Three Great Reasons to Create Beautiful Memories With Your Elderly Parents

Providing care for your elderly parents can be demanding, but it can have joyous opportunities. Here’s some motivation for creating positive memories with your parents, as well as practical ways to get started.

Making Family Memories

Improves the Quality of Life. Older people benefit from remaining mentally active and connected to others. Help them share their wisdom, and let them know they still make an important contribution to the family. Everyone wants to feel recognized and respected. Your efforts will add to your parents’ quality of life.

Finds joyful moments. Pressures build up when you’re caring for your parents and your own children. Sharing positive memories is one of the best rewards for all this hard work. Looking back may also help you to heal past conflicts that might interfere with a closer relationship.

Creates memories for children. Keeping precious family customs, traditions, and rituals going strong from one generation to the next is a gift. Grandparents enrich your children’s lives with an abundance of love and attention. Make the most of the time they spend together.

How to Capture Your Memories

Reminisce. Encourage your parents to talk about their lives. Select a comfortable setting and a time free from interruptions. Ask open-ended questions and listen attentively. Remember to be sensitive to their reactions as some subjects may be sensitive or painful to discuss.

Record your sessions. Video and audio recordings create priceless reminders of your loved ones. Make sure to get their permission first. Some people may find audio recordings more comfortable than video. Others may prefer filming the whole family rather than being the sole subject.

Eat together. Family dinners are a powerful bonding ritual. If you live close by, set aside one night a week for dining together. For longer distances, take full advantage of holiday gatherings and other special occasions. Really spending time together savoring the food and reflecting on memories spent is a wonderful way to nourish the body and mind.

Cook together. Go one step further and prepare special dishes together. You’ll be ensuring that all those favorite family recipes get passed along. For a lasting memento, assemble a cookbook with step-by-step instructions and photos.

Go on outings. If your parents are up to it, include them in planning your next vacation. Even with limited mobility, there may be day outings that you can all enjoy. Look for family movies or lecture series at local museums.

Take a trip to your parents’ hometown. For an unforgettable outing, take a trip back to where your parents grew up. This adventure is bound to trigger a lot of memories, so you may learn interesting things you never knew about the people who raised you.

Plan a family reunion. Maybe your parents would be thrilled to bring everyone together in one place. The internet makes it easier than ever to locate distant relatives. Delegate responsibilities so everyone can participate without getting overburdened.

Organize old photos and home movies. Sit down with your parents and sort through the old albums and movies a little at a time. With a home scanner, you can digitize the images yourself or save time by taking them to a photo lab. Store the originals in archival quality albums or boxes. Using acid-free paper will slow down the deterioration process.

Fill in your family tree. Sketch out your family tree and ask your parents to fill in as many names and details as possible. If this whets your curiosity, there are many resources online or at the library to guide you through further research.

Enjoy keepsakes. Ask your parents for the stories behind the objects they collect and the souvenirs they’ve accumulated. Look through the attic for forgotten treasures.

Sharing family memories draws us closer together across the generations. Help your parents enjoy their elder years and share their wisdom with you and their grandchildren.

15 Ways to Help Grandparents and  Grandchildren Stay Connected

Much has been said about how COVID-19 affects the health of older generations, but family relationships are a concern too. Many seniors feel cut off from one of their greatest joys in life, their grandchildren.

Since the end of March 2020, 69% of grandparents haven’t met their new grandchildren face to face. Another 76% haven’t hugged or touched any of their grandchildren. That’s according to a survey by the grandparenting organization Gransnet.

While visits and hugging may be too risky for a while, there are other ways to stay in touch.

  1. Make video calls. Chat on Zoom and Facetime.
  2. Write letters. Old school communications still work. Everyone loves to get mail!
  3. Share videos. Create lasting memories with videos.Grandparents can record themselves describing a moment from family history. Children can capture some moments from their day.
  4. Send small gifts. Presents can make staying at home more pleasant. Maybe your grandchild can use some educational items that will enrich their home learning. Maybe grandparents would appreciate a subscription with healthy ingredients for home cooked meals.
  5. Celebrate milestones. What about holidays and birthdays? If it’s too risky to gather, you may still be able to have a party online or outside with distancing and masks when it is allowed.
  6. Give tours. Put together a virtual tour to show each other daily activities. Include footage of caring for a vegetable garden, baking or completing a school project.
  7. Watch movies. Pick a movie the family will enjoy and discuss it afterwards.
  8. Play games. You can play games online. Pick a game and then do a search for site that offers the game online
  9. Read stories. Time for story time! Schedule an evening video call to read a book. A grandparent can read the whole book or grandparents and grandchildren can take turns reading.
  10. Eat together. Family meals can be virtual too. Decide on a family  meal that everyone can partake in. Pretend you’re dining at the same table.

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