As your folks get older, it’s important to call and visit them as often as possible. Of course, we all have busy lives, and we may not be able to spend as much quality time with our parents as we like. For this reason, it’s important to make it count when we do get a chance to hang out with them.

The obligatory visit to their suite or apartment for a quick catch up is appreciated, but a few times a year, take an afternoon to do something fun and really connect. Your parents took on the arduous job of raising you, the least you can do is put a little bit of thought into some fun activities they might enjoy.

Depending on what your folks like, you could take them golfing or hang around listening to jazz and knitting together. You could visit an author’s festival or go for a walk in the woods. Everybody has different tastes and there’s no right answer for everybody, however, these four activities are pretty well failsafe:

Movies & Plays –

Choosing a movie that you and your parents will enjoy is a fine art, but usually you can come to some sort of satisfactory consensus. Robert Redford’s swan song The Old Man and the Gun came out this past October and was well-reviewed across the board – a great example of a film that can please everyone!

But you don’t always have to hit the cinema. High-quality senior apartments and retirement homes often have small cinemas on the premises complete with large screens and state-of-the-art sound systems, so staying in might be an option too! If your folks are theatre buffs, treat them to a play once a year. Whether it’s repertoire theatre in a small town or a hit play on Broadway, there’s nothing like the rush of seeing live theatre!

The Aquarium –

Everybody loves going to the aquarium to see the manta rays, jellyfish, electric eels and exotic fish. Aquariums are also said to have a positive effect on seniors and many health benefits. The beauty of this outing is that you can just wander around and chat while enjoying the hypnotic, multi-coloured show. The relaxing atmosphere may cause your parents to remember exciting stories you’ve never heard and you might just stumble into a great conversation.

A Walk in the Park –

Hopefully your folks’ house or seniors’ residence is close to some beautiful greenspace, but if not, you can always drive to a beautiful public park and get some light exercise on a beautiful day. A change of scenery can be invigorating for older folks and if you’re lucky, there may be an opportunity to rent a rowboat or feed the ducks!

A Drive in the Country –

Perhaps even better than a walk in the park is a drive in the country. Throw on your parents’ favourite tunes and go for a cruise to local wineries, lookouts and points of interest. This outing also has the ‘change of scenery’ advantage and it’s a great excuse to listen to Elvis or Buddy Holly while rolling down the highway!

Whichever outing you choose, always remember to visit on your folks’ birthdays and try to get beyond small talk. Your parents are amazing people who lived in a strange and different time: listen to what they have to say!