Understanding your parents' love language can help you better take care of them

A love language is the way you express love AND how you want others to express their love for you. People usually practice this concept of love in a romantic way but did you know that it applies to all your relationships? Yes, that includes your relationship with your parents, too.

Aging Parents' Love Language


For many years, we were accustomed to the notion that we should do to our parents what they did for us in order to fully express our love for them.  One thing we can’t do, however, is read their minds. Sometimes, what we consider thoughtful is a waste of time for them or what we consider is important may not be on their priority list. This usually results in misunderstandings. The comforting news is that the issue is not with your action nor with your intention. You and your parents may just be speaking different love languages.

The five common love languages was coined by marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts. In the family setting, knowing your parent’s love language can help you better understand and communicate with them while also feeling valued and appreciated. It is one of the simplest ways to connect with our aging parents in a meaningful way.

Let’s get to know the five love languages, how they are commonly expressed and how we can communicate it. 

Words of Affirmation

How it’s commonly expressed: people with this love language appreciates compliments, verbalizing words of encouragement, highlighting supportive words

How you can communicate it: welcome the day by complimenting your mom or your dad’s efforts, or saying “I love you” on its own, or telling them how much you appreciate them

Quality Time

How it’s commonly expressed: people feel more loved and appreciated when they have your undivided attention

How you can communicate it: our parents also crave to spend more time with you, when you are with them, simply avoid using your phone or doing something else and be present

Receiving Gifts

How it’s commonly expressed: people feel that they are most loved when they receive gifts from you, no matter how big or small

How you can communicate it: let your parents know that you are thinking about them and bring some of their favourite food, something that they miss, or gift them a journal if they love to keep track of their daily activities

Acts of Service

How it’s commonly expressed: people that speak this love language feels more valued when they receive help or when you make things a little bit easier and more accessible for them

How you can communicate it: next time you visit them, cook for them or clean the common areas in their house, or organize their pantry so they can access things more easily

Physical Touch

How it’s commonly expressed: people feel loved when they sense your presence through warm hugs and gentle touches

How you can communicate it: when your parents are feeling down, give them a warm hug or hold their hand and stay with them until they feel a little better

Encourage your parents to learn what their love language is and go through this journey together. Discover your own love language as well by taking the quiz.

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