This past weekend was Father’s Day and just a few weeks before that, we celebrated all of the amazing moms in our lives. For many of us, these holidays are a time to reflect on the memory of a loved one we’ve lost but for others, it’s an opportunity to spend time with some very important people. If you’re blessed to have one or both of your parents, we hope you were able to enjoy their company!
It’s easy to focus on quality time with our loved ones on special occasions, but these moments can be lost throughout the year as we navigate busy lives. Here are a few reminders to help you slow down, appreciate the moment and enjoy some quality time with your aging loved ones.
Focus on the present
When you’re visiting with a senior friend or family member, make an effort to be present in the moment. Set aside your phone, avoid multitasking (even if it’s to help your loved one with a task) and focus on the activity or conversation at hand. If your loved one enjoys cards or board games, suggest playing a round. Sit together for lunch or dinner, watch a show you both enjoy or offer to read aloud to them. You can also accompany your loved one on a walk or take them for a drive. In the summer months, it’s fun to go out for ice cream—something younger family members may enjoy participating in!
Learn something new
As you visit with older family members, take the opportunity to ask questions about their life and interests. Inquire about their childhood, their early adult years and career, or how they met their spouse. Ask them to share stories about places they traveled in their youth, concerts they attended and other events you may not know about. No matter how well you know someone, you’re bound to learn something new when you ask these kinds of specific yet open-ended questions. You may want to take notes—seniors have some wonderful stories!
If you’re struggling to have quality time with your aging loved ones, it may be a sign of caregiver burnout. When you’re too busy taking care of your parents or other family members to slow down and have a proper visit with them, your interactions can feel rushed, impersonal or transactional. To avoid this, consider having one of our caregivers take over some of the responsibilities you’re currently shouldering on your own. Our Personal Support Workers (PSWs) are here to assist with personal care, bathing and dressing, meal preparation, light housekeeping tasks and more. They can even accompany your aging loved one on errands or to appointments, taking those items off your calendar completely. Not only will this be of great benefit to the senior in question, it will free up your time to spend on other things—rest, your job, your own spouse and kids and of course, spending quality time with your aging loved ones.