Starting the Dialogue with your Aging Parents: Time Flies
Can You Believe it’s July 1st already? I can’t!
The year is half over. Did you make any New Year resolutions about incorporating changes within the relationship you have with your aging parents?
Maybe you decided you’d take some of the advice in this blog and “start the dialogue” with them about their health, their future plans, their finances, or what you can do to assist them with tasks that are no longer easy for them.
Possibly you made a resolution to have more contact with them by phone if you live quite a distance from them. The idea may have entered your head that you’d set up a weekly call time to see how they’re doing, ask if they are eating, check in on their health status, just chat about good times from the past or what’s happening now.
If you live close to your parents you might have committed to a weekly outing with them to assist with grocery shopping. Better yet, maybe you decided to have a date with them and do something fun such as catch a movie or take in a matinee concert.
So, the year is half over. It’s time to take stock of where you are with those resolutions.
In my experience your intentions were well placed, but that slip of paper on which you wrote the resolutions is folded somewhere on your desk or in a drawer. Maybe you started off the year with a bang and jumped right in, but as the months have passed things slacked off. Yes, the weather’s been crazy, the kids have been sick, the economy still isn’t fully recovered, the politicians continue to try to bamboozle us, and life goes on.
Despite all that it’s not too late.
The year may be half over, but it’s only half. There’s still another six months to finish out the year. Yes, they actually tend to be the busier months of the year, but pull out that resolution list. Your parents are worth the effort!
Here’s another idea–forget about resolutions and the time of year. Just make a list of things you’re going to do with your parents and start now. Soon, the time you spend with them will become a habit and then you won’t even have to think about it. Again, YOUR PARENTS ARE WORTH IT!
If you need some additional ideas here’s a few to get you started.
- Sign up for a yoga class with your mom and get stretching.
- Get in the groove of healthy eating by taking a cooking class with one or both of your parents (a healthy cooking class).
- Join a swim club. Who care what you look like, or what they look like. Get out there, enjoy the water and cool off during these hot days.
- Explore someplace locally you’ve never been. Learn about your local history, visit the local history museum or drive a gold rush trail.
What if you don’t live close to your parents? You can do similar things to the ones listed above, but they will have to do them in their location and you will do them in yours. Then you can compare and discuss during regular phone calls. This will give you something more to talk about than the usual questions about health issues or who’s obituary was in the paper this week.
- Sign up to take a yoga class and find a yoga class where your mom lives and get her to sign up too. You’ll develop an entirely new vocabulary and your husband and your dad will think you are nuts when they hear the one sided conversation about “downward dog” and “warrior poses”. It’ll be your secret with mom.
- Your parent goes to their cooking class on healthy side dishes and shares the recipes with you while you take a class in salads and green smoothies. You can share recipes online or over the phone and see how your spouses and families like the recipes. Better yet, you can put together a cookbook with comments and photos to give to other members of the family or friends for Christmas. Good times and shared memories will abound.
- You sign up at the local YMCA and use their outdoor pool for lap swimming in the early morning. Mom and dad take a water aerobics class together and meet new friends while getting some much needed exercise. They’ve made so many friends you can barely catch them at home for your Monday night phone calls since they are out socializing so much.
- While out exploring a scenic byway your parents discovered a beautiful bird sanctuary. They’ve taken up photography because they love sitting there and observing the birds that aren’t visible from their living room window. Now, instead of sitting in front of the TV they are out enjoying nature in all it’s glory. (Remind them to take along the bug spray (natural ingredients only 🙂 They’ve taken up photographing the birds and have bought books on the different birds in the area. Now your phone calls are full of details about bird life and you can hear the happiness becacuse once again your parents are engaged in something they enjoy instead of being couch potatoes or napping away the days.
Isn’t this fun! You thought resolutions were a thing of the past and maybe you even thought that being more engaged with your parents would lead to hassles. Sometimes it does, but it doesn’t always have to be about the serious stuff. Find ways to share and make it fun. Life is meant to be enjoyed regardless of one’s age and there is always soemthing interesting to share if we make the effort!
HAPPY 4TH! May it be safe, sane, and lots of FUN!
Thank you for being here to read my blog. Do you have ways you share time with your parents? I’d love to read your tips and suggestions. Feel free to use the comments.