Caring for your aging parents is very challenging, and can strain your relationships with them.
We asked our team of home care and hospice experts how they keep their aging parent relationships strong.
What are realistic ways to make positive impacts? They shared the following small, yet meaningful, contributions they make to their parents’ days.
- Stop by when it’s not time for your regular visit. They will love the unexpected surprise!
- Have you given Mom a hug, looked her in the eyes and said, ‘I love you’ lately?
- Deliver a cup of decaf specialty coffee. They will feel warm and delicious!
- Make too much dinner, and drop off the extras.
- You know your kids’ school papers, projects, etc. that you don’t know what to do with? Bingo! Their grandparents would love to look through them, and hang some highlights on their refrigerator.
- Leave an inspirational, ‘page-a-day’ calendar by their favorite sitting spot. Peeling off a page each morning may become part of their daily routine.
- Think seasonally: in winter: bring crunchy and tart pomegranate seeds; in spring: bring fresh, fragrant herbs; in summer: bring tomatoes; in fall: bring a cute little pumpkin!
- Be practical. Salt their steps and walk during icy winter spells. Pick up a container of salt and store it where you can swing by and salt even if you’re not stopping in.
- Block off some time in October to help with Medicare open-enrollment.
- Pick-up Dad’s prescriptions. Check their pillboxes! Is everything as it should be?
- How did Mom look the last time your saw her? Has someone commented that she looks frail? She may qualify for preventative, Medicare home health care prescribed by her physician.
- Tape a copy of a meaningful quote or prayer on their bathroom mirror.
- Delegate something to your out-of-town sibling. Assign them scheduling appointments or services, for example.
- Take pictures – try to get some candid shots – then order actual prints. Put the prints in frames and surprise your loved ones.
- Sprinkle some cinnamon on their toast. A delicious health-booster.
- Paint Mom’s nails; you + Dad = take an awesome selfie together!
- Update your family tree. If Mom and Dad can fill-in details about their parents in their own handwriting, you’ve just created a really cool keepsake.
- Demonstrate five minutes of stretching. Do it together and encourage them to do it daily.
- Help them create a Facebook page, where they can see regular updates and pictures of their children and grandchildren.
- Find a show you can watch together occasionally, and then enjoy discussions about what happened and/or is going to happen on each episode.
Shine a new light on your aging parent relationship. Bring something by; do something practical; try something unexpected. Who knows what can great things can happen?