How many times have you heard to “honor your parents?” When was the last time you considered this as a personal edict? Consider why this is as relevant to adults as it is to children and identify practical and thoughtful ways of honoring parents as they age.
Honoring one’s parents was clearly something close to our hearts. The relationship between parent and child is more dynamic than any other. Roles change throughout the years and may ultimately become reversed. This creates challenges in coping with the inevitability and difficulties of life with aging parents. Here are 10 ways that you can honor your aging parents.
It may require silence, or count to ten, or prayer, but honor your parents or any elder with kindness is above all else.
Reach out to them.
Many parents do not initiate contact. They do not want to be intrusive but rather wait patiently for you to contact them. This miscommunication often leads to a feeling of isolation and hurt for either or both parties. It can be the trigger for many passive aggressive actions and is often entirely avoidable.
Adolescents desire to be understood by their parents. More oft than not this never happens to their satisfaction. In adulthood, however, it’s time to shift the focus to understanding them. Their behavior may seem just as bizarre to you now, as yours did to them years ago. Think back to what you needed from them to feel validated and understood. Sometimes just listening and attempting to understand is enough.
Seek their forgiveness.
No one is perfect. Ask forgiveness for your lapses or the rebellions of your past. Own your part in whatever conflicts that may have occurred between you. The humble person is a peacemaker. In fact, we must practice humility to maintain peace in our lives.
This does not have to be done in a direct way, rather allow it to take place in your heart. While it is true that a humble heart heals both confessor and hearer, don’t wait for them to ask. It may never happen. Forgiveness is for you and the “letting go” will facilitate a healthy new beginning.
When making decisions regarding their future and their care, include them. Except in the case of significant mental illness, advanced dementia, etc., don’t hide things from them.Many elderly feel dejected and powerless over their own lives. This is a recipe for depression and loss of the will to live. Make time to hear their concerns, and respond thoughtfully to them. Even if it is necessary to go against their wishes, it is important to allow them the opportunity to express their concerns and as much as is possible, be involved in whatever decisions are made.
Ask their advice.
Share some of your lesser problems. Parents don’t stop caring. They also have a lifetime of advice just waiting to be doled out, hopefully judiciously but don’t expect that.
Ask them to pray or speak blessings over you
Allowing them to occasionally resume that leadership role, if they desire, is a powerful way to honor their place in the family. If their role was never that of spiritual leader, ask to pray with them or over them before you part.
Respect their legacy.
Help preserve their memories of childhood while you can. By recording (writing, audio, video) their history you are letting them know that you value their past. If they are resistant, stress the importance of leaving a record or legacy for the generations to come. Prove yourself a living legacy. Share with them the stories, values, and characteristics that impacted you in your formative years.
Hold or touch them, even if it is just a squeeze of their hand before you leave. That may be the only sensitive and loving touch they receive that day and never (ever) underestimate the power of, “I love you.”
Baxter Senior Living is a Senior Housing Community that will be located in Anchorage, Alaska off of Baxter Road. If you are seeking Anchorage Senior Housing, or Assisted Living Facilities in Alaska please contact us today to make your reservations. (907) 891-9696 or fill out our contact form and we will be in touch! contact us
Learn more about Baxter Senior Living Alaska Memory Care Services and Facilities