Caring for Your Aging Parents: 4 Tips on How You Can Help in Their Retirement and Beyond


Guest Post Author: Anne Harris |

The attitude we have towards our parents will no doubt change over the course of a lifetime. When we are in our twenties and thirties, we tend to discard most of the suggestions they make, trying to find the right path through life on our own. As our parents are growing older and we’re getting more mature, we realize that they’re not our enemies, but our greatest allies.

Retirement is a big change for older adults, which is why their children should help them adapt to this stage in their lives. Here are four ways we think will make your retired parents feel loved and appreciated.

1)    Gather family and relatives around them

In many societies in the West, we gather our dearest ones a few times a year. It’s either a religious festival or a birthday party for a family member. However, if your parents don’t live in a retirement home, but they’re on their own, they could struggle to maintain a lively social life.

Once they stop working, they meet fewer people than earlier, and the number of social contacts they have keeps dropping. Further, if they’re divorced or widowed, it’s highly likely they spend most of the day alone. The research conducted by Age UK has shown that only in the UK about 1.2 million elderly people are lonely.

If you see that your parents could belong to that group of people, commit some time to them and make them feel respected and needed. If you live near them, invite them over to your place for lunch from time to time. Also, gather some other relatives, as well, maybe even your parents’ peers. These occasions will rejuvenate their spirit more than you can imagine.

Still, if you live too far away from your folks to gather them so often, online calls can help you stay in touch with them. You can use Skype, What’s App, or any other similar solution to communicate with your parents.

2)    Inspire them to use tech solutions

My father was always against technology, but something changes inside him five years ago. He was 64 at the moment of that tech-inspired epiphany. A man who didn’t even want to switch on our satellite-TV receiver when were kids suddenly became interested in the Internet.

The only reason for this change was the fact that me and my brother started living a bit far away from him. When he realized that he can see us every day and even make a video call was enough for him to become an avid user or Skype. What’s more, he even reads the newspaper online now and uses YouTube to listen to music.

This is something you can do with your parents. If they’re not already familiar with online communication tools, show them how they can easily communicate with you using such tools.

Apart from that, your parents can also benefit from other tech solutions, as well. For instance, they can use smartphones to make videos and send them to you. Also, they can receive videos of you and your kids, as well as exchange photos with you. Making contact via Facebook with some friends they might have not heard from for ages is another great benefit of modern online tools.

Moreover, you can show your parents some brain-boosting online games, so that they keep their minds as fresh as possible.

By teaching your parents to use new technologies, you make them closer both to you and your kids. The greatest benefits are enhanced communication between you, no matter where you live, and a chance for them to improve their life in many different ways.

3)    Help them organize their time

Once you retire, you have more time than ever before. For some people, this isn’t a big deal. They make a bucket list and spend their time doing things from it.

However, a large number of people can’t establish a new efficient schedule for their retirement.

If you live with your parents or near them, it’s easier to ask them about their daily schedule and help them make one. For instance, you can take your kids and go with your parents to the park once a week. This is already a great routine they will be looking forward to.

Apart from that, check out if there are any physical activities close to your parents’ home which they could take part in. It goes without saying that regular workout helps older people improve their overall wellbeing. You can attend a few sessions with your mother and father, just to support them in their newly taken activity. It might sound a bit funny, but it will mean a lot to them.

On the other hand, if you live farther away from your folks, you can still support them to spend their time in the most efficient way. For instance, you can try to suggest them various things they can do, from physical activities to joining some local clubs of pensioners. Also, you can organize visits from a live-in care agency, to make sure your parents have everything they need at any single moment.

4)    Arrange travels and trips for them

While it’s not always possible to travel with your parents, especially if you have kids of your own, you can still do something for your old folks from time to time. For starters, you can invite them for one-day trips when you’re taking your kids out of town.

Spending a day in nature with their grandparents will be a great experience for your kids. Your parents, on the other side, will be delighted to feel the togetherness and respect you have for them.

Also, you can arrange travels for your parents to travel on their own. Many tourist agencies and resorts prepare great offers for retired people. Sometimes you can treat your parents to a nice weekend travel and some other times you can just find an appropriate travel package tour for their age and preferences. These travels will help your folks meet new people and see some destinations they’ve never had a chance to visit before.

Showing your parents that you care about them and treat them like true members of your family, you’ll make them feel loved and respected. So, be there for your parents, care about them, no matter where you live, and make their old age as pleasant as it gets.

About the Author

Anne Harris is an HR specialist working for eagerly shares her knowledge with her audience on various blogs. When she isn’t writing or attending wellness conferences, she likes to pack her rucksack and ride her day away on her bike or spend time with her friends.

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