If you're around my age (39), you'll likely relate to this topic because we are probably going through similar experiences when it comes to dealing with ageing parents. Of course, we should love our parents no matter what age they are but our relationship with them evolves just as we do and the way we show them our love also changes with time.
When we are younger, we are more focused on what we can GET from our parents (emotional and financial support, guidance, etc) but as we get older, we must shift our mindset to what we can GIVE them.
For most of us, our parents have been there through thick and thin. Even if we've had some ups and downs with our folks, we must acknowledge all that they have done for us and as they step into a new phase of their life it's time for us to show up for them. Here's how:
As our parents get older, memory sometimes fails or the speed at which they move might be slower than ours (speaking, walking, driving). If you think about all that they have put their bodies through during their life (including giving birth and taking care of YOU), it's only normal that with age it doesn't always function at its optimal level. Zip it, deal with it and remember that they don't enjoy having to ask you that question for the second or third time either.
It's easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and let distractions take our attention away when we are with our parents. I've been guilty of fiddling around on my phone while my father was chatting with me (this is actually impolite to do with anyone, not just your parents) and I now make a conscious effort not to do this anymore. Just as we like people to be fully present when we are speaking to them, show that same respect to your parents.
It's difficult for us to see our parents age but it's even harder for them to experience these changes themselves. They really don't need our grief in addition to adapting to how they are evolving. Put yourself in their shoes any time you want to comment on something that annoys you. We must remember that we will be in the same situation one day and we should think about how we would like to be treated.
Take a moment to think of everything that your parents have done for you. It's almost impossible to wrap our brain around the love they have given us over the course of our life. Showing them gratitude (in words and actions) is such a lovely way to return the favour for all the generosity they bestowed upon us. Plus, they are still rockin' it so tell them when they do something awesome!
Because our needs can be different, we don't always know when our parents require our support. It might be an ear to talk to, help moving furniture around or perhaps an errand to run. Remind them on a regular basis that you are just a phone call/email/Skype session away if they want a hand with something. Sure we're busy, but not too busy for them. They created us, we owe them for life.
I'll close off by saying how thankful I am for the two wonderful parents that raised me. We've shared many adventures together and I am happy to be there for them in the years to come. Love you mom and dad!