Engaging in positive interactions with your aging parent is not only beneficial to your relationship, but to your parent’s mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Reminiscing and nostalgic storytelling sharpen the mind while releasing feel-good chemicals such as dopamine. In addition, understanding the kind of person your mother or father is—outside of being your parent—can help you honor them by passing on their story and legacy to future generations.
Sometimes, however, the routines and habits of daily life can make it hard to break out of the conversational box. (How do you feel today? What did you eat? What do you think about this weather?) Reaching a deeper level can take a little more work, but it’s well worth the effort. Here are some ways you can be intentional about your time with your parent, creating a fun and meaningful interaction for you both.
- Reminisce with your parent over old photo albums, discussing the stories behind the photos. If possible, go over pictures from their youth, so you can learn about their life before your time.
- Have some home videos? Make your parent’s favorite snack and nestle together for a watch party. Pause the video whenever your parent expresses emotions or interest so you can ask for details about the event.
- Often all it takes is a change of setting to find your conversations moving in new directions. Take a walk outside, and allow the sights and sounds of the outdoors to trigger memories and ideas.
- Take your parent on an outing to a place that’s special to them. Allow them to direct the way, describing what they remember and enjoy most about the location.
- Music is one of the strongest nostalgic triggers, making the passage of decades suddenly feel like yesterday. Listen to tunes that bring up happy memories for your parent. If the mood strikes, dance!
It’s never too late to get to know your parents, and spending time with them as they age can be a rewarding and eye-opening experience for you both. With a little bit of planning, you can enrich your relationships with your mom and dad and celebrate their unique life journeys.
At Danbury Senior Living, getting to know our residents and their families is what we’re all about. If you’re thinking a senior living community may be in your parent(s)’ future, learn about us by viewing Our Services or Schedule a Tour at one of our locations across Ohio.