You made plans to visit your mom and dad. It doesn’t matter whether it was their birthday or a holiday or just a plain old visit, but you aren’t going to be able to make it. Even before they retired, they looked forward to seeing you and the grandkids. You know your visit was going to be the highlight of their week.
What do you do when you miss a visit with your senior parents?
Plan in Advance
In actuality, you already should have planned for such an eventuality, because it’s going to happen.
Here are some ideas to have ready when you’re unable to make a visit.
- Write apology letters or cards in advance that detail memories you shared. Don’t date them. For example, include a vignette about fishing with your dad and the one that got away or making cookies with your mom or family vacations. Send one as soon as you know you’re going to miss an important visit with your parents.
- Keep your local florist or delivery shop’s number on your phone so you can order a gift that can be delivered that same day. You can now purchase flower, candy, edible, plant, balloon, and other arrangements that will arrive the same day you order them.
- Send a care package. With a care package, your parents will receive constant reminders of your love and care. Here are some ideas.
Obviously, gifts can’t replace your presence, but they’re evidence you care.
An added advantage of sending a gift is your parents can show it to their friends.
What do you do when you have to reschedule a visit with your parents?
- As soon as you learn you can’t visit, call them and reschedule. Try not to call and cancel, no matter how busy you are. By rescheduling your visit, you’re making them a promise that you won’t forget them. And try not to make any of these gaffes during your conversation.
- Send a video of you or the entire family apologizing for not being able to make it.
- Send a substitute. Maybe you can’t make it, but another relative can. Call your siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles or children to see if someone can stop by.
- Make your next visit extra special. Take your parents out to eat or to a concert. If your parent lives in a retirement community, attend an event so they can show you off to all their friends.
- Make sure it doesn’t happen too often. Your parents were always there for you; reciprocating is only fair.