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More than a 'thank you' - ways to show appreciation to your parents

Posted on 18 September 2018

Parents want nothing more than to see their children happy – whatever the cost. But, beyond a simple thank you, how can we show them our appreciation for all the emotional and financial support they give us over the years?

son hugging his mother on graduation day

When we were children, we didn’t think twice about the things our parents did for us when we were growing up. But if we were lucky, they were always there for us – to love, support and discipline us in preparation for adult life.

Even as we get older and life gets more complicated, our parents can be a valuable source of support for us, both emotionally and financially. Getting married, buying a house, bringing up children – these are big milestones that can leave us feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

Turning to our parents for help in situations like this isn’t uncommon. Our research tells us that 2 in 5 over 55s are providing financial support to their children or grandchildren*. We may feel hesitant asking for their help, but once we’re greeted with the familiar phrase ‘that’s what we’re here for’, the weight is lifted, and life becomes happier and easier once again.

When parents come to our rescue, a simple ‘thank you’ can sometimes be enough, but when they give everything to help, going that little extra mile will really show you appreciate all they do. So, we’ve rounded up five alternative ways to show your appreciation.

1. Offer a helping hand

Your parents have done a great deal for you over the years, and now it’s time to give back wherever and whenever you can. Find an opportunity to lend a hand wherever you can ­– whether that’s offering to walk the dog, picking up the shopping, or helping them do things around the house. It doesn’t take much time or energy, but it’ll help to lift their day.

2. Make a sentimental gesture

Nothing shows gratitude like a sentimental gesture. It could be something as simple as cooking them a meal or making them a personalised photobook with a few of your favourite memories – perhaps a family holiday or your wedding day. However you do it, it’s sure to leave a lasting impression.

3. Spend quality time together

Taking the time to enjoy each other’s company is a great way to show your gratitude. Why not plan a family day out or visit them for lunch? Little things like this can make them feel like an important part of your life and help you both keep your close bond. This can make all the difference if your mum or dad lives alone.

4. Give back

Is there something your parents have always wanted but haven’t been able to afford? A kitchen upgrade or that holiday they’ve been talking about for years? If you have the money to help them out, you could start adding your parents’ dream items to a wish list. Even smaller gifts like a surprise bunch of flowers would be appreciated.

5. Plan to provide financial support

As our parents get older, there may come a time to start planning for care. It’s a tender moment: after all their support, you may now be in a position to help them when they need it most. Thinking ahead is always a wise idea. Ask yourself if you could do more with your money, to make sure you’re a better position to support them financially, if necessary.

mother and daughter shopping together

Show them how much you care

We owe a great deal to our parents. And finding new ways to thank them for what they do will ensure they always feel appreciated and loved. Don’t be surprised if they get a little teary – it feels wonderful to be thanked in such a meaningful way.

*SunLife, A comfortable retirement – on the house, February 2018

Find out more about The SunLife Over 55 Equity Release Service

For more information and to check your eligibility, call on 0800 633 5566 or request a call back.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife?

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services. Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.