It can be hard to know what to do for our elderly parents, who have done so much for us over the years. They’ve been our constant companions and advisors. They often sacrifice their own happiness for ours. Sometimes they are even willing to talk to a senior-living consultant and go to a nursing home to make sure that they are not becoming a burden to us.
Here are 10 thoughtful ways to show your appreciation and love for them:
1. Talk to Them Often
Even if your parents don’t seem to be in the mood for conversation, you should still reach out and talk with them. You can call them on the phone or text them to say hi. When they know that you care, they’ll feel appreciated and loved because they’re not caught up in their own busy lives anymore, and having someone who wants their opinion is an attention-grabbing way of letting them know how valuable their opinion is.
2. Surprise Them with a Visit
We all get into certain routines that we never abandon: We go to work simultaneously, come home at the same time, do laundry on Sunday if it’s overflowing by 7 p.m. on Saturday, and so forth. Routines make us feel safe and secure, but they can also be a little stifling. Why not surprise your elderly parents by popping in on them unannounced? It will make their day, especially if they’re feeling cooped up and lonely.
3. Take Them Out to Lunch or Dinner
One way to show your elderly parents that you love them is to take them out to eat. This doesn’t have to be a special occasion like a birthday or an anniversary. Just because you want to show them how much you care. If they don’t live close by, offer to pay for their flight ticket so you can all eat together at a nice restaurant.
4. Help Them with Chores
Even if your parents are still in good health, they may not be able to do some of the chores around the house that they used to do. Offer to help them out and lighten their load. You can vacuum, mop, do the dishes, or take out the trash. They’ll appreciate your help and know that you love them enough to offer it.
5. Write Them a Letter
A hand-written letter is a rare and special thing in this day and age where everything seems to be done electronically. Why not write your elderly parents a letter telling them all about your life? What you’ve been up to, what you’re studying in school, what kind of job you’ve landed, etc. Don’t forget to mention how much you love them and that without their guidance, you would have never been able to accomplish what you just did.
6. Make Them a Video
Another great way to show your elderly parents that you appreciate everything they’ve done for you is by putting together a video of all the crucial moments in your life: when they first held you in their arms after giving birth, when they dropped you off at college for the very first time, and so forth. Put these images together using a helpful application like iMovie and then watch it with them when the time is right. They’ll be moved to tears by seeing all those precious moments preserved onscreen.
7. Gift Them with Something Special
One way to let your elderly parents know that you’ve been thinking about them is to gift them with something special. It doesn’t have to be a big or expensive present, but just something they would appreciate and use. Maybe it’s a new book for their Kindle, a nice mug for their morning coffee, or a set of paints if they like to dabble in the arts. Just make sure that it’s something that they’ll love and not just something you think they would like.
8. Take Care of Their Pets
If your elderly parents have pets, take care of them for them. This can be feeding, walking, taking them to the vet when necessary, and so forth. Pets can provide a lot of comfort to senior citizens, so by taking care of them, you’re helping make your parents feel loved.
9. Connect Them with New Friends
One way to help keep your elderly parents feeling young and vibrant is to connect them with new friends. This can be done in various ways: introducing them to people at church, getting them involved in a social club, or even setting them up on a date through a dating website. By meeting new people, your parents will expand their horizons and feel appreciated by others.
10. Listen to Them When They Need to Talk
Last but not least, always be there for your elderly parents when they need someone to talk to. They may have a lot of life experience and wisdom that they want to share with you, or they may just need someone to lend an ear and listen to them ramble. No matter what, make sure you take the time to talk to them and listen. They’ll appreciate it more than you know.
Showing your elderly parents how much you appreciate them is not difficult, but it does require a bit of thought and effort. By following the tips in this article, you can let them know that they are loved and appreciated, and that will bring joy to their lives.