John McCain and Parents Day

John McCain and Parents Day

Three weeks ago we thought Senator John McCain had an eye problem.  To us it felt like nothing could ever stop him.  Then we heard the diagnosis, Brain Cancer.  It was a shock to the country but also to the family.  They are a close family and are ‘there for each other.’  All of us can learn from this about how fleeting the life of our parents is.  Today we celebrate Parents Day.


Parent’s Day is only a reminder of what children should do on-going.  As parents age, they need more contact with family and others.  Although this designated day is a reminder, regular contact and visits are important.  They are even more important is the senior has a special day (birthday, anniversary or lost a spouse or close friend.  There are many ways to engage the seniors in your life.  There are things to do whether you go out, stay in or talk via FaceTime, Skype or on the phone.  Visits are best but calls are good too.



Even if you call once a month, it is time to call more often.  A daily call just to say hello is appreciated more than one might realize.



Visits are special as seniors get hugs from and activities with their loved-ones.  Bring your children as they can get as much as they give to their grandparents.  Have ‘real’ conversations where both of you are talking and commenting.    Ask open-ended questions like, “How’s your day/weekend been?”  Parents might even ‘save up’ stories to tell on a visit.  Give them the time and space to bring these up.


Go Out:

If they can go out make sure there are places to sit and take a break.  Take them to visit friends. Take them shopping; take them to a restaurant or out for coffee.  Go to museums, concerts, plays, book readings, lectures.  Take your mother for a massage or get her hair or nails done. Take your father to the barber shop.  Visit a new town or part of town; take a tour to learn new things about the town.  Take a walk or give them a ‘ride’ in their wheel chair along the beach or around the block.  Visit a pet store or a shelter as pets often bring joy to visitors.  If their residence allows, help your parent choose a pet (can be a fish or turtle if dogs and cats are not allowed).


Stay In:

Bring music to listen to; CDs from the library are great – both their favorites and some new ones.  Get out the boxes on old photos, go through and talk about them.  They will love going down ‘memory lane.’  Find out if they would like to watch a favorite movie or TV show with you.  There are lots of options at no charge.  Discuss the plot and characters during the commercial breaks.  Play games, involve everyone who is there: cards, dominoes, bingo, hangman, etc.  Make them a meal that you share with them.  Make enough to have leftovers that they can enjoy the next day or two.  Package the leftovers in single servings for them.  If the laundry hasn’t been done, do it while you’re there.


Find out if they’d like a new view or their world by rearranging pictures on the walls and/or some of the furniture.


While there think about how they look and how they communicate as compared to last time.  Make sure they have a clear path to walk and that throw rugs are not in their way.


Think about visits with pets; bring yours along and tell friends and family to bring theirs to visits too.  Pets bring much joy to seniors.


Your parents will appreciate your contact on Parent’s Day and every other day.