If you do, the interaction of a phone call, and a visit at least once a week is something that should take priority.
For these folks, the hours are very long, and if they live alone, visits from people can be few and far between. I know when my mother was alive, the last 10 years of her life, she came to look forward to a visit, or a phone call from me a great deal. It lifted her spirits, there were times when I’d call and I could tell by her voice that she had a very lonely day. When I realized this, I would talk at length, about anything that came to my mind. My gardens, the antics of the animals I have (she knew them all, and loved them), my trip to town for necessities, and the hassles I encountered along the way; anything to bring a little laughter and joy to her life. Then, I’d ask her if she would be busy on such and such a day, if not, I’d come by and pick her up and she could ride along with me on a trip to town for something I needed (I didn’t always need anything; but it didn’t matter). When I did pick her up, we’d spend the whole day together, shopping, looking into a hobby we both were into, and try to find a certain “something” to help get the job done, then find a new place to have lunch. These were special times, and we had a ball.
Mother is gone now, and, as I remember those times; I don’t regret for a moment setting aside my time and putting her in the forefront of what needed to be done. I wouldn’t trade the memories of the times we shared for anything. I will never get another chance to do it again.
I hope you can see the value of putting your parents first, as they lose their strength, and their abilities. Before you know it; the opportunities are gone.
When I worked as a night nurse taking care of the elderly; many of them spent long, endless hours alone, either in front of the TV, the porch looking out at the world going by, or in their rooms alone. Most of them had kids, and some did make sure they came regularly and let them know they were loved and cared for. But, many of them were abandoned, and I saw by observation that their kids were too busy, and wrapped up in their own lives, to take any time with parents that had become strangers to them now.
Many times, the declining health, and problems with dementia cause a drift in the family relationships, because the kids don’t know what to do, feel awkward, or even ashamed of their parents because of their loss of abilities. I will be so bold as to say, this is selfish.
One day, if we live long enough none of us knows what we may have to face as our bodies begin to decline. We will hope for at least respect, and dignity to be shown to us, even in these situations.
So I hope this post prompts you to take special note of your loved one who may be elderly, frail, and you‘ve been out of touch. Pick up that phone, give them a call.