Spending Time with Elders Without Overspending

With so many things we juggle daily, we often end up spending less and less time with the people who need more and more of our attention each day: our aging parents and grandparents. While it is understandable that we will always have other responsibilities to attend to, it is also important that we do not neglect the ones who have taught us most of the first things we knew.

Holidays are great opportunities to bond with your elderly loved ones. But any other day can also be a perfect moment to catch up with them and do activities that show you still care. Without traveling too far or spending a lot, there are actually many things you can do and enjoy together. Here are some activities that can help keep their memories sharp, their bodies strong, and put smiles on their tender faces:

Have a classic movie marathon – It’s as simple as it sounds. Treat your elderly to a day of his/her favorite movies from way back when he/she was still rebelling against the social norms. This would bring back wonderful memories that may give comfort and amusement to them. Try to ask ahead of time for their preferred movies and be prepared to hunt for classic favorites and black and white films. Also, make sure that the snacks you serve are healthy and appropriate for their diet. Try going for fresh  mix fruits and unsalted versions of pretzels and popcorn.

Explore the social media – It’s probably part of your daily (even hourly) routine, so why not let the grandpa and grandma enjoy the wonders of social media as well? You can show them photos of relatives that live across the country or old friends they haven’t seen in years. It’s a great way for them to be updated on the lives of people they have probably missed. You’ll be surprised by how much time you’ll spend on this, just enjoying adorable baby pictures and laughing at photos that make you reminisce about the family gatherings in the past.

Host a karaoke night – If your elderly has always been a music lover then this activity would be perfect. Invite them over for an evening of singing and a little dancing. Have a few relatives over too. This form of entertainment will help keep them physically alert while having fun. Encourage them to pick their own songs and try to go with the flow and be cooperative when they start some oldies but goodies selection.

Run, take a brisk-walk, or swim – Of course, physical exercise is highly recommended to anyone of any age. Going for a run, doing brisk-walking or swimming are great ways for your elderly to keep their bodies active. Having you as an exercise buddy would give them more reasons to be excited about it too! Make sure however to consult with their doctors before doing any physically strenuous activity. Always keep an eye on them but also equip them with communication tools in case they get lost. A reliable cell phone for seniors or even  a few coins to use in a telephone booth and some cash to pay for a taxi will be very handy.

Go out on a picnic – Visit a nearby park and let them enjoy an afternoon of picnic. The fresh air and the new surroundings will surely bring delight especially if they are  normally stuck at home just watching whatever is on TV. Allow them to walk around but always make sure you look after them. Don’t forget to bring their favorite food, but keep in mind that it must be healthy and doctor approved.

Yes, senior citizens can often be a little too grumpy and stubborn. But let’s try to look beyond their mood swings and see that they need attention and affection just as much as they need to religiously follow their prescription. Spending more time with the elderly will  not only benefit them but will also allow you to develop patience and understanding, bringing you more sense of fulfillment in the end.

Amanda Smith is a blogger based in San Diego, California. She loves writing about health and wellness, family and relationships, travel and photography and just about anything that tickles her fancy. When she’s not writing, she tries to catch up on her favorite sitcoms with her yellow Labrador, Chandler Tribbiani.