10 Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day by Supporting Your Mom's HealthMay 14, 2023
Mother's Day is a special occasion to honor and appreciate the incredible women who have played an essential role in our lives. Mother's Day, a global celebration honoring motherhood, provides us with a unique opportunity to show appreciation for our mothers. This year, instead of traditional gifts or flowers, why not focus on your mother's well-being? Give her the precious gift of health!
By taking proactive steps to support her health, you can ensure that she remains strong, happy, and vibrant for years to come. In this blog post, we will explore ten practical ways to help your mother stay healthy, providing a truly meaningful Mother's Day gift. Consider this to be a guide you can use throughout the year to help your mom stay healthy, ensuring many more Mother's Day celebrations together.
Promote Nutritious Eating Habits
A well-balanced diet is fundamental to overall health. The first step is understanding the importance of a balanced diet. According to the American Heart Association, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy can help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes (1). Encourage your mom to make healthier food choices, and maybe even cook a nutritious meal together on Mother's Day. Consider offering to prepare healthy meals or assist your mother in meal planning. Encourage her to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in her daily diet. Consider gifting her a cookbook with nutritious recipes that she can enjoy.
Encourage Regular Exercise
Physical activity is just as crucial as a balanced diet. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (where I worked from 1994–1999) and other organizations recommend that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, alongside muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week (2). Encourage your mom to stay active, whether that be through walking, yoga, or gardening, swimming, or dancing among others. You could even set up regular exercise sessions together, making this a bonding experience. You can also suggest and support her by joining her for a workout session or participating in a mother-child fitness class. Exercising together not only promotes physical health but also strengthens your bond.
Go With Mom to Visit Her Local Seniors Center to Find New Experiences
Many cities, towns, and counties have senior centers that provide a variety of activities, classes or social programs that enable your mom to learn new skills, identify ways she can prevent the negative effects of aging, and move a bit outside her comfort zone to adapt as she ages. These centers often offer classes in art (e.g., painting), trips to local cultural institutions (e.g., museums), and even classes in stretching or flexibility that will also be part of a wonderful, low-impact exercise program as she ages. As we get older, activity is crucial to preventing falls, or weakness that can be brought on by a variety of conditions (e.g., diabetes or sarcopenia). See one of my prior blogs on sarcopenia to learn more about how she can prevent this condition.
Prioritize Mental Well-being
Mental health is absolutely crucial as we age and may be the number one challenge for many older adults. Take time to discuss your mother's emotional well-being. The World Health Organization states that mental health is not merely the absence of mental disorders but includes well-being, self-realization, and the ability to handle stress (3). Encourage open conversations about mental health with your mom, and make sure she knows it's okay to seek help if she's feeling overwhelmed or stressed. You can encourage her to engage in activities that reduce stress, such as practicing mindfulness or pursuing hobbies she enjoys. Offer to accompany her to a meditation or yoga class. If needed, help her find professional support through therapy or counseling services.
Schedule and Attend Regular Check-ups with Mom
Ensure your mother prioritizes her health by scheduling regular check-ups with her healthcare provider. Encourage her to get routine screenings, such as mammograms, pap smears, and bone density tests, as recommended by her doctor. Regular health check-ups can catch potential health issues early, increasing the chances of effective treatment. According to the American Cancer Society, women should start having mammograms at the age 40 years and every other year after that. Those aged 45 years should have a colonoscopy every ten years (4).
Encouraging your mom to keep up with her health check-ups and offer to accompany her to these appointments. If you can, check your schedule so you can put her appointments on your calendar and be there when she goes to the doctor—its a great moral support and you can take notes for her at the same time to make sure doctors and healthcare providers address any concerns she may have.
Support Healthy Sleeping Habits
Proper rest is a key component of overall health. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night (5). Encourage your mom to prioritize sleep, develop a regular sleep routine, and perhaps invest in items that can improve her sleep quality, such as blackout curtains or a new, relaxation sound machine, or a comfortable pillow. You can help her create a peaceful sleep environment by minimizing noise and distractions.
Encourage Regular Social Interaction
Social connections are vital for overall health. Support your mother's social well-being by encouraging regular interaction with family and friends. A study published in PLoS Medicine found that strong social relationships can increase longevity (6). Encourage your mom to maintain her friendships and social activities. Perhaps arrange a Mother's Day get-together with her close friends or schedule regular family gatherings. You can also consider planning outings, gatherings, or virtual meetings to help her stay connected. Social engagement contributes to mental stimulation, happiness, and a sense of belonging.
Proper hydration is often overlooked but is essential for maintaining good health (7). Encourage your mother to drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day. Help her develop a habit of carrying a water bottle and offer refreshing infused water options with slices of fruits or herbs.
Help Her Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of various health conditions. Offer to join your mother in adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and nutritious eating habits (8). Engage in physical activities together and prepare healthy meals as a team. This shared effort will make the process more enjoyable and successful. This is a topic you can also have discussions about throughout the year. Her doctor or other healthcare provider can help her connect with a dietician or nutritionist to identify opportunities in her daily life to help her maintain a healthy weight.
Express Gratitude and Love
Lastly, on this special day, express your gratitude and love for your mother. Tell her how much she means to you and how her well-being is important to you (9). Remind her that supporting her health is a reflection of the love and care she has provided throughout your life. Let her know that by helping her stay healthy, you want to ensure she enjoys a long and fulfilling life.
Mother's Day is a fantastic occasion to show your mom how much you care about her well-being. By promoting a balanced diet, regular physical activity, mental health awareness, routine health check-ups, adequate sleep, and strong social connections, you can play a crucial role in helping your mom stay healthy. This Mother's Day, give your mom the gift of health and show her that her well-being matters to you just as much as she does to you.
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (n.d.). The Nutrition Source. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2021). Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389
- National Institute of Mental Health. (2020). 5 Things You Should Know About Stress. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml
- American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/screening/american-cancer-society-guidelines-for-the-early-detection-of-cancer.html
- National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). Sleep Hygiene. Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/sleep-hygiene
- Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB (2010) Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. PLoS Med 7(7): e100031.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020). Water: How much should you drink every day? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
- Gill LE, Bartels SJ, Batsis JA. Weight Management in Older Adults. Curr Obes Rep. 2015 Sep;4(3):379-88.
- Kahana E, Bhatta TR, Kahana B, Lekhak N. Loving Others: The Impact of Compassionate Love on Later-Life Psychological Well-being. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2021;76(2):391-402. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbaa188.