It turns out that hanging with your mother might be a life-saving activity. Just think, for decades, she dedicated her entire life to making sure you were healthy and thriving, and one study claims that by simply hanging out with mom, you can return the favor.
Hang Out With Your Mom More, Says One Study
One study, performed several years back by the University of California, looked at around 1,600 adults, all above the age of 71. The study, which included participants spanning gender and socioeconomic status, consistently found that those who had less connection with others died sooner than those who established meaningful connections and relationships.
In an aging population, loneliness can actually kill you! In the years following the initial study, the study found that some 23% of participants who had identified as lonely died while only 14% of those who claimed not to be lonely passed away.
As people age, the need to stay connected to other human beings becomes perhaps more important than once believed. It's so important, in fact, that the lack of social connection later in life can be a deterrent to one's health. It is no great secret that life gets busy really fast, and sometimes simple acts of calling your parents or spending a few hours with them fall to the wayside. Make sure that you dedicate some time in your life to interacting with the elderly so that they can continue to be around for a long time.
Ways to Connect With Your Aging Mom
You will notice that as your parents start to get up there in years, the time you spend in one another's company starts to look different. That's okay! Life is all about adapting. Make sure that you tailor your favorite pastimes to what makes sense for your aging mother.
Spending Quality Time With Mom and the Grandkids
If you have young children, incorporate them into your quality time with your mom. Everyone will benefit from gathering the generations together. You can plan elaborate means of hanging out with your kids and your mom, or you can keep it casual and simple. Often, it isn't what you do with your aging mother that makes it valuable; it is simply the act of engaging in the behavior.
- Plan a trip to a local park.
- Play at the playground.
- Talk daily walks around your town.
- Take the kids and your mother on a weekly or monthly outing to museums, zoos, aquariums.
- Invite your mom to volunteer at the kids' school.
- Hold a standing FaceTime or Zoom call with your children and mother if she lives far away.
- Vacation with your kids and your mom at least once or twice a year.
Activities to Do With an Active Senior
Your mom is getting on up there in years, but she can probably still beat you in a foot race. Age isn't slowing her down one bit, so enjoy these active years with her.
- Do some gardening at your house or hers.
- Walk or hike together.
- Bike ride to a farmer's market.
- Go to local restaurant openings.
- Take a class at the local community center.
- Volunteer at an animal shelter together.
- Take in a ballgame, eat a hotdog, relive the good old days.
- Head to the beach and soak up some sun.
- Meander around a nature center.
- Try your hands at some bird watching.
- Volunteer your time for a good cause together.
Activities to Do With a Non-Active Senior
Even if mom can't move around like she used to, there are plenty of mental activities that the pair of you can bond over. Maintaining mental sharpness is essential for the elderly, and engaging in varying, mentally stimulating activities are crucial to mom's health.
- Make a book club. Read the same books and then discuss them at different times throughout the book.
- Bake something yummy.
- Sit on the porch and listen to music.
- Play board games like chess, checkers, or cards.
- Have a little knitting circle. See if your mom has any pals who may want to join. You have enough love to spread!
- See movies or plays together.
- Complete crossword puzzles together.
- Start scrapbooking.
Start With the Health Benefits Before the Senior Years
It is evident that making time for mom in her senior years has a clear impact on her health, but you don't have to wait until she hits those golden years to start the process of friendship. Spending time with mom in the early years can make connecting down the road easier for everyone. You could even come up with some special nicknames for mom and yourself to help cement this new stage in your relationship.
Making Space for Middle-Aged Moms
Middle age is a strange time for many women. The babies are growing up at rapid speed and becoming their very own independent selves. As little humans let go of mom's hand and start taking the hands of others, (gulp! Dating!) moms can begin to feel pushed to the wayside and neglected. It is hard to readjust your life and realize that you are more like an underpaid taxi driver than your kid's bestie. The process of making time for mom can start during these teenage and young adult years. Mom will appreciate the time and attention that you put into her, because to her, you are still her baby.
- Invite mom out for some shopping; she will be so thrilled to be included she will probably even buy you a few new items for your closet.
- Fill her in on your school and social life. Give her a few updates each day on your life.
- Sweat it out at the gym; take a pilates or yoga class one evening a week.
- Get some work done together. You have a test to study for, and she has a major project due at work, so make extra space at the dining room table and be productive together.
- Make a Tik Tok or Snapchat with mom, get silly, and have some social media fun.
- Call mom and update her on your schooling or a job advancement, or fill her in when you get a good grade on a paper or a promotion at work.
- Let her "friend" you on social media! She might not be able to use "The Gram" but she will be happy to be a part of your account.
- Share a spa day or get your nails done.
- Go to her for advice. As you enter adulthood and encounter questions about life, ask mom her thoughts and views on various topics.
- Take mom to your favorite bar! If you're of age, introduce her to funky new snacks and drinks. You might be surprised to see that mom can still throw down.
- Bring friends and new love interests around your mom.
- Send her flowers and funny poems a few times a year.
- Call her up just to say thank you. You don't need a specific thing to thank mom for, heaven knows she has done so much for you over the years.
Benefits for Younger Generations
It isn't only your older loved ones who are benefitting from quality time. You and your children also reap some serious benefits by hanging with your mother. Spending quality time with grandma increases children's emotional intelligence, boosts happiness and pro-social behaviors, and combats mental illnesses like depression. Grandparents can also teach younger generations about where they come from regarding their cultural and familial heritage. This understanding and education are essential in younger generations' ability to feel connected to their roots.
Your older relative offers a unique and meaningful friendship as advancing in years changes the makeup of how people view and value friendships. Older generations seem far more able to let the little things go. They see bigger pictures and know what they do and don't want in terms of relationships.
Call Your Mom
If you value your mother, give her a call, drop by her home, and make her a priority. Her very existence might depend on your actions!