get regular exercise; you love him and want him to be healthy, and to live as long as possible.  But while it's great to offer an encouraging word once in awhile, there's a fine line between encouraging and nagging. Besides, it sounds like he's not listening, so what's the point? 

You'll probably have better luck if you encourage your father by inviting him to join you on regular walks, and by dropping by with  nutritious meals, or a shopping bag full of tasty, healthy snacks. If he's eating poorly and not exercising because he's lonely or down, your companionship and cooking may persuade him to adopt better habits.


Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

Our Aunt is 93 with bottom stage 7 of dementia.
I find the best wat make her eat dinner is to put on a TV Show she can look at, put up a tray and say: "You need to to eat this, and then leave the room."

Every so often check to se they are holding their plate, eating, and swallowing. Offer water or lemonaide, but not to much.
After about 10/15 minutes of you observing them take the meal away, readjust it, and micro for about 20 seconds. Put back on their tray and tell them you are not saving their dinner.

Old people do not like to waste food. The less audience they receive, the better they seem to eat. I hope this doesn't sound too mean, but it works, and she does usually eat her dinner.