Lifting Aging Parents’ Spirits on Dreary, Rainy Days

Another dreary, rainy day in the northeast–the day before Easter, a time when we expect Spring weather to lift our spirits.  For me it’s cozy–rain pattering on the roof; my husband at home; each of us is doing what we want with few “must do’s” until we meet friends for dinner tonight.

Then I think about the older people who live alone on dreary days. My neighbor, with a husband, 5 adult children and umpteen grandchildren, is prepared for this kind of day. She has looked out for an independently-living 90+ year-old childless (and as I understand it “remarkable”) aunt for 10 years…through the good times and some major health events.

Idea #1: a movie on a rainy day

Every weekend my neighbor visits her aunt, bringing a film from Netflix. What’s better than watching a movie on a dreary day?  Sometimes it’s an old movie, featuring stars of her aunt’s era; sometimes it’s a current film. She and her aunt watch together and often have a snack as if they were at the movies. It’s something her aunt looks forward to and a responsibility my friend feels blessed to be able to do.

Idea #2: Live-streaming Forwards on a dreary day

We all receive forwards.  They can bring music, video, and interest to aging parents who use computers and know how to click the link.  Connecting with nature is uplifting and regenerating, so watching the live-streaming below should capture older people’s interest:

1.  The 24/7 (special light that doesn’t disturb birds, they say) live-stream video of an eagle pair and their 3 little eaglets. Who doesn’t love watching babies?

2.  The NY Times live stream of red-tailed hawks, Violet and Bobby, on their nest, waiting for their eggs to hatch–any day now. It’s mesmerizing. One person called it “a zen-like experience.” The fact that the nest sits on the window ledge of New York University’s President’s office–smack dab in the middle of the big city–attests to the hawks’ resourcefulness. Excellent technology makes this live-stream close and personal–actually, I think, addictive. 6/24–Note: After what seemed like interminable waiting, just 1 egg hatched; the 49-day-old hawk fledged (flew out of the nest) yesterday. Hundreds of thousands of addicted and emotionally attached viewers got an education from watching the daily drama. Here’s a time-compressed robin’s nest experience–it can’t replace, but it is nice to share, especially on a dreary day:

Idea #3: Links on a blah day

Links such as YouTube add entertainment to aging parents’ lives. Our lives are busy and, speaking for myself, there’s precious little time to watch and appreciate everything that’s forwarded. But there are elders who aren’t busy, who don’t have much going on, who feel down on dreary days. Selected entertainment can be a “pick-me-up.”

As we look for ways to help parents age well when those dreary days dampen spirits, why not give these ideas a try?

2/20/13 Help! Aging Parents again was 1st runner-up, this time joined by 3 additional  blogs for this honor. Check them and all finalists out on  And many thanks again for your vote.