Aging Parents: 10 Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gifts that Get Used Up–no Clutter!

Spending time with family–children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren–is what most older mothers want for Mother’s Day. Being taken out for Mother’s Day dinner with them adds to the pleasure.

What they don’t appreciate are gifts that become clutter–
–that they really don’t need or want
–that give them “problems” if they’re old because they need to figure out where to put them–
–where to store them,
–how not to hurt the giver’s feelings, and
–how to get rid of them.

10 Mother’s Day Gifts–that don’t last forever and are
thoughtful, eye-appealing, delicious, indulgent, exciting, pampering, practical

Pretty Packaging

 1. A pretty box* (she can recycle later to hold another gift for someone), with thoughtful card saying something like the Valentine message of several years ago: “I’ve put loads of love in this box. When you need a little, just open.”  Possibly accompanied by a picture of yourself/ family/grandchildren/ pet/hearts/candies–you get the idea.

2. Pretty, minIMG_2976iature-size cupcakes from the bakery (or DIY). Sr. Advisor R loves the looks and the taste–just the right size for an older woman, she says.

3. Nicely presented selection of special teas or coffees

4. Beautifully decorated box of favorite candy or R’s favorite candy (See’s which we hand-pick at the store, or the Sweet Sloops from Harbor Sweets)

5. LaDuree or other macaroons–eye-appealing, delicious, indulgent, extravagant

6.  Lottery tickets–exciting for some; gifted in a pretty box or bag. Doesn’t the anticipation of possibly winning add some fun to an older mother’s life?

7. Lotions/oils could be called pampering, depending on the cost. Older skin is at risk for dryness. Moisturizing products to the rescue. Know your mother’s favorite or ask what’s best for older skin. One 93-year-old swears by Aveeno. She says it’s feels light on the skin, while keeping it from getting dry.

8.   Perfume is not in style in some places. However, one 74-year-old grandmother has a favorite perfume. It’s one gift she loves, she says–and can use it up. Check out Mom’s favorite perfume.It’s usually nicely packaged.

9. Gift Certificates
–Appointments at the hairdressers–or at beauty colleges (less expensive), help women look better and no doubt feel better when they look in the mirror. Messy hair spoils appearance–no news there! Make arrangements, make a gift card. This gift can lift an older  mother’s (or younger one’s) spirits and get couch potatoes out of the house.

–Pedicures are a necessity when people are either no longer able to reach–or clearly see–their toe nails. Older women’s toe nails aren’t necessarily visible to us. Have you checked your mother’s? Old nails can get thick, hard to cut and ugly. It’s recommended–especially for diabetics–that pedicures become routine around age 65. What could seem like an indulgence for younger people, becomes a necessity at a certain age.

–Movie script and restaurants’ gift certificates get Mom out of the house with Dad or a friend for entertainment or a meal. Moms say a break from cooking is a gift.

10.  A pretty spring-themed box of stationery or note paper for moms who still enjoy writing, accompanied by attractive “Forever” stamps.

Flowers always seemed synonymous with Mother’s Day and I assume we’ve all gifted beautiful bouquets and arrangements over the years. While in her 90’s Sr. Advisor R said nicely that she no longer had the energy or inclination to dump the dead flowers and mushy water out and clean the container, even though she hated looking at drooping, dying, or dead flowers.

So we’ve given up gifting flowers. Admittedly, if I lived near–in addition to the chocolates–I would no doubt fill a pot with red geraniums for Mother’s Day and put it on her porch. (And replant or recycle when the plants died).

There’s still time to get these non-cluttering gifts and make mothers happy! And doesn’t this help them age well.

*boxes from Dollar-type stores

Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely tips, information and research from top universities and respected professionals–to help parents age well.

Related: Click “Great Gifts” tab under header at top.

Aging Parents: Mother’s Day Gifts–Fashionista or Frumpy Dumpy, What’s a Daughter to Do? 2015. Part 1

Look good, feel good. New clothes can lift spirits and that helps parents age well.

Most women like to look good, yet aging issues, including lack of energy, may dampen a woman’s enthusiasm for buying clothes. Mother’s Day provides a chance to update older women’s wardrobes. For fashionista’s daughters, shopping for Mothers is fun; for others it’s a chance to help frumpy-dumpies look good.

Have you noticed? older fashionistas dress skillfully to hide figure faults that accompany aging. Flabby arms, unflattering waistlines, sagging what-evers, are some of the culprits. Flattering tops (collar or not), with longish sleeves, can hang gracefully over a large waistline and/or hips. They can hide a multitude imperfections, as well as nicely pull an outfit together.

My 101 year-old mil’s favorite clothing catalogs (now on-line) are below, carrying a wide variety of  smart, well-priced clothing and accessories for women ages 50+++. No wonder they’re popular with many older women, as seen by the commenters’ ages.

Appleseeds– “Loved” by a woman over 75

Appleseeds: (855) 737-2574 –Read the comments as you view items you are considering. eg. 2 of 7 comments about this Appleseeds sweater: “Perfect Fit and Purchase Price. Love this sweater…..goes with any solid color….very pleased.” (Age 75 & over) “The soft colors of spring wrap you in warmth and comfort when you wear this great sweater. It is light weight yet warm, goes with just about anything…”(Age 65-74).  Machine washable cotton.

Pants, shirts, skirts, sweaters, jackets, coats, pant suits; accessories, handbags, shoes, gifts–you name it, Appleseeds has it.

Chico’s: (888.855.4986) store locator.The styles below can cover up many figure faults. 27 commenters ages 50+ to 70 make this “Kelli Cardigan” worth a look–especially at the sale price. The Caitlin Ruana is also popular with the 60-70-year olds, having average and curvy body types. (Click images) .

Kelli Cardigan

Chico’s Kelli Cardigan

Caitlin Crocheted Ruana

Chico’s Caitlin Crocheted Ruana

Draper’s & Damon‘s: (800-843-1174) store locator in 5 states– advertises “Chic comfort fashions for mature women.” Sr. Advisor R has purchased from their catalogues for decades. Click the link to view well-coordinated outfits, good styles, and popular manufacturers like Alfred Dunner and Brownstone Studio. D &D is especially popular with 54-75-year old shoppers— on-line, through catalogs, or in the 5 states where store are located.
     Women ages 54 to 75+ purchased and love this blue mosaic mum shirt jacket. Ditto for the Hand-painted Silk Kimono, which I just noticed is on back order, expected May 22. (If you love it, copy the picture and put it in a small box for Mother’s Day.)  Also check out  this SALE link, and/or Clearance link where this blue top is $19.97
                                              Fashion Signature Knits® Swing Jacket by Brownstone Studio®

Mother’s Day Gifts, What’s a Daughter to Do? continues with Part 2 on Saturday.

Note: Clicking on each image will take you to site and item’s details.

Related: Click “Great Gifts” tab under header

Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely tips, information and research from top universities and respected professionals–to help parents age well.

Aging Parents: A Great Mother’s Day Gift–Inexpensive Yet Priceless

…So Thoughtful and One-of-a Kind

GETTING A HEAD START ON MOTHER’S DAY (5/10/15) BY REPURPOSING STUFF

Don’t we always notice family photos when visiting elders? Whether at home, in assisted living, or in nursing homes, the dearly departed alongside fresh young faces of grandchildren and great-grandchildren occupy prime space. I’m not old enough yet to know if there’s comfort having them around but I’m thinking there is.

I love reusing stuff and this wonderfully-decorated picture frame caught my eye several years ago at my friend Linda’s home. She decorated it for her mother with an old photo of the two of them, surrounded by various mementos and “stuff.” Click photo to enlarge. Personalization possibilities are limited only by our imagination. 

When asked, Linda generously agreed to let me photograph her frame for my blog. Such a great gift for Mother’s Day, or any occasion deserving a truly personal gift. While technology has changed our method of taking and storing photos, I think frames will endure to preserve special memories. Clearly true for the older generation.

Needed:
–a picture frame with mat (Linda likes black )
–a glue that dries clear and is strong enough to hold the weight of the “stuff”
–old photo of Mom and you–or your choice
–unmatched earrings, small brooches and pins, chain, tie tacks, college sorority/fraternity/honorary pins, buttons to fill empty spaces, whatever you can imagine.
–if wanted: a stand for the picture frame (stands now in “Clearance” at TJ Maxx store near me)

Years ago, Linda tells me, a friend– whose mother had died a short time before–asked a favor. She wanted to use items belonging to her mother in a way that would keep memories alive. She brought Linda one of her mother’s rings and other meaningful jewelry and Linda produced her first frame. Note: The matting inside the frame is easily decorated with some creativity and minimal skill. For those with no skill or creativity, gather the needed “stuff” together and ask a favor of a friend like Linda.

This is one of my two favorite gift ideas, the other being the personal note in the heart-shaped-box  that Monique shared with me several years ago; reposted every year in advance of Valentine’s Day.

Both gifts must make aging parents very happy. And doesn’t that help them age well!

Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely tips, information and research from top universities and respected professionals–to help parents age well.

EASTER AND PASSOVER THOUGHTFULNESS THAT HELPS PARENTS AND ELDERS AGE WELL

Passover and Easter: Another chance to lift elders’ spirits and Help Parents Age Well
IMG_1062

Grocery stores, drug stores, and Dollar-type stores have countless inexpensive items for Easter baskets.

IMG_2981A little cash and a little creativity, and ribbon and some cellophane if you like, can turn an ordinary basket into an unexpected surprise that lifts spirits and brings smiles.

   Passover  April 3-11
Easter April 5

The Last Supper was a Passover Seder, thus Easter and Passover are linked calendar-wise and as celebrations of miracles:
The Exodus of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt with the Red Sea’s parting.
The Resurrection of Christ after the Crucifixion.

IMG_2973Our elders fondly recall traditions that brought generations together: Passover with Seders and children looking for the hidden matzo; Easter with church services and children looking for Easter eggs. And always a special meal.

Holidays evoke warmth of family, feelings of togetherness. Yet we know holidays can be depressing for older people, especially those living alone, void of children and invitations to join family celebrations. On the other hand, opportunities for bringing pleasure to old and/or lonely people during Easter and Passover are many:

IMG_3007

Click to enlarge photos

Attending Easter services together, then…
…make the outing special by driving to a place with beautiful surroundings
…going to a restaurant in town where aging parents who don’t get out much can take a short walk (walker? wheelchair?), enjoy seeing normal activity and the window displays.
…having a meal at home with family–togetherness, conversation, participation…

…When Easter or Passover meals are at home and elders want to help, accept the offer. We know how good it feels to contribute.

One of our former Senior Advisors who lived into her 90’s, proudly reported that she made: chopped liver, matzo balls, gefilte fish, and horseradish for the Passover seder. Not easy at 89.  She said she was able “to work it out so I could make everything ahead.” And best of all perhaps for her, “It was a good feeling because everyone wanted to take some home–there wasn’t anything left.”

Last but not least, thoughts about the frail, isolated elderly who can’t get out easily: A visit is a gift in an of itself. Additional options:

IMG_2977…Bring… a little lunch or snack (“nothing big,” I’m told) to share while you talk (consider dietary restrictions if known)
…a few holiday decorated cookies or cupcakes
..an easy-care living plant–possibilities: philodendron [sweetheart plant], fern [nephrolepis], spathiphyllum [peace lilly–wallisi variety] or kalanchoe.
…a flowering plant for a sunny indoor spot or patio
…a bouquet of flowers

….allergies a problem? What about a basket filled with bunnies or matzos, and candies and a leafy plant.

Easter and Passover celebrate miracles. While we can’t make miracles, showing thoughtfulness to our elders is precious. (Actually it can be a miracle if normally unthoughtful family members decide to “buy in.”) And adding interest to life helps parents and the elders we care about age well.

IMG_2985.Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely tips, information and research from top universities and respected professionals–to help parents age well.

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY–ps. If you’re seeing this after St. Pat’s Day*

*These are such excellent plants for elders that anytime you can easily buy one, which is around St. Patrick’s Day, why not go for it!

IMG_3913

Oxalis Regnelli –Shamrocks at Trader Joe’s in Arizona.

Bring interesting, fun to watch, blooming-year-round, easy-care Shamrock plants to elders for St. Patrick’s Day. Green or purplish leaves that open in the morning and close at night, they bring a little life into the home.

IMG_3914Seemingly at $4.99 –now $2.99–don’t they make great last-minute (or even extra) St. Patrick’s Day gifts for aging parents–or anyone we care about?!  Click link for earlier post about these and other easy-care, flowering-year-round plants.

—AND ENJOY A SPIRITED ST. PATRICK’S DAY.

 

Aging Parents: Make Elderly Happy~Thanks to St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day. Another opportunity to make elderly people happy: happiness created by anticipation if we’ve planned ahead to do something with them; unexpected happiness from an unexpected gift or communication. And you don’t have to be Irish to participate.

A NYC ad campaign, ubiquitous in the NYC subways throughout the ’60’s and 70’s, proclaimed: “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s real Jewish Rye.” Likewise in NYC, we don’t have to be Irish to love corned beef and cabbage, catch the spirit, and participate in St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Every important politician, it seems, is Irish that day, marching–with high visibility– in the popular  St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

4 Ideas to Lift Spirits and Make Elders Happy:

Oxalis regnellii Shamrock Plant

Oxalis regenlli /Shamrock Plant~Click to enlarge

1.  A clover plant giftoxalis regenlli is a three-leaf clover–a perfect St. Patrick’s Day gift for elders. It needs little care, likes light but doesn’t require much sun and if it’s getting dry, we’re warned–the clover begins to droop. Its leaves open each morning, close each night, and it flowers throughout the year. Hard to kill, fun to watch, and easy to love.

The one above is a bad example, with only one flower. (Result of going on vacation.) The only work is cutting off the dead flowers. Doesn’t cause any allergies unless you eat it!

Usually Trader Joe’s sells inexpensive oxalis plants for St. Patrick’s Day. Perhaps due to the cold NY weather, there were none yesterday when I shopped there. Don’t know the situation in warmer climates.That said, there’s still time to purchase one in florist shops or at nurseries and corms/bulbs are sold on-line (Click oxalis link above.)

2. A gift of an Irish beverage: Guinness, a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream, a bottle of whisky, or tea. According to IrishCentral.com, “Ireland is famous for Guinness, obsessive tea drinkers and some of the best whiskey on the planet.”

3. A gift of foodIrish Soda Bread:
BX0216H_Irish-Soda-Bread_s4x3.jpg.rend.snigallerythumb.jpeg –a particularly good gift for aging parents, grandparents and elders we care about. I loved it when my counselees’ would bring some, made by their mothers, to my office.  Some bakeries are selling soda bread now.  (Link gives video and recipe for those who have time and like to bake).FN_Corned-Beef-Cabbage_s4x3.jpg.rend.snigallerythumb.jpeg

        –Corned beef and cabbage or shepherd’s pie: –to eat at home (ours or theirs). Otherwise plan to cook a favorite food and call with a dinner invitation; or take elders out to dinner so they can eat whatever they wish. In any case, add an Irish beverage–Guinness? whiskey? Bailey’s Irish Creme? Irish coffee? tea?

4. Unexpected communications: elders prefer a phone call or a snail-mail card to email.

We didn’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s Rye Bread. Likewise, we needn’t be Irish to love the St. Patrick’s Day spirit. Can we take advantage and use this opportunity to lift the spirits of our parents and grandparents?

         

.

Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely information and research from top universities and respected professionals, plus practical information–to help parents age well.

Elderly love–Desire too

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAYHAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY

What is it that’s so endearing about seeing an old couple holding hands, walking arm in arm, smiling at each other in that certain way?

Is it what each one of us hopes for when we hit the old age mark?

I remember my birthday party some years ago. It was a small dinner party with close family and friends–a mix of ages from my infant niece to three elders–late 80’s-mid-90’s.

We sat around a large table in a hotel’s small private dining room. When the meal was winding down, I asked a question of the older guests. It was something like: “What would you tell us younger people that we should know, but might not be aware of?”

The oldest guest, my friend’s mother in her 90’s (the lady I took to lunch at a bar for her 100th birthday) shared: “I may be old, but Inside I feel like I did when I was an 18-year-old (pause) with all the same desires too.”

It’s so easy to forget that inside an old body can be a young-feeling heart.

With wishes that we can help aging parents and the elders we care about
find that young spot in their hearts this Valentine’s Day.
From Help! Aging Parents