How to have fun with your aging parents + Free book!

How to have fun with your aging parents book

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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How to have Fun with your Aging Parents: I want to go to Lithuania by Christina Britton Conroy
on September 2017
Genres: Family & Relationships, Family Life, Inspirational, Mental Health, Parenting
Buy on Amazon US | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Buy on Amazon UK

‘How to have fun with your aging parents’ is based on a lifetime of hands-on experience of its author – Christina Britton Conroy. She has worked as a recreational therapist in a nursing home, and is a former Senior Center Director. She is also a certified music therapist and creative arts therapist.

Personality plays a big part

Christina believes that a key to engaging with elderly parents (particularly if they are suffering from dementia) is to think about your parent’s personality. This could be significantly affecting their behavior; sometimes without you or them consciously being aware of its influence. For example, is your parent: Stuck in a rut? Self-isolating? Dangerously independent? Unreasonably demanding? (Or maybe a combination of two?).

She invites you to consider your relationship to your parent, both in the past and in the present. And to give some thought as to what your parent might need, in order to feel validated and whole.

Building the foundation

The author takes you through basic questions such as How does your parent see him/herself? How do you see your parent? How do you see yourself? And how does your parent see you?

This is no in-depth psychological profiling exercise. It’s merely to encourage you to think about the foundations that your relationship to your parent is built upon. Defining this will in turn help you communicate with each other better.

Bringing pleasure

Another key is to discover what your parent enjoys. She suggests a range of simple activities you can do together, or even alone but in the same room. On the thorny subject of whether someone suffering from dementia can really enjoy life, she makes an interesting observation. “I see no benefit in forcing a demented person to give up a pleasant dream reality in favor of an unpleasant real reality.”

The sound of music

Aging parents #dementia #musicAs a music therapist, Christina places great value in the healing attributes of music. “The fastest way for me to develop a relationship with a patient is to sing their favorite song.” She recommends a simple “drum game” to improve communication between both parties.

And to prove that age is no limitation, she describes how she has taught 80-plussers to learn an instrument for the first time, or take up one they have not played for decades.

In doing so, she points out that learning a new skill can rekindle passion in an old one.

Touching stories

Throughout the book, Christina adds delightful but honestly realistic stories from her career as well as her own family relationships.

There’s a lot more in the book, such as coping tools, shedding healthy tears, and telling compassionate lies. In fact the book, despite being less than 100 pages, is a treasure trove of useful information and practical recommendations.

In summary, I believe the simple, easy-to-follow steps outlined in this slim book could prove highly beneficial to a lot of people. Moreover, they could give hope and bring joy in the midst of difficult and challenging circumstances.


Christina is giving away five electronic copies of ‘How to have fun with aging parents’ to subscribers of TheBookOwl.

If you are interested, drop me a line ( and I will put you in touch with Christina. It’s open to subscribers only, so if you haven’t yet subscribed, you’d better do that first.

There are only five copies available: so first come, first served!


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25 responses to “How to have fun with your aging parents + Free book!

  1. Sounds to be a very interesting read and lots of sound advice in what you have said Denzil, As someone who had both inlaws who were sufferers, I can relate.. And music and sing alongs were something they both enjoyed. And they remembered the words as it brought happiness and smiles.. 🙂
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Sue 🙂

  2. Wonderful review and the book sounds great. I have heard that music memories live in a different part of the brain and even people with advanced Alzheimer’s can still remember songs. I have heard reference to a choir of Alzheimer’s patients and their caretakers, but do not recall any of the details. Music therapy is very popular in nursing homes and hospitals. Great post.;

    • Denzil

      Thanks, glad you appreciated the review. It seems that the aspect of music is the one that has triggered the most interest, maybe not surprisingly

  3. Denzil, a wonderful review of a rewarding and practical book. Dementia affects so many in today’s society and anything that can help us reach people suffering from the disease is great. Music seems to bypass normal communication and I’m touched to read that people are learning new instruments or picking up music after many years in spite of their illness. Although it must be very difficult at times, I think the key is never to forget who the person is, their loves, interests and see if you can carry this forward in any way. A positive book to help all.

    • Denzil

      Thanks Annika for your appreciative comments. One of the author’s patients took up the guitar at the age of 81. Not only was he encouraged himself, but he brought optimism and hope to others around him.

  4. This is a great topic for those of us who are getting older and are lucky enough to still have our parents. Neither of mine has dementia but they are forgetful at times. My sister and I joke that we are to remind each other if we ever get like that…and then respond that we’ll need to remember first.

  5. You won’t believe this, but my mother, who had a stroke in 2015 and now has dementia, is from Lithuania! She and I visited there in 1998. Now she lives in an excellent care home that offers music therapy to its residents.

    • Denzil

      You must be relieved that your mother is in an excellent home with music therapy Audrey. The subtitle of the book comes from a remark from a lady who didn’t want to go to bingo but wanted to go to Lithuania!

    • Denzil

      Yes Lucy, and what I liked about it was that it was so easy to read yet deep in its implications. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. I sent you a note and subscribed to the blog–I’d love to be entered in the book giveaway. Honestly, what hooked me is the idea that forcing an elderly person to deal with “reality” isn’t productive. Why not meet them wherever they are and enjoy the human connection. Children aren’t connected to reality in the same was as adults are. So why, at the end of our lives, must we remain with both feet on the ground? I love the idea that joy can be found without needing it to be based on the shared experience of a particular reality, but through a commitment to just go with the flow–wherever that flow may be.

    • Denzil

      HI Angela, yes I thought that was an interesting concept. I too have always thought that people suffering from dementia needed to be brought back into reality. I have noted your interest in the book and will follow this up, for sure.

  7. Sounds like a wonderful read and an important book for those facing, or even potentially facing these health concerns of aging parents. I’m currently going through health changes with my much older husband, so I can relate.

    • Denzil

      Thanks for your comment Debbie. Apologies for the tardiness of my reply but I have only just discovered your comment in my spam folder. Yes it is an inspiring book, particularly how the author helps to identify the type of relationship, although in your case it is more obvious of course.

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