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

Posted on 18 September 2018

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

son hugging his mother on graduation day

If we’re lucky, our parents support our every step growing up, preparing us for a healthy future full of self-discovery. Loving us, disciplining us, and giving us enough space to make our own mistakes, they create the foundations we need to struggle, explore and succeed as adults.

We need this resilience, this rootedness, as our life decisions become bigger and more complicated. Moving to another place, getting married, buying a house, bringing up children: these are momentous steps that often carry an emotional and financial burden.

When these significant milestones arrive in our lives, we’re overwhelmed with excitement. Yet the unexpectedly high costs can leave us feeling anxious and unsure.

mother and daughter shopping together

Turning to our parents for help in such situations isn’t uncommon. In fact, research by SunLife shows 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.

In these moments, a straightforward ‘thank you’ sometimes feels inadequate. We’ve rounded up alternative ways to show appreciation.

Make a sentimental gesture

Nothing shows gratitude like a sentimental gesture. It can be as simple as a personalised photo-book with some of your favourite memories – your most recent family holiday or your unforgettable wedding day. It will leave a lasting impression.

Offer them support

Your parents have done a great deal for you over the years, now it’s time to give back wherever and whenever you can. Picking fallen fruit from the apple tree, clearing away after dinner or offering to walk the dog, these little tasks don’t take much time or energy but will help to lift their day.

Write a letter

Sometimes it’s hard to say out loud just how much you care. So why not write it down? Let your words reflect your appreciation. Not only will a letter convey thought and consideration, it may be something your parents treasure for years to come.

Take the time

Taking the time to really enjoy each other’s company is a great way to show your gratitude. Planning a family day out or visiting them for lunch will make them feel like an important part of your life, helping to strengthen your bond. This can be especially beneficial if a parent lives alone.

Buy them something special

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? It’s wise to plan what you can afford and start adding your parents’ dream items to a wish list.

Plan to financially support them

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. Consider if you could do more with your money, so you’re in a better position to support them financially, if necessary.

We owe a great deal to our parents. Finding new ways to thank them for what they do will ensure they feel newly appreciated and loved. If they get a touch misty-eyed, don’t be surprised. It feels good to be thanked in 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.