What is the key to a long and healthy life? I know what the experts say, and from personal experience I also know what works. Exercise and engaging in social activity are what works.
So many times, parents fight to hold on to the right to stay in their own homes, to be independent; that is a fine concept for some, but for others, it may not be the best choice. As they age, your parents will lose more of their friends to old age and illness. They can become isolated and depressed. Considering an active retirement community can offer them so much more if they are not inclined to go out and search out activity on their own.
I work with several seniors and the ones who have the highest quality of life are involved in group activities. My own mother chooses dancing to keep her young. She has bonded with a group of seniors who attend dances regularly at her local senior center in Vero Beach. They dance every Tuesday and Thursday, and because of the relationships they have built, that spills over into lunches and dinners at other times. She also swims regularly and practices Tai Chi in her own home.
I also work with seniors who do not regularly engage in outside activity and their quality of life is significantly poorer, so my main goal with them is to take them on walks, encourage them to attend group activities and get them out and about. It always, without fail, helps improve their mental health and quality of life.