John Lennon famously quoted, ‘Life is what happens when you are making other plans’ and in 2017, this is more relevant than ever. In Britain over four million people work over 48 hours a week with one in ten people now working at least 60 hours a week. There is a “long hours culture”, with the average working week now 43.6 hours a week, up from 38.5 hours two decades ago. ‘Busy’ has somewhat become the modern equivalent of ‘good’. When we’re not in work we’re tied down to our smartphones and tablets and it becomes easy to forget what is most important – our loved ones, who we may not see as much because they are living in a residential care home.
Most people will check their work emails as soon as they wake up, spending the rest of the day on the feet and longing for the weekend. Once the precious weekend comes around we cram as many social activities in as possible, until its Sunday and it’s time to prepare for the week ahead. Time always seems to slip away, yet it’s often easy to forget our parents are ageing and we will be unable to get back the missed opportunities we have to spend with them.
While it may not always be practical to meet up with your parents every week, the opportunity to connect with tech is better than ever. Since you spend most of your time on your phone anyways, why not teach your ageing parents how to use video chat? Video chats give us the opportunity to cross the miles between us and our parents – if your parents aren’t tech savvy its worth taking the time to teach them how to utilise new technologies and this process itself can be a great way to bond, and who knows? It could become their favourite way to communicate with you. If they simply aren’t able to learn how to use FaceTime or Skype, why not give them a quick call. After a long day of work you may want to sit back and relax and shut yourself off to the outside world, but having a quick call with mum or dad is the easiest way to stay connected and maintain a healthy relationship.
If you’re struggling to find the time to visit your parents or grandparents and end up spending half your time shopping for them and getting their medication, perhaps it’s time to consider an assisted living home. Getting them into an environment where they can try a new activity, can inspire fresh conversation and give a different perspective, which in turn will make connections between you and them come naturally. Try to have fun and rebuilding your relationship will be easy!
It is important to stay connected to your Mum and Dad – but not just for you! Everyone in the family can gain something from it! Why not arrange a big family get together, so your siblings and children can foster their own special relationships too? The responsibility of keeping your parents from being lonely shouldn’t be just down to you and making sure everyone participates will ensure that be appreciated by all. Make sure to take plenty of photos so that you have plenty of fresh things to talk about and connect over.
So put that phone away, forget about work for a bit, and enjoy some special time with your parents. We’re sure it will be more fun than you expect if you find new and exciting ways to connect!
If you’re finding it difficult to connect to your parents because they live too far, why not have a look at some of our care homes near you. We have homes across the UK and offer support for those who need assisted living, as well as providing accommodation and care services for people with dementia.