What Joy Loverde wants you to know about Creating Fun Things to do with Aging Parents


If my Mom had her way, she would watch television 24 hours a day. I am just the opposite.  I rarely watch television. So when it comes to enjoying each other’s company we agree to meet in the middle. I watch television with her on occasion and she makes time to do activities with me. That means it’s up to me to be creative and think of things that will occupy our time (and minds) to both of our satisfaction.

The good news is, doing new and fun things together need not be an expensive venture. Try some of these:

Reminisce: Old age is a time for remembering and weaving together life experiences that define who we are. Every older adult is unique and has a life story to tell. The idea here is to set aside special moments to talk one-on-one. Look around. Does your elder own an heirloom necklace or brooch? You might ask, “What is the personal significance of this object?”  Or how about asking,” Were your high school years the best of times or the worst of time?”

Feet Treat: Make your next visit with Mom extra special by doing something both of you will enjoy – a lemon-mint footbath. Here’s all you need to get started:

  1. Lay flat, large smooth stones in a plastic basin.
  2. Fill basin with lukewarm water.
  3. Add a sliced lemon.
  4. For every half-gallon of water, add 4 drops of peppermint oil.
  5. Rub 2 handfuls of peppermint or spearmint leaves together and add to basin.
  6. Slide feet over the slipper stones for at least 4 minutes. Ahhhh.

Live and Learn: When was the last time you both held a paint brush in your hand?  Invite Mom to join you for a one-day art class. Frame your masterpieces and hang them proudly side-by-side. To find inexpensive classes type “one-day art class” along with the name of your city in the Internet browser.

Give a little: Volunteer together for one day in your community – at a hospital or school. Imagine the heartwarming stories you’ll share at the end of the day.

Cut it out: Decoupage is something everyone in the family can do (if they can safely handle scissors). Use paper cutouts from magazines, wallpaper or photos to decorate wood boxes, canvas, frames, and small side tables. It’s a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. Visit the local craft store for decoupage kits.

Write about it: The art of writing knows no limits. From entering a poetry or short-story contest to writing letters to long-time friends – what  story would you like to tell together?

You’ll find lots more easy and inexpensive ideas in my book The Complete Eldercare Planner (Random House, 2009, Updated and Revised).

I hope you enjoy these ideas. I’d love to hear from you if you have creative ideas of your own to share: