How to Stay Connected with Your Aging Parents

Today more than ever before it is easy to become so busy with work and social activities that the little things in life pass by unnoticed. Many of us spend hours every day tied down to computers, smartphones and tablets, and lose track of what is most important — staying connected with those we love most.

As your life moves on, do not forget that your parents are aging and every chance you miss connecting with them is a chance you may not be able to get back. However, if you are willing to put in some time and effort, you can reconnect and rebuild those relationships before it is too late.

Here are four ways to help you begin the re-connection process:

1. Connect With Tech

You are on your smartphone all the time anyway.  Why not put that time to good use?

If your mom or dad are already Internet-savvy, you can start connecting on social media or utilizing video chats to spend time together even when you are far away from each other. If they live in an assisted living in Atlanta, there may be classes on social media available, too.

If your parents are not yet comfortable with the Internet or mobile devices, just taking the time to teach them how to utilize this technology can be an excellent way to build your relationship. They will appreciate the knowledge you share, and you will have a new way to reach them even during your busiest times.

Who knows? Your mom or dad may soon find Facebook or Video Chats to be their favorite way to keep in touch with the family or long-lost friends.

2. Connect Over the Past

One reason that many people find it hard to connect with their parents and other relatives is that it can be hard to find things to talk about with one another. Sharing stories about the family and the past is an excellent way to build these bonds while creating something that will be enjoyed for years to come.

Spend time together organizing old photos, recreating old family recipes and learning more about the family heritage. Not only will it forge bonds between you and your parents, but you will learn lessons that you can pass on to future generations as well.

It may surprise you, but many times you will be able to get children and other family members involved, too — family history is more exciting than you might think.

3. Go Out Someplace New

Do you always wind up visiting your mom or dad at the house or at their assisted living community in Atlanta — having the same dinners and sharing the same conversations? It might be time to shake things up a bit. Why not take your parents out to the new restaurant in town or out to see a play or a movie? Just getting out of the house and seeing something new can inspire conversation and will make it easier to connect.

When you are enjoying yourselves during your time together, you will all find that rebuilding your relationship is much more fun. If this is impossible, bring the fun to your parents.

Have dinner catered or invite over some entertaining guests. Even bringing a nice dessert and fresh flowers for table décor can turn an ordinary meal into something memorable.

4. Get Others Involved

While you will always want to have special time that is just for you and your parents, it is important to foster the relationships within the entire family, too. Maybe it is time to plan a big family gathering. Holidays, reunions, baby showers, weddings and birthday parties can all be excellent occasions for getting together and spending time with those who are nearest to your heart.

Do not take on all the responsibility yourself. Make the occasion into a family event. When everyone participates, everyone will get more from the occasion.

Your parents will appreciate the opportunity to reconnect not only with you, but with the family as a whole. Plus, after the big day, you will have plenty to talk about and lots of great photos to review!

When you have not been taking the time to connect with your parents for awhile, the first efforts may seem difficult. However, do not give up on the process. Once you get past those first awkward moments, it will quickly turn from being something you need to do into something you want to do.

Soon, you will find that you look forward to every moment you get to spend with your parents — and you will both likely discover new ways you enjoy spending time together, too.