Aging Parents, Happiness, and Spring’s Little Things That Can Mean a Lot—See update 3/24/13

Help Older People Age Well in Spring: 6 Ideas

The first day of Spring, tomorrow March 20th, the vernal equinox–inspires idea #6.

BE SURE TO see 2013 update

1.  A big help, especially for older people who live in one of the 47 states that go on Daylight Savings Time and find technology difficult: checking that all clocks were set ahead last weekend and if not, offering to set them. Ditto for those clocks (ie. a clock up on a wall in the kitchen) that require ladders to reach the mechanisms.

2.  Especially in states that have bad winters, spring brings thoughts of nature, and gardening, and opportunities for thoughtful acts that bring happiness to older people.  Ideas: gifting a new pair of gardening gloves, seed packets, a flowering outdoor plant (primrose perhaps) for a temporary indoor touch of spring; or a flowering indoor plant that blooms year-round such as  Oxalis (Lucky Shamrock).  It’s in stores now, popular around St. Patrick’s day.  What about gifting a bird feeder or bag of bird or thistle seeds in climates where bird feeding continues for a while; or helping to clean up the yard and flower beds (or sending a grandchild to help)? Gardening help may be a big job, but doing something together with children and grandchildren is a gift in itself for aging parents.

3.  More sun and warmer days make getting out easier.  The Philadelphia Flower Show ended last weekend, but the New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid Show continues through April 25th. Friends said it’s the most beautiful ever. I agree. A large parking lot is set aside for handicap-stickered cars. The Conservatory is a bit of a walk, but on a nice day wheel chairs make access easy (didn’t see any walkers). Check out Orchid show link above.

4.  While flower shows seem to be more popular with older people (many older men and women at the Orchid Show and Philadelphia Flower Show), regional events, that include flower shows, are another option for aging/older parents. Examples: http://www.ncazaleafestival.org/ (N.C);  http://www.sfgardenshow.com/ (in San Mateo, Calif.);  http://www.yankeemagazine.com/issues/2011-03/features/spring-festivals/all (“everything” coming up in New England, courtesy Yankee magazine). Check local papers for big events as well as the small garden clubs’ flower shows.

5.  Spring brings the beginning of baseball season.  Taking aging parents to a game–be it major or minor league or grandchildrens’ games–is a wonderful outing in nice weather, especially for baseball fans.  Busy mothers and fathers often try to get to the last innings of a game, even if they can’t make the beginning.  This may be a perfect time-frame for aging parents who tire easily.

6.  Unusual entertainment: if you read this blog by–or on–March 20th, the vernal equinox–the first day of spring, at around 7:21 pm EDT day and night are about equal in length. Due to gravity forces you should be able to make an uncooked egg stand straight up!

And that’s our last idea for “Spring’s Little Things.” They help parents age well by adding something fun, thoughtful, enriching, different–that brings happiness to their lives.

Tomorrow I hope to have an egg-standing-on-end photo right here!  And here it is—3/20/11

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