Boy does this one hit home right now for so many reasons. As I get older (and hopefully wiser) I realize there is beauty to ageing, but it’s also really hard. There are different stages we go through in our relationship with our parents. We’re young, and they look after us. We become adults, and the relationship is more like that of friends. And then, finally, the relationship becomes an invert of what it began as: we need to guide and support our parents, to help them lead the best possible life in their retirement. This can feel like uncomfortable terrain, because it is: it’s new. However, there’s no reason to complicate the arrangement — below, we take a look at a few simple tips that’ll make it all the more straightforward.
What’s Going On In Their World?
Many people in retirement age complain that the world puts too much of an emphasis on youth, and it’s hard to disagree with that assessment. After you leave the workforce, it can feel like life can begin to pass you by. So make sure that you’re showing an interest in what’s going on in their world. You have a lot of exciting things going on in your world, but it’s always kind to show a little bit of self-restraint during conversation and, instead of just talking about yourself, making sure your parents have a platform to talk about what’s going on in their world.
Be There For Them
Your parents were there for you when you were ill when you were young; now it is your turn to be there for them. They’ll likely face any number of ailments, both serious or not, during their retirement years, and while you may have always seen them as superheroes, the truth is that everyone needs a little bit of help every now and again. Being supportive can involve driving them to their annual check-up, or being there every step of the way for more serious matters, such as their cancer treatment. Whatever it is, the goal is to ensure that they don’t feel like they’re on their own in any way.
Some aspects of life can become a little more difficult as we age. The weekly grocery shop, for example, can be an ordeal for those people who don’t have the physical strength to manage, as can cleaning the home. Is there a way that you can help out? You don’t need to do everything for your parents all the time; it’s just about being considerate, and doing those straightforward tasks to help them out.
There are a few common issues that affect older people, such as loneliness and boredom. Fortunately, these are things that can be quite readily remedied, with just a little help. Because it’s such a common issue these days, there are plenty of initiatives designed to get people doing new activities and meeting new people. It’s possible that your parents might reject these ideas at first — people can get pretty stuck in their ways — but it’s recommended to gently nudge them to give them a try, because the benefits can be so powerful. You can even go along with them.