It’s important to have a positive relationship with parents at any point in life, but especially as they age. Whether your relationship has been a good one or tense, you can nurture a better relationship starting today. Find out how with these easy tips, below.
CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn how you can nurture a positive relationship with parents as they age, including:
- Easy Ways to Have a Positive Relationship with Aging Parent
- Stay in Contact
- Offer Assistance
- Set Boundaries
- Be There to Support Them
- Final Thoughts on Your Relationship with Parents
Easy Ways to Have A Positive Relationship with Aging Parents
As you get older, live your life, and raise your family, chances are your relationship with your parents will change.
Some say as you age, you can understand your parents more and appreciate why they made certain decisions when you were growing up.
But as the family dynamics change, how can you ensure that your relationship with your aging parents remains intact, if not better than ever?
Stay In Contact
One thing many elderly parents bemoan is that when they reach a certain age, or their children do, contact with them can slowly dwindle.
And it’s true.
As our lives get busier with children, careers, and other relationships, it can be hard to juggle a busy schedule.
But if you want to keep a good relationship with your parents, you need to maintain regular contact.
You can do that in a number of easy ways. Here are some ideas that work well if you are nearby:
- Set up regular phone calls.
- Plan a weekly home visit.
- Schedule weekly coffee dates or lunches at a favorite restaurant.
- Send a thoughtful card each month, even without a holiday.
- Plan a monthly outing to do something they enjoy, such as a trip to a botanical garden, art museum, or a visit with your college-aged son.
Thanks to modern technology, you can modify the above if you live far away. For instance, perhaps instead of a weekly home visit, you set up a weekly video-conference call. Or, instead of a monthly outing, you can plan a quarterly visit for some one-on-one time or plan a multi-generational family vacation.
These simple gestures let your parents know they are a priority and that you value the time you spend with them. Remember, time is precious, especially as we age.
Setting regular routines to keep in contact also allows you to monitor your parents’ physical and mental well-being as they get older. Then, you can recognize anything out of the ordinary and address any situations that may arise.
It can be easy for your aging parents to feel like they are no longer needed, or are “a bother.”
When you involve your parents in your life, you can help them feel valued and needed. Plus, we all need help from time to time.
So ask for their assistance.
Chances are they will be thrilled to be able to help.
Don’t forget the set of skills and lifetime knowledge your parents can offer. Just because your parents are aging doesn’t mean they can’t provide value and insight.
These could be simple tasks that only they can do, like retelling the family stories and genealogy lines so you can finally capture it for future generations – or help perfecting your grandmother’s tomato sauce recipe.
If they are fairly youthful, perhaps they’d like to take the grandkids for the weekend so you and your partner can have some time to yourselves.
Or you can make more vulnerable asks: Maybe your parents can tell you how they dealt with a particular family circumstance, or what they might do in a difficult personal or professional situation like the one you’re facing.
In return, let them know you are happy to help with any problems or concerns they may have, such as finding a nursing home abuse lawyer should they be subject to physical or emotional abuse in this type of setting.
In addition to emotional support, make sure you are keeping on top of physical assistance needs your parents may have, too.
A few of these things might include:
- Walking aids for safer mobility in the home
- Magnifying glasses and proper lighting to assist with failing eyesight,
- Mobility aids such as scooters, stairlifts, and other equipment to help with limited physical movement
- Closed caption television or telephone for poor hearing
All of these gestures show your parents you are there to assist them as much as possible, and they are not alone as they go through the trials of aging – and neither are you.
At every stage of your relationship with your parents, you all must have boundaries that give you some control over your own life. This is especially important if your parents are living with you or nearby.
It may be a difficult topic to broach, but in the long-run, it will result in a better, more positive relationship.
You’ll want to explain why you feel these boundaries are needed, and lay out ground rules together. This will help you avoid conflict and issues due to miscommunication and differences in your lifestyles and parenting.
If necessary, you may also include emotional boundaries, such as not allowing your aging parent to channel guilt to manipulate you or your family or foster negativity. If this has been an ongoing issue, now is the time to set it right for your own health and well-being and your parents’ legacy.
Be There to Support Them
Supporting your parents’ health needs can be extremely difficult, especially if they have complex needs and failing health.
And if your parent’s memory is failing, ask if they are comfortable with you coming along on doctor’s visits and medical appointments. That way, you can take notes and make sure your parent understands the Doctor’s advice and instructions, and follow-up on his or her care.
Or, if that’s not possible, most medical systems now keep digital notes of the patient’s appointment, assessment, and directions. Sometimes, the systems can be a little overwhelming to navigate and understand for aging parents. Ask if your parents want you to read them together to go over the findings.
Sadly, not everyone can commit to full care for older family members. Discussing with your parents the level of support you can offer, if required, ensures that everyone understands what is and isn’t possible when it comes to their long-term care needs.
It also allows you to broach the subject of organizing care providers to help look after their health and mobility from day to day, be that in-home care or at an assisted living provider or retirement community with their peers around them.
Final Thoughts on Your Relationship with Parents
By nurturing a healthy relationship with your parents, not only are you offering your support as they age, but you are receiving the gift of their wisdom and love.
After all, it’s such a short period of time you have remaining together – why not make the very best of it?
Photo credits: Woman with yellow flowers – RODNAE Productions (Pexels), Remembrance – Sabine van Erp (Pixabay), all others courtesy of Canva Pro.
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