When we were children, our parents made sure that we weren’t alone. They were our first, best friends and as years passed, we made other friends. We ended up making so many friends that our parents became “parents” and not friends anymore. When we grew up, we never thought that our parents were growing older; older and lonelier. By the time we finished college and started setting up our lives, our parents enter the retirement phase of their lives or are at the dusk of their careers. And once they stop going to work, they are completely stuck at home. At first, it might seem like a much needed break to them fun and relaxing because they don’t have to go to work anymore, but later on, they will start to feel lonely.
In a country like India, most of the women of our parents’ generation spend their lives taking care of the house. Like the restricted space they live in, their social connections are also confined. She might be friends with the neighbors and your relatives, but that’ all she has got. A study that was conducted between 2002 and 2008 revealed that loneliness is a very important factor that resulted in functional decline and death after the age of 60 (1). This is why it is super important to make your parents feel that they are not alone and to encourage their social interactions. Read on to know more.
What Was The Study Exactly?
The study was conducted among 1600 participants started in 2002 and the elderly people were followed up once in two years until 2008. The participants who had more meaningful relationships were healthier and lived longer when compared to those who expressed loneliness. A decline in health refers to a decline in their ability to carry out activities that they used to do without much trouble like climbing the stairs or doing extreme tasks that required more strength.
It doesn’t mean that the person has to be around a lot of people to stay healthy in the old age. What they seek are meaningful relationships even if they are a few. Nobody wants to live in a big house with many family members who don’t even have time to sit and chat with even for a few minutes, right? Also, it doesn’t mean that you’re a terrible child for leaving your parents to live alone. As long as you’re taking care of all their needs including their emotional needs, you’re fine.
How To Spend More Time With Your Mother
If you say that you don’t get enough time to meet your parents often, we get that. This is the story of every person who is working hard to meet their ends. In fact, your parents would have probably met their parents rarely when they started working and setting up their lives. And that’s okay, because life is supposed to be this way. It’s difficult, but you can always find your way around the problems if you really want to look into it. There are many ways in which you can maintain a balance between your spouse, children, parents, and work.
1. Try To Live With Your Mom
This will give your mom a lot of time to interact with your children and you. Living with your parents and taking good care of them is the best thing you can do for them. Getting back home and spending time with them becomes much easier. Yes, it’s not as easy as it sounds because there are many other factors that are involved in making this decision like the place you work, the school where your children study, or if your parents want to move out of their house to come and live with you. If living together doesn’t work out, there are many other things to do as well.
2. Call Her Every Day
Call your mom every day if you live away from her. Yes, every day! There’s nothing wrong in calling your mom every day to ask her how her day went and to encourage her to involve in more activities. Discuss your day with her and ask her opinions about the things you’re worried about. She may not understand your problems the way they are and you may have to explain a lot. But she has a lot of life experience that will help you.
3. Take Her Out
Take your mother out on a date whenever you can. Keep aside some time for your mom and let nothing else affect that time. Ask your partner to take care of the kids for a while and if you can’t take them along with you. Go on a lunch date, a movie night, or a shopping day! If you’re tired after a long working day, take your mom to the spa and get a massage done together.
There are tonnes of other stuff that you can actually do with your mom. You just need to squeeze your schedule a bit and get more creative. Remember that your parents took care of you when you were weak and vulnerable and if you don’t do that for them, they will be as miserable as you would have been without them in your childhood. How do you spend time with your parents? Tell us in the comments.