Supporting A Loved One Trying To Get Healthier
August 28, 2019
Laura Lee

After my grandfather died almost a year ago, my grandma has been talking with me about her desire to be healthier. Because she failed to maintain a healthy lifestyle for many years, my grandma can not walk long distances and has to use canes. That is why it was a surprising and blessed decision on my grandmother’s part, and I was more than happy to help her. However, as I have come to learn, there is a wrong way to approach this.

See, I was very eager to help my grandmother. Maybe too eager. I told her to read this, eat that, practice this, exercise there. I tried to give her advice based on my own experience. See, I think that we want the peoples we cherish and love to live a long and healthy life. So, when they come for us for help, we sometimes can be a little to enthused. What I have learned is that telling my grandma what she should do wasn’t the right way to go.

Instead, I should be encouraging and supporting my grandmother as she navigates this journey herself. I need to see my grandmother’s motive that made her come to this decision instead of what I believe it to be. Once I understood where she was coming from, it was easier or me to understand her decision and what she needs. My idea of health may be different from the one my grandma has. I needed to understand what getting healthier means to her, as it was her decision.

Once I did that, my grandma and I sat and established a plan and goals for her process. As I truly wanted to help, I asked her where can I fit in her plan. I asked her what does she need from me to make this happen. We agreed that I will be assisting her with making the food from the menu a dietitian has built for her. I make sure not to act as the food police and we make sure that the goals are beyond weight loss. I make sure to compliment my grandmother regularly on the progress she has made and her decision, and again, don’t focus on her appearance.

What it comes down to is support. I needed to support my grandmother in her decision. I didn’t need to take the reins but offer my assistance and encouragement. I am sure there are others out there who are also in a similar situation. Whether with a family meme we, partner or close friends, I hope my experience can help you.

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