Guest Post Author: Kristen Heller
As we grow older, we realize that our parents need our attention now more than ever before. Forget about your teenage years when everything they did seemed to annoy you, and you couldn’t wait to finish high school and move out on your own. As it turns out, you also got to grow up and with it came some wisdom. You realize just how important it is to have a relationship with your parents.
What our aging parents need most from us is our time. It does not matter how many expensive gifts you have delivered to your parent’s doorstep or how many cards you send to their mailbox; what they need most is your presence. Sending a card on a birthday or mother`s day is great, but it would lighten up their hearts more if you were there to celebrate with them.
Not all family members have maintained a relationship throughout life. The idea of starting a relationship with your parents now that they are in need of care may feel overwhelming and maybe even impossible. But, it is never too late to begin forming a bond. Here are a few reasons why spending quality time with your folks is an incredible experience and fun ideas to get you started.
Make up for Lost Time
If either of your parents weren’t around much when you were growing up, there’s no better way to make up for lost time than being there for them as they get older.
Spending time together now allows you to get to know each other more, and you start seeing them in a different light. There is still a lot that you can learn from your parents even once you are an adult, vital life skills that only a parent can share with their child.
By now they also know that there is no better time to pass on some of the things they have learned while growing up; some wisdom gained from their parents and others from experience. They went through tough times, and the wisdom they will share with you is to ensure you don’t have to go through it.
Mend Broken Relationships
Maybe you missed out on a lot of the parent-child relationship because you were hard-headed during your teens, and because you were always causing trouble your parents showed you some tough love. In return, you moved out from home early and what followed were years of little communication with your folks. Of course, there are times they would try to reach out, but your pride would often get the best of you. At times you would be overcome with guilt and wish things were much easier with your parents, but you didn’t even know where to start. In truth, there’s no better time to mend your relationship than now.
Reach out to them; don’t miss out on spending the last few years with your folks because of pride. Past mistakes cannot be undone, but you can patch things up. The time you spend with them will always be priceless, and your folks will get to spend their time knowing their child was there for them when they needed you most.
How to spend quality time with your aging parents
The first step is learning how to create time to spend with them, no matter how busy your schedule is. You do not have to turn up every day, but make an effort to see them every so often. If your parents have medical challenges, becoming their caregiver can ensure they are comfortable.
Below are a few fun things you can do while spending time with your aging parents:
– Start digging for long lost oldies that your parents loved listening to when you were young. It may take a lot of digging, but it will be worth it. Music speaks to the soul and helps us to reminisce certain periods of our life and what we were going through at that time, bringing feelings of nostalgia.
– Cooking- Show up at their place with ingredients and a recipe, ready to prepare them their favorite meal. Ask your mum or dad to join you in the kitchen and bond as you cook together.
– Hunting- If your dad has a thing for hunting, plan a weekend getaway out in the woods. Hunting is a great way to spend some quality time together.
– Fishing- do your folks love fishing? Hire a boat and go out fishing on the lake.
– Try outdoor trips, especially to places that your parents have always wanted to visit.
– Reading your favorite books, especially to parents with dementia-related ailments.
– Going through old photo albums with your parents, as you listen to the stories and memories behind each photo.
– Showing them new technology- your parents will always be awed by how far technology has come. Every time you introduce them to some innovation in technology, you will get to hear stories of how great things were back in the good old days.
– Keep active- for instance, a game of hoops, tennis or table tennis with your dad, or yoga with your mom. Exercising together can be a great way for both of you to keep in shape.
It’s Never Too Late
Spending time with family that you don’t have a good relationship with is hard, but that doesn’t mean its impossible. Many adult children will find themselves thrust back into their parents lives as they begin to require extra care. While overwhelming, there are plenty of good reasons why you should attempt to form a relationship with them. Using any of the fun activities above can be a great icebreaker for your developing relationships!
About the Author
Kristen Heller is a passionate writer, teacher, and mother to a wonderful son. When free time presents itself, you can find her tackling her lifelong goal of learning the piano. Kristen also volunteers time with Freedom Care.