Visiting Elderly Parents living alone during special occasions and holidays is a perfect way to cheer them up, and to prevent isolation and loneliness. This Valentine’s Day, celebrate love with your aging parents who are living independently by visiting them and spending time with them.
Tips for a Memorable Visit to Elderly Parents Living Alone
1. Keep your visit real
Don’t feel forced or obligated to plan something big when visiting your elderly parents. Sometimes it’s best to have one or two people visiting at a time than to have a dozen of people visiting all at once.
Quality is more important than quantity. Make the most of your time with your aging parents this Valentine’s Day by slowing down, being patient, listening to their stories, hugging, laughing and doing things that would make them feel extra special.
Also, keep in mind that your parents might get tired easily because of their age so consider limiting the time you will visit them.
2. Accompany elderly parents to visit friends or relatives
Seeing a familiar face again after so many years will definitely make someone’s day. Your elderly parents may not be able to visit close friends or relatives as often as they want. If that’s the case, then arrange a visit. You can meet outside to have lunch or dinner, invite them to your parent’s home or you can visit them instead.
This is a great opportunity for your parents to socialize, catch up and exercise good communication. Since isolation and loneliness are rampant among seniors today, it’s best to help them maintain an active social life.
3. Surprise your aging parents with gifts
Sometimes it’s hard to maintain a conversation and make it interesting for your parents. You can take off some pressure you might feel by starting a conversation with them by bringing them small gifts or memorabilia they would appreciate such as old photographs, old toys, food and hand lotion.
One example would be a memory journal where your aging parents can write about their childhood for their grandkids. Aside from sharing their stories, this is also a good memory exercise since the journal features questions that can help elderly parents remember important moments in their lives.
Don’t worry if your aging parents are becoming forgetful because this is one of the age-related changes that happen to old people. To give you peace of mind, here are the differences between Alzheimer’s disease and normal aging.
4. Try a new restaurant
Instead of going to your usual go-to restaurant, try something new. Search for restaurants in your local area and sort the result based on reviews to make sure that you’ll find the best restaurant that you and your parents will enjoy this Valentine’s Day. Make sure to make a reservation for a lot of people are also in a celebratory mood this love month.
5. Bring a furry companion
Did you know that petting a dog or a cat is highly therapeutic? Stroking a cat’s ear or stroking a dog’s belly has a calming effect that is beneficial to senior. So next time you visit your parents who are living independently, make sure to bring a furry friend with you.
In fact, according to a recent study, seniors who own a pet decline in health far less rapidly than those who don’t have pets.
Here are other emotional and psychological benefits of pet therapy for aging parents:
- Seniors with heart conditions who own pets tend to outlive those who don’t.
- Walking a dog provides much-needed physical exercise, which leads to improved mobility and a healthier lifestyle overall.
- The ability to have something to pet or touch can result in lower blood pressure, normal heart rate and reduced stress.
- Pets provide emotional stability during stressful situations, helping to reduce anxiety and depression.
- Caring for a pet helps increase a senior’s self-confidence and self-esteem, providing them a way to feel useful and responsible for something.
- For dementia patients, animals can be soothing to those who have difficulty using language.
- Feeding and grooming can help increase seniors’ physical skills and help them become more active.
- Animals can help improve socialization- they listen without judgment and give unbiased affection, especially when a senior may desire to share the thoughts they may not be comfortable telling family or friends.
Spending Valentine’s Day with your elderly parents gives you a chance to bond with them and also to check on them whether they can continue living independently or they need to move to a long term care facility. It’s not your usual celebration, but it’s definitely something memorable and something your parents would appreciate.
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