It is human nature to put off the inevitable and take a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to necessary lifestyle changes. Everyone has started a diet on New Year’s Day only to find their hands reaching for a box of cookies and a bag of chips while perusing the grocery aisles a month later. Change can be difficult.
The Process of Change
Many are debunking the 21-day theory—that it takes 21 days to create a new habit and replace an old one. This theory began with the bestselling novel by Maxwell Maltz, Psycho-Cybernetics.
A study conducted at the University College of London decided to test the theory. 96 people chose one new habit to incorporate into their lives for a twelve-week period. The results showed that it took people, on average, more than two months for a new behavior to become automatic, and that number varied widely among participants.
Change and your Parent
Your parent has been doing what they’ve been doing for a long time – at least half of a century for some and nearing a century for others. That’s a lot of repetition. Wake up calls usually come in the form of a physical or mental decline. When it hits, you see the need for them to make immediate changes. They wonder why the rush.
After the Diagnosis
If your loved one has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, you know how important it is for them to make the necessary lifestyle changes that include both diet and exercise. You may have talked until you’re blue in the face, only to find a box of donuts in the cupboard and a soda in the fridge. You’ve listed the possible complications they could face if they don’t get their blood sugar under control: heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye damage, Alzheimer’s, and the list goes on.
How to Help
The Economic and Social Research Council reported findings on 129 different studies involving changing behavior. The results showed that the least effective strategies were trying to prompt change by instilling fear or regret. One way you can help your parent is to suggest little changes.
Make the changes specific and don’t throw too many of them at one time. For instance, if they need to lose weight, get them a few plates that are smaller in size and suggest they fill half of them with fruits and vegetables at each meal. Accompany them on a daily walk, starting with just ten minutes and working up to 30. Change is a process—a journey with setbacks and renewals—but the end result is well worth the effort.
Home Care Provider
If your parent requires help with the daily activities of living or someone to help them prepare healthy meals and accompany them on walks, consider obtaining the services of a home care provider. If you or an aging loved one are considering in-home care in Richardson, TX, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands of Preston Hollow today at (214) 865-7870.
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