Today we face another challenge for the family with an aging parent. Bet you never thought of visiting your aging parents as putting you in the category of guest. But that’s really what you are. How do you behave when you are there?
Something to think about. Consider how you would act with that in mind. Would visiting your aging parents take on a new light? Would it change your behavior? Your attitude?
When you realize you’re a guest, it puts things in a different light. Do you treat your parents with the same manners that you would treat another host? Use this time to build up self-esteem, which often gets lowered as elderly parents face infirmities. And part of that is letting them make the decisions for what you do while on the visit.
Preparing Children for visiting aging parents
Have the children been warned to be on best behavior and not touch or get into things that aren’t theirs? Have you made plans for activities to keep them occupied? It’s always good to plan some time out of the house each day to give elderly parents a rest from the noise and confusion that any guest brings to a visit. And it lets the children let off steam. Try to take them to places they can be active children. A minimum of 1-2 hours seems to make everyone’s mood much improved.
You have advantages of being a guest visiting your aging parents that most guests don’t have. Your offers to help, as “family”, with cleaning, laundry, shopping, yard work, or meal prep can be easily accepted. Look at what is needed and jump in to help.
Pre-planning when you’re a visiting your Aging Parents
Planning special activities while you are visiting? Let your parents know ahead of time. They may have plans to entertain you and one of you might have to change their plans. Or you might invite them to join in any activities you have planned.
Be sure to check ahead of the visit for needed clothes. What’s the weather like this time of year? And do we need to bring any special clothes for any planned activities? If a parent is in Florida, you might be expecting hot weather, when they are actually having a very cold spell and everyone is wearing winter clothes to keep warm.
Information Your Elderly Parents Need to Know Ahead of the visit.
When visiting your aging parents, let them know ahead of time if there are special dietary needs of any family member. Make suggestions to accommodate these needs. If unusual expense is involved, you might want to offer to pay for it or to bring items that are hard to find.
When children are involved, grandparents want to know what the children like to eat, especially for breakfast and lunch. These items are probably no longer in the home and need to be purchased ahead. Grandparents want to make this a very pleasant visit for everyone and they like to have things on hand that the children will enjoy.
The changes you will see when visiting your Aging Parents
When you’re a guest of your elderly parents now, it’s different than just going home again. Both of your lives have changed and there is a period of realizing that these changes have been good for each of you. Sometimes though, the changes you note in aging parents when you visit, may give you concern. You may have to find time to sit down and discuss any problems they are having. Having a one on one with just one parent may give you the information you need.
When visiting your aging parents, don’t expect them to do as much as they did when they were younger. Be ready to pitch in and make life as easy for them as possible during the visit, without taking away their role as host and hostess to you.
Let them set the tone of the visit, and try to comply with their wishes. Pre-planning with them goes a long way to making visiting your aging parents more enjoyable.
Love, Hugs, and Prayers,
I give you the story of Jesus visiting Mary and Martha – Luke 10:38-42 to meditate on. When you are visiting your aging parents, are you Martha or Mary? Sometimes you need to be one and sometimes the other. Your elderly parents are here for you today. Which do they need you to be on this visit?
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