11 March 2021

How to help your parents enjoy retirement

retired man with daughter

Retirement can be a scary prospect for some, as they don't know how they will fill their time or adjust to such a big change of pace. After all, we spend so much of our time working, retirement can come as quite a shock to the system. Further still, just because we withdraw, doesn't mean all of our cares and concerns disappear. With this being said, however, retirement can and should be a wonderful period of life to look forward to and there are many ways that we can help our parents enjoy it. They have been there for us and this is a great time for us to be there for them. Read on to discover some suggestions for how you can help your parents enjoy their retirement years.

Help them create a routine

Life after work leads to big change when it comes to our daily routine, and helping your parents adjust to this new way of life can really make a difference. Laura, from the lifestyle blog MissLJBeauty, has spoken to us about her tips for helping parents enjoy retirement and recognized the value of implementing a new routine:

“Retirement for most of us is the ultimate dream. We all talk about the trips we will take and the hobbies we will start but in reality, it can actually be a bit scary and overwhelming to have all this time on our parent's hands. My tip is to start to get them to wind down gently. There are no rules that say they have to throw themselves into retirement. I would recommend starting by making a routine. This will give their day a structure and don't forget to add in daily exercise. This is the time in your life where they need to really take care of their bodies by eating right and keeping hydrated. ”

Suggest hobbies to them

person gardening

Without work to fill up their days, retirees have an awful lot of time on their hands and after a few weeks lounging around at home, it's not surprising that boredom can set in. This is why keeping up hobbies and discovering new ones is so important. Rebecca, from the parenting and lifestyle blog Futures, told us that this is an area where children can play a role, encouraging parents to seek new hobbies and recommending activities:

“When my Dad retired, he loved it for the first couple of months being able to do what he wanted. After a while though, he got bored and actually went back to work! When he finally retired again, he decided this time to find a hobby from the off and I helped him work out what he liked to do. He had always liked doing puzzles and gardening, so he spent a lot of time doing those and we also started walking together a lot around our village until he was too unsteady on his feet. I cherish that time I got to spend with him. ”

Emily, from the family and lifestyle blog Twin Mummy and Daddy, spoke to us about her tips, suggesting that helping parents to find new activities is the way to go: “My advice for how someone can help their parents enjoy retirement is to encourage them to do all of the things they want to do but never had the chance to. It doesn't have to be something as extreme as bungee jumping (unless, of course, they want to!). It could just be gardening or walking more. You can help encourage your parents by working together on an allotmentor finding some nice new scenic routes you can enjoy together. ”

Laura, from MissLJBeauty, shared the following hobby suggestions with us and highlighted the benefit new pastimes can bring in retirement: “Why not get them to join a local club? Have they always wanted to learn how to play golf or learn how to speak Spanish? What about learning to swim? The world is their oyster, and it is time to learn something new. This is your parents time to make the most out of life. They have worked hard for retirement. Now do those things they have always dreamed of and really start to enjoy what they have worked hard for. ”

So, children should make sure to encourage this in their parents and recommend activities and pastimes that will not just fill up their time but be something they can gain great pleasure from in the years to come. You can suggest hobbies that you can enjoy together or even give them ideas for some big projects they can sink their teeth into, like remodeling the house or landscaping the garden. Activities like this will keep them busy, their minds working, and can bring a great sense of achievement to life. 

Invite them on regular days out

multi generational family on beach

Without the social contact from work and the need to get out of the house, there can be a tendency once retirement sets in for people to become a little more isolated. But children can help out their parents by including them in their own days out. If you are planning a trip to the beach, invite your parents, if you are taking your own kids to a local attraction, give your parents a call and see if they would like to come to. They will love being included in days out like this and while they might not accept every time, it will give them a lovely opportunity to interact with others, get out of the house, have something to look forward to, and a chance to spend some quality time with those they love.

Be someone they can rely on

While we don't like to think about it, retirement coincides with the time in life when age catches up with us and we start to need the help of those around us more than we perhaps used to. The difficulties that come with old age can make retirement difficult so children should make the effort to be someone that their parents can truly rely on for support, advice, and assistance. Perhaps they need a lift into town every now and then, perhaps they don't feel comfortable going food shopping alone anymore or would like some advice about their current living situation. You might notice that your parent is struggling with their mobility, for example, but they don't know what they should do about it. Lend them a helping hand, find stairlift prices to look at, and offer suggestions for how life could be made easier. 

Help them to relax

Some people find it easier to relax than others and for those who struggle, the idea of ​​retirement and taking things a little easier, isn't something they look forward to. We all know that person who can never sit still and always has to be doing something. While keeping busy in retirement is good, it's also important that retirees learn how to relax and know that not every day has to be a massive adventure. So, if your parent is a bit like this, try to find ways to help them relax, perhaps introduce them to techniques like meditation or yoga, the pleasures of reading, going for a nice walk, or help them find a new TV series to binge - perhaps something you can watch together. For those who struggle to relax, keeping active and occupied withtasks is a good route but learning the ability to rest and be still can also bring about many benefits.

READ ALSO: The benefits of creating moments of stillness in your day

Be a consistent presence in their lives

three generations on a sofa

Something that many people look forward to in retirement is the chance to spend more time with their loved ones. Help facilitate this by becoming a consistent presence in your parents’ lives by visiting them on weekends, inviting them over for dinner, and bringing the grandkids over. Doing things like this can bring a tremendous amount of joy to their retirement days. You don’t have to move in with them but especially if your parent lives alone, the pleasure of your company will be most welcome. It’s easy to leave visits like this for special occasions like birthdays and Christmas but try to make these gatherings more regular, make your retired parent a consistent part of your life and enjoy the quality time spent together.

Tips for helping parents enjoy retirement

  • Help them create a routine
  • Suggest hobbies to them
  • Invite them on regular days out
  • Be someone they can rely on
  • Help them to relax
  • Be a consistent presence in their lives

As you can see, children can play a key role in how much a parent enjoys retirement. This time of life can be filled with so much joy, bringing about some of the best memories of a person's life so if you can help make that a reality for your parent, it's surely an opportunity not to be missed out on.

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