The relationships that we have had the opportunity to build and strengthen with our parents and grandparents over the course of our lives can be deeply special and meaningful to us.
Through lessons taught, tears dried, recipes shared, comforting words spoken, or just being able to know that someone cares for you in a way no one else can, the things we get from our parents and grandparents help mould us into our own unique people and contribute so many important elements to our lives.
While the respect and appreciation that we feel for our parents and grandparents might be great, many of us don’t show them how valuable and loved by us they are as often as we should. How often do we really take the time to express those thoughts and feelings by telling our parents and grandparents how much they mean to us and how deeply special they are?
There are so many little ways we remind our parents and grandparents not only that we love them, but also that they are valued and appreciated. The following list is made up of just a few ideas of little ways in which we can nurture our relationships with our parents and grandparents and show them how important they are to on a consistent basis:
- Visit When You Can: With distance, busy routines, and the daily goings-on of everyday life, getting together in person isn’t always possible but when it is, make it a priority. Your parents or grandparents will value the time you have taken to head their way for a visit, or to invite them to your place for a while. These visits are great opportunities for simple catch-ups on life, for important conversations, or just for some quality time in one another’s company.
- Keep in Touch: One of the most basic, but also deeply resonant and valuable, things you can do to show your parents and grandparents that they are important to you is just to take the time required for keeping in touch and making sure they know they are priorities in your life. Writing letters, calling on the phone, sending e-mails, or even just writing texts on a regular basis can be so wonderful.
- Do Things Together: Whenever you or your family are going on an outing that your parents or grandparents might enjoy, invite them along. Many seniors spend a lot of time at home in their older age, and the opportunity to get out for an activity, an outing, or an event with their children or grandchildren will probably be exciting for your parents or grandparents. Doing things with your parents or grandparents also helps to remind them that they still on your radar and haven’t been forgotten now that they are growing older.
- Ask About Their Lives: Your parents and grandparents have lived long lives and have amassed a great many stories, memories, and pieces of wisdom that they have to share. While you may already know some of your parents’ or grandparents’ story, asking them to tell you about their lives can help them feel as though you are interested in who they are, who they were, where they came from, and what their journey was. The chance to share stories and wisdom can also help remind your parents and grandparents that they still have a lot to contribute, which can be positive for their self-esteem and sense of self.
- Cook and Eat Together: Many of us learn our favourite recipes from family members, and cooking together can be a fun activity. If your parent or grandparent has recipes to share, give them the opportunity to show them to you by cooking together. Even if cooking together isn’t quite for you, try eating a meal together with your parents or grandparents whenever you can. Meal times can emphasise loneliness because they are typically such a social activity, so using a meal as an opportunity to spend time with your parent or grandparent and give them some company can be so wonderful for them and for you.
- Share Your Life with Them: Along with asking your parents or grandparents about their lives, let them into yours too. Sharing stories and talking to your parents or grandparents about what is going on in your life can also be a way to make them feel included, valued, and special.
- Tell Them You Appreciate Them: While actions can be super effective ways of showing your parents or grandparents just how important they are to you, sometimes the most evocative thing to do is just use the words. Tell your parents and grandparents exactly how you feel about them, how important and wonderful they are, and how much you appreciate their presence in your life. While it may seem simple, hearing someone acknowledge and express such loving feelings can fill your parents and grandparents with joy and make them feel important, valued, and appreciated.
Our parents and grandparents have done such wonderful and amazing things throughout their lives and have invested so much time, energy, and love into caring for us and those we love. Caring for and supporting our parents and grandparents as they grow older is more than just making sure their physical and healthcare needs are met, it is about showing them how much we love them and making sure they are constantly reminded of just how wonderful they are.