Most people will eventually experience the aging of their parents. For many of us, this is challenging emotionally and intellectually long before any other sorts of issues enter the picture.
As your parents get older, one of the first things that may happen is that you may feel an aversion toward changing your views of mom and dad as physically strong, mentally vigorous individuals. Most of us want to always see our parents as they were when they were younger.
But because aging has predictable consequences, it’s wise to be willing to tweak how you perceive your parents. If you take into account the effects of aging, you’ll seek to be flexible and creative in the types of activities you do with your parents.
Consider trying some of these activities to spend quality time with your mom and dad:
1. Take short walks if the weather permits.
For aging parents who don’t get out and about much, a walk outdoors can be wonderful! You can admire nature, see changes in seasons and get exercise. Plus, this provides a wonderful backdrop to chat and spend some time together.
Bear in mind the length of time you walk as your mom or dad may get tired easily. But even taking a gentle ten-minute walk is good for body and soul as long as your parent’s doctor approves.
2. Watch old movies.
Rent DVDs of old movies your parent likes. Most aging people enjoy watching movies and might even have favorite movie stars whose films they love to see.
Watching an old movie with your parents will jog their memories. Movies prompt parents to recall what they were doing around the time they first saw the film.
3. Show your parents something they're interested in on the internet.
Although your parents might not be into the internet at all, you can still expose them to something new by using it to investigate a subject that interests them.
There’s plenty of fodder for conversation when you show your parents that by using the internet, they can obtain information they seek. Plus, exposing your parents to new information expands their minds, which will help keep their memory sharper.
It’s best not to expect your mom or dad to want to learn how to navigate online. But if they decide to do so, you’ve just opened a door for them to use their thinking skills more.
4. Work a paper and pencil puzzle together.
Periodically doing crosswords, word searches and other types of puzzles will help keep your parent’s mind sharp while serving as a quality activity to do together.
Working puzzles also provides you with opportunities to compliment your mom or dad’s abilities and efforts in completing a task.
5. Go out together for breakfast or lunch.
Because your parent’s energy may wane by the time dinner rolls around, take advantage of the earlier hours in the day to spend time together.
Going out for breakfast or lunch provides opportunity to share a meal together when mom or dad are fresh and feeling their most energetic.
6. Help your parent clean out a drawer or closet.
Because your aging parents might feel overwhelmed at the prospect of getting rid of some unwanted possessions, ease their mind by offering help.
You can assist with sorting belongings, getting organized and donating unwanted items to a local charity.
7. Film your aging parent telling a story.
If your parent likes to tell stories and has done so in your youth or to your own children, see if they will agree to be filmed.
Your mom or dad might feel quite touched that you want to preserve memories of them. Plus, their memory of some of the stories might be tapped in the process.
8. Read a book together.
Reading a book with your parent is a great way to spend an hour or two. Take turns reading aloud if your parent wishes to read.
Your mom or dad’s cognitive abilities will be exercised through the reading process. To keep this activity enjoyable, be sure to stop whenever they get tired. You can pick up the story on your next visit.
As your parents grow older, it’s necessary to vary how you spend time together. If you’re willing to be creative and a little flexible, you’ll discover many ways to enjoy time with your parents as they age.