If you are like most of us, It’s been way too long since you have seen your parents. I trust you did your best with phone calls, emails, and zoom, but it’s just not the same as being there. There may have been an array of changes that occurred in your aging parent which you can prepare for before your visit. In order to make the most of your time together, here are a few suggestions:
Prepare A To-Do List
Aging parents are great at finding things for their adult children to fix. Although it’s a pleasure to be able to help them do the things they no longer can, you also want to spend quality time with them. Advance preparation can help create a more meaningful and productive visit.
Become an Observer
Notice any changes in weight, eating habits, sleeping patterns, eyesight, balance. Check the fridge for no food or spoiled food, full or empty pill bottles, accumulated papers, dishes or dirt, etc.
Workaround your parent’s schedule and routine. If they are more energetic in the morning prepare to spend time with them then and do their chores while they are resting later.
A lot may have changed since your last visit, so do your best to adapt to your parent’s world as opposed to making demands that may be unrealistic at this point in time.
You are the joy in their life so, take the time and attention to do interesting things that they may not be able to do in your absence. Enjoy even the simplest activity and savor each moment in gratitude as much as possible!
For more great suggestions when visiting your aging parents, check out this interesting article from the New York Times:
If You Plan to Visit Aging Parents, Bring a To-Do List