Halfway through another hectic day, you realize you haven’t seen your folks in ages. Your to-do list is a mile long, and now you need to find time for that too. It might feel like a chore, but it’s important, for their well-being and yours, and with a little planning, spending time with your elderly parents can be fun!
It’s good for them and it’s good for you
Spending time with your elderly parents can greatly boost their health and give you some peace of mind. Keeping in touch over the phone is all good and well, but nothing beats a personal visit from a loved one.
Visiting your folks will give you an idea of how well they’re coping and if they need extra assistance. No-one likes admitting that they need help, and your parents may fear a loss of independence. If your parents are living in an assisted living facility, you’ll also get a chance to make sure they’re getting the best possible care.
A visit from you will also combat the feelings of loneliness and isolation that can lead to deteriorating mental and physical health. Your folks will feel connected and cared for which creates a sense of belonging that we all need, no matter our age.
Have some fun
Just because your parents are no longer as young and active as they used to be doesn’t mean they no longer want to have fun! Consider their interests as well as their physical and mental limitations to find an activity you can enjoy together. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Spend time in the kitchen
If you ever wanted to learn mom’s favourite recipe or dad’s secret kitchen hacks, there’s no time like the present. Bonding in the kitchen allows you to prepare some delicious and healthy meals they may no longer be able to make for themselves and experimenting with new recipes can diversify and improve their diet.
Board games can provide hours of fun. It’s ideal when mobility is an issue, and creates a fun way for your parents to stretch their mental muscles to plot a way to victory. Bingo, checkers, and rummy are old-time favourites, but if your folks are up for learning something new, take a look at online shops specializing in board games. It’s a popular genre with games to suit every age and interest.
If your parents are mobile and always loved the outdoors, take them to explore a local park or on an easy hike. Pack a basket and make a picnic of it – just remember to take some camping chairs so your parents don’t need to sit on the ground. If walking around would be too strenuous, move the picnic to the back yard and make some time for gardening. The fresh air and exercise will be good for everyone.
Take a walk down memory lane
Your parents have many stories to tell, and now that they’re retired and life has slowed down, they have the time to tell them. Scrapbooking, using old photos, is a great way to get the memories, and stories, flowing. Your folks had a long and fulfilling life and much wisdom to share. For parents with dementia, photos are a great tool to jog those memory muscles. Who knows, you might even learn some delightful family history to share with your own kids someday!
Spending time with your parents doesn’t need to be a monthly chore that fills you with dread. Find enjoyable activities to make every visit meaningful and create some lasting memories. In the end, it’s time well spent!