Many of us experienced it from our parents on an everyday basis without even realizing it–those special moments that soothed, comforted and pleased us through their actions, gestures and smiles. Now it's our turn to offer aging parents some special moments of their own.
Moments in time
It only takes a moment to show an aging parent how much he or she means to you. Elder care not only means bathing, feeding or helping an aging parent to get around—it also means offering that hug, warm smile or kind, gentle word when frustration gets to both of you.
Family caregivers taking care of parents diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia face additional challenges. According to the Alzheimer's Association, there will be about 14 million people in the US diagnosed with Alzheimer's by the year 2050. Such numbers should encourage each of us to spend quality time with our aging parents.
There are a multitude of opportunities to create special moments with your aging parent. Here are just a few.
- Sit down and tell your parent how much he or she means to you
- Photograph you and your parent doing things together and then create a special photo album for him or her
- Take your mom or dad to a special place that means something to them and just sit and enjoy the moment
- Play songs that may cause your parent to smile as long-forgotten memories bubble to the surface
Making special gifts for seniors is also a way to create special memories of family, friends and loved ones. Those staying in a senior care retirement community or those staying in an assisted living facility or nursing home will appreciate such simple gestures and thoughts.
The Alzheimer's Organization suggests caregivers of those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's remember that those suffering from cognitive loss can still:
- Respond to tone of voice or eye contact
- Perform simple tasks
- Experience emotions
- Enjoy former hobbies and tasks that may be adapted to physical and cognitive limitations
- Enjoy a hug
- Love and care for you
Facing the past and meeting the future
It isn't easy for any adult caregiver of a parent, or even those who offer care to nonrelatives, to watch a loved one struggle daily with once-simple tasks. Extra doses of compassion, patience and understanding are called for in such situations. When it comes to memories of your mom or dad in better days, or dealing with the uncertainty of the future, family caregivers should take advantage of every opportunity to create special moments with their parents.
Special moments don't have to be unique–they can be simple, everyday tasks that you can enjoy with your elderly parent, and that they can enjoy with you. Try some of the following to share some extra special moments alone with your parent:
- Look at family photos
- Sing favorite religious hymns
- Dare to be silly
- Fold clothes
- Take a scenic drive
- Feed the ducks at the local pond
- Cut pictures from magazines
- Reminisce about "the old days"
Don't waste precious time wishing that things were different. Treat every new day as an opportunity to show your parent how much you love him or her. Create special moments every day. You'll be glad you did.
Thomas AndersonGeriatric Care Manager
Thomas Anderson has over 15 years of experience providing care and support to elderly individuals. He specializes in helping seniors manage their medical needs and navigate the healthcare system. Thomas keenly understands how to help aging adults stay as independent as possible while ensuring they have access to the best available resources.