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18 Simple Pleasures for Bonding with Your Elder Parents

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Caring for your aging parents can be hard work, but there are also great joys. Remember how lucky you are each day to have your mother and father still.

We are expected to feel a desire to express gratitude and appreciation towards our parents when we reflect on all the love and support they have given us. To help you begin, look at this list, which can serve as a starting point to create meaningful moments of happiness, love, and affection.

Cherish small moments 

8 Simple Pleasures That Take Less Than 15 Minutes

  1. Listen closely. Give your parents your full attention. Let them know that you value what they have to say. 
  2. Send flowers. Brighten their home with flowers or a plant. No special occasion is needed.
  3. Share photos. Even if they check Facebook regularly, your parents would love a printout of a cute photo of their grandkids inside a pretty frame. If you can’t pick just one image, make a photo book.
  4. Sing along. Buy or download a collection of golden oldies. It will bring back memories of their high school days or summer road trips.
  5. Dance around. Get up on your feet. Try a little ballroom dancing or the twist.  
  6. Experience nature. Watch a sunset or listen to chimes ringing in the breeze. Notice trees changing color in the fall or sparkling with ice in the winter.
  7. Laugh about it. Tell a joke or a funny story about what happened at work. Reminisce about the silly things your parents did growing up. 
  8. Hug each other. Touch is essential to our emotional well-being, but the longer we live, the less we receive. Wrap your arms around each other or squeeze your parent’s hands when you’re coming and going.




10 Simple Pleasures That Take a Little Longer

  1. Read a book. Read out loud from a novel or the newspaper. Pick up large print books if your parents like them.
  2. Watch TV. Families used to gather around one giant device. Turn on an old sitcom. 
  3. Write a letter. Letters are more memorable than email. Drop one in their mailbox.
  4. Adopt a pet. If your parents’ circumstances allow, help them find an older dog or cat to love. If not, bring your dog to give them some affection and entertainment. Call around to see if therapy animals in your area could visit them. 
  5. Work out together. Take a walk around the block. Offer to drive your parents to senior exercise classes at the local gym or senior center.
  6. Eat as a family. Prepare lunch together. Sit down in the dining room or out in the backyard.
  7. Gussy up. Grooming becomes trickier in the later years. Invite your mother along when you’re having a haircut or a manicure. If your father prefers privacy, buy a kit so you can give him a cut and a shave.
  8. Clean the house. Chores can be fun. If you agree to vacuum the living room, they’ll treat you to cookies and tea afterward.
  9. Volunteer together. Show your parents that they can still contribute. Teach English to recent immigrants or sort food at a local pantry.
  10. Plan an outing. Fight loneliness and isolation by suggesting activities outside the home. Take your mother and father out for an afternoon at a local museum or shopping mall. Your local library shows free old movies where you can mingle with other families with the same idea.

Each stage of life has its unique pleasures. Even when you and your aging parents may struggle with your changing roles and the loss of independence, facing the transition together draws you closer.

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