Want to know one of the best possible Valentine’s Day gifts you can give an aging parent–especially one who is lacking confidence, feeling beaten down, or is having a hard time? A sincere compliment…spoken–or why not written on a Valentine?
Older people and the elderly, in the three groups just mentioned, get relatively few compliments when compared with younger people. And isn’t making people feel good what Valentine’s Day is all about?
Remember the Valentines with our names on them that were pulled out of the red decorated box in our grade/elementary school classrooms on February 14th? Of course the most popular kids got the most Valentines, but–possibly owing to a sensitive teacher–everyone in the class got at least one pretty Valentine with a nice message.
I remember my 80-something-year-old grandmother would tell us–sometimes several times–about compliments she had received. And why not? It made her feel good, did something for her self-esteem and we kids would usually chime in in a way that confirmed the compliment and made her feel even better.
Yesterday a lovely and sensitive friend, Carol, who I’ve known since college, sent me a note. In it she enclosed a note that my husband’s mother (senior advisor, R) had recently written her from the rehab facility, thanking Carol for her Christmas card and wishes for a speedy recovery from her broken hip (described in my January posts).
I phoned R, to read her Carol’s note and the complimentary and fitting adjectives she used when writing about R. While R is truly an amazing woman (all my contemporaries say she’s a role model), who gets many compliments at 97, I knew she was pleased when I read Carol’s note over the phone. And then she said, “And Carol sent me a Valentine….” and I could hear how unexpected and pleased it made her feel.
Almost all the really old (90+) people I sent Valentine’s to over the past decade have died–the last one being Alberta, the wife of the WWII veteran (mentioned in my June posts about veteran’s benefits), who died in her sleep last week. Edie–at 100–remains and I will e-mail her Valentine to her daughter’s e-mail (she now lives with her daughter) in Tennessee.
Sincere, not contrived, compliments make us all feel good. But the unexpected ones written on a Valentine must make aging parents and the elderly feel especially good. Another brighten-the-spirits idea– as we strive to help parents age well.
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.