It’s all good and well figuring out what we need to be happy during our time on earth. But remember, life can’t always be all fun and games. We have responsibilities to our friends, family, and wider society. Take your parents, for example. While they’ll be proud of the life that you’re building, keep in mind that they’re not in the ‘adventure’ part of their life, and, as they get older, they’re going to need more from you – even if they’ll never come out and say it explicitly. Below, we take a look at some ways that you can ensure your parents are enjoying their life in their golden years.
Involved In Your Life
Now, we know: it can be difficult managing our own life with so much going on – it can feel outright impossible to remember to bring someone else in! But when it comes to your parents, that’s just what you need to do. While you’re off having fun, they’re left behind, reminiscing about days gone by. It takes very little for them to feel included in what’s going on in your world. It can be a matter of inviting them to your special moments, or just keeping them abreast of everything that’s going on. Nobody wants to feel left behind in life, including your parents.
Encouraging Them To Get Out and About
It’s all too easy for elderly people to get stuck in a cycle of staying indoors, watching television, and all-around avoiding the natural air and social aspects they need to feel their best. Their bodies are beginning to betray them, and, when that happens, it can be a slow but inevitable process towards staying indoors. But they might not be so committed to this way of life. They might just need a nudge in the right direction! You can help by inviting them to go to events, out for dinner, or even just an afternoon coffee, as well as finding spaces where they can meet with other people of a similar age. Staying up, active, and engaged with the community is an important aspect of remaining happy into old age – don’t underestimate it!
Helping Out Where You Can
You’re young and able; your parents are old, and not always able. So help them out! It can be a simple matter of offering to do their shopping for them, helping to keep their home tidy, or anything else. Of course, don’t take on every burden – older people, like everyone, value their autonomy, and they don’t want their hand to be held by their own child. But if you can spot ways to help them without being intrusive, then go ahead and do it.
While you’ll be able to help out with the small-scale issues, there may come a time when the problem is slightly bigger than something you can handle on your own. If you notice that your parents may need long term care, then look at moving them out of their usual home and into assisted living accommodations. Some older people can resist this idea, so make sure you’re broaching the subject with sensitivity and care; eventually, they’ll come to see that it’s not only an option, but the best option available to them.
For some older people, especially those who have lost their partner, the issue isn’t physical – it’s that they’re lonely. Because they don’t get out of the house as often as they used to, and they’re not clued up on how to use technology to keep in touch with people, they can go days without speaking to another soul. If you ask them if they’re feeling lonely, they’re unlikely just to come out and tell you. Instead, inquire if they’ve had interesting conversations recently, who they’ve spent time with, and so on. If they’re clearly suffering from loneliness, encourage them to meet with similarly aged people – all communities have places where older people can go to meet.
Fighting Their Stubbornness
But to get to that stage, you might have to combat one of the universal complaints about older people – they’re stubborn! They’re set in their ways, and don’t like to be told what to do by people younger than they are. Which is fair enough! ‘Instead of delivering a lecture about how right you are and how wrong they are, present your suggestions as just that – a suggestion. It’s much easier to get people to walk along a path themselves rather than drag them along.
Travel Home For Holidays
The world’s a big and beautiful place, and you’re probably intent on seeing a lot of it. While it can be fun to see how they do things in different parts of the world during holiday celebrations, these are times when it’s best to be with family. Wherever you are, try to find the time and money to go home to be with your parents during Christmas and other big events.
Take a Trip with Them
Wouldn’t it be nice to share something you love to do with your parents? Well, maybe you can. The next time you’re thinking of things to do with your parents, why not consider taking a trip? Travelling is not only for the young and vibrant. OK, so you probably won’t be hitchhiking and staying in hostels, but travelling with your parents is one of life’s joys. Even better if it’s somewhere they used to live/visit often but haven’t been in years.
Calling for a Chat
Of course, not everything with your parents has to be so grand. There is power in technology that now seems pretty dated: the tried and tested phone call! Give them a call when you’re on your way back from work, not to talk about anything important, but just to have a conversation. They’ll enjoy it, and of course, you will too!
Our parents did a lot for us. We’ll never be able to pay them back properly, but ensuring they have an enjoyable retirement is a start!