Adult child and parent relationships change with every season in a family’s life. It’s normal to talk to your parents daily, and it’s normal to have a strained relationship with your adult parent. Many people feel the pull to spend time with their parents and grandparents as they age. Not everyone is sure where to start. We’ve watched lots of families interact over the years and have compiled a list of some of our favorite ideas for spending time with your adult parent.
At Daystar Retirement Village in West Seattle, we have a legacy of outstanding care and a range of fantastic amenities and supports so that we can tailor a plan that meets your loved one’s needs and continues to meet them if their needs change. We understand the difficult journey of caring for a senior loved one and look forward to speaking with you about how partnering with us can improve everyone’s quality of life.
Ways to Connect with Your Adult Parent
1. Use the Mail
Receiving handwritten mail can change someone’s day! Many older adults are much more comfortable using the mail than they are with digital communication. Taking time to write a letter lets your adult parent know that you are thinking of them and responding to your letter gives them an enjoyable task in return. It is also a great opportunity to exchange other small items like favorite snacks, books, magazine articles, or photographs. Mail correspondence also creates priceless keepsakes. Both our clients and their families treasure the letters and cards they receive during ongoing correspondence.
2. Online Visits
Online visits are a great way to keep up if you are separated by geography or COVID-19 social distancing. Seniors have a wide range of skills and comfort using technology. Many learn to use video chat, which enables them to greet family members face to face or video in for special events like concerts and performances. If your parents are comfortable navigating the web, there are many more options, like gallery tours or online games. Check out our blog article on online activities to try with seniors here.
3. Set Standing Phone Dates
When your loved one expects a call on a certain day and time, they come to look forward to your phone dates. It is easier to set aside time and ensure your availability on a consistent schedule, eliminating the annoyance of phone tag and ensuring regular communication. It is easy to get swept up in your busy life and forget to call, but if you’re on the schedule for Tuesday at 7, the weeks don’t pass in a flurry without a conversation. Scheduling regular calls also helps to set boundaries if frequent calls are not working well for both parties. If your loved one needs help with a daily task (e.g., using the TV remote to find their favorite evening program), consider a quick, helpful call more regularly.
4. Conduct a Family Tree Interview
Our older loved ones may be full of precious information about the family tree. In addition to gathering precious health information, you may discover new family talents, personality traits, and connections. Many older adults remember yesteryear as if it were yesterday. This can be a very enjoyable topic for them. If you are interested in conducting an ancestry interview with your adult parent, you’re in luck! We have explored this topic extensively and created a list of family tree interview questions so that you can skip right to the fun part!
5. Reminisce with Old Photographs
Whether you share digital files or sit down with a dusty photo album, looking through photographs from your childhood can lead to fascinating conversations with your parent. Sometimes, your mother and father have an entirely different story to tell you about photographs of old family events or vacations now that you are an adult. This can be healing or hilarious for everyone involved. Ask questions about what is happening in the photograph (e.g., Who is that? What were we doing? When did this happen?). Make notes.
6. Learn Something New Together
Consider signing up for a class or activity together. Choose something interesting or completely neutral! Attend lectures, paint pottery, learn to play duets on the ukelele! Have fun and make new memories!
7. Learn From Each Other
You have some expert skills your mother or father may not have, and they likely have some expertise to pass on to you. When you’re playing student, learn old family recipes, holiday traditions, maintenance of family heirlooms and properties. Take pictures and make notes. You can use your learning time with them to work on tech skills like iPad use or teach them about one of your hobbies or passions. You could also pick a theme like “favorite games” and take turns. Teach your dad to play Dungeons and Dragons, then learn how to play cribbage!
Providing Quality Support for Seniors in West Seattle
Here at Daystar Retirement, we are honored to partner with families in supporting their aging loved ones’ evolving needs. We understand how important it is that our residents reap the positive rewards of connection to their families and receive the benefits available in our thriving community. Contact us to learn more about our senior apartments, independent living, assisted living, and respite care options and availability, or set up a tour today! We cannot wait for you to see our stunning campus and meet our fantastic staff. We look forward to meeting you soon!