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
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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:

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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.

Aging Parents: Easter and Passover Treats–a Very Short Outing

Happy EasterHolidays provide endless opportunities to help parents age well. Taking elders out for a change of scenery is one–especially for those who are basically housebound, mobility challenged, or don’t venture forth except for essentials like doctors’ appointments. It’s uplifting, muscles are exercised, and it can be exciting–like those field trips we went on in grade school.

First, simply being with others–namely us–is special, even for grumpy and depressed elders who don’t readily admit it. Second, outings needn’t be a big deal. (The biggest deal may be helping elders get in and out of the car.) But the outing is a big deal for them.

Ahead of time, while on errands, be on the lookout for colorful/fun displays. Check out  Passoverdisplays at markets, florists, and specialty stores. While upscale stores aren’t necessary destinations, these stores no doubt put more money into displays. Take note of the ones that deserve a return visit.

Bakeries offer endless possibilities for Passover and Easter. Treats for the eyes and the taste buds. What’s more beautiful or delicious than colorful macaroons? No doubt French bakeries everywhere have tried to replicate LaDuree’s beauties.

IMG_2976And who doesn’t love tasty little gifts! At 100, Sr. Advisor R prefers small. Several small cupcakes are perfect for her.

Cupcakes on a stick are different andCupcakes on Sticks certainly pretty. Men–at least those I know–prefer the old fashion size. Bigger is better. Note the two sizes above. Of course all cupcakes are not pastel. And some have additional decorations–bunnies etc.

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While simply looking into the bakery cases delights the eye, what’s better than eating some of these sweets? And when shopping carts are available for less-confident walking older people, we hit a home run in our efforts to help parents age well: stability when walking; feeling normal (others use shopping carts); confidence to explore; exercise…and the sweets.

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Related: Aging Parents: Ideas/Thoughts for Passover and Easter

Photos: AJ’s, CVS, Safeway
NYC 2013 Ralph Lauren window
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Easter Window

 

 

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Passover March 25-April 2 2013 and Easter March 31: More Opportunities to Help Parents Age Well

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4b/%C3%9Altima_Cena_-_Da_Vinci_5.jpg/320px-%C3%9Altima_Cena_-_Da_Vinci_5.jpgAnother holiday (actually 2 holidays). Another opportunity in our efforts to help older parents and grandparents age well.

Passover begins at sundown on March 25 and lasts until nightfall on April 2.  Since Easter always occurs during Passover, the Judeo-Christian parts of the world celebrate miracles during the same time period every spring.

Many believe that the The Last Supper was a Passover Sedar. I’d never questioned it but was wondering “which night of Passover was The Last Supper” so I google that phrase.  First google offering: “Was Jesus’ Last Supper a Sedar?” It’s an interesting, well-documented and researched piece by Jonathan Klawansan assistant professor of religion at Boston University,  http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/was-jesus-last-supper-a-seder/ Skim it (it’s long) and decide for yourself. Or just put forth the question. It may provide food for thought and stimulating conversation as families gather together for the holidays.

Togetherness. Conversation–always part of these gatherings and of course, we know, connections and engagement are important factors in aging well. Older people have the opportunity for thoughtful discussion as well as reminiscing about old times and enjoying the energy of younger generations.

Last year’s Easter-Passover post https://helpparentsagewell.com/2012/03/31/easter-passover-miracles-and-opportunities-for-parents-to-age-well/lists 10 ideas for making Easter and Passover special http://thegenuinekitchen.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/matzoh.jpgfor older people. From enabling them to feel worthwhile by contributing to the celebratory meal, to going out for a celebratory meal, to thoughtful gifts for the frail and isolated elderly who can’t/don’t leave their homes, Passover and Easter easily lend themselves to enriching older people’s lives.

These holidays celebrate miracles. Granted we can’t make miracles; yet sometimes it can feel like a miracle when we can add enrichment in a special way…a way that gives aging parents and elders a lift and perhaps a lasting memory. Happy Passover * Happy Easter

Aging Parents: Ideas/Thoughts for Passover and Easter (updated 2011)

Holiday Thoughtfulness and Aging Parents
Peter Cotton Tail Garden Basket

A small bunny peaks out from under a flowered hat at bottom left of this spring basket, made by my friend. Wouldn’t it bring joy to an aging parent or to a senior in a care facility?

2011   Passover: April 18-26      Easter: April 24

We celebrate miracles: The Exodus of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt with the Red Sea’s parting. The Resurrection of Christ after the Crucifixion. Older generations fondly recall traditions that brought family members together: Passover with Seders and children looking for the hidden matzo; Easter with church services, children’s Easter egg hunts, and a special Easter meal. The timing of Passover and Easter are inextricably linked. The Last Supper was a Passover Sedar.

Holidays evoke warmth of family, feelings of togetherness. Yet we know holidays can be depressing for older people living alone, without children to visit or invitations to partake in family celebrations. On the other hand, opportunities for bringing pleasure to old and/or lonely people during Easter and Passover are many:

Attending Easter services together, then…

…dining at a place with beautiful surroundings that make the outing special
…going to a restaurant in town where aging parents who don’t get out much can take a short walk (walker? wheelchair?), window shop, enjoy seeing normal activity
…having a meal at home with family–togetherness, conversation, participation…

When the Easter meal is at home and elders want to help, accept the offer. We know how good it feels to contribute.

Ditto for Passover. One of our Senior Advisors says proudly that she made: chopped liver, matzo balls, gefilte fish, and horseradish for the Seder. Not easy at 89.  She says 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 and there wasn’t anything left.”

Passover Sedars follow a prescribed ritual– usually at home with family and often invited guests.  Yet there were no children to look for the traditional hidden matzo at a Sedar on the West Coast last year. What to do? Creative thinking perpetuated the tradition.

The oldest guests were sent on the hunt. And an excited 86-year-old found the matzo. While not traditional, life today with children and grandchildren living near is not the same as in times past. Adapting is the name of the game for holidays (and so much else).

And last but not least, what about the frail, isolated elderly who can’t get out easily? A visit is welcome and bringing little gifts, while unnecessary, is always a pick-me-up.

 Suggestions:

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
…flowers
…allergies a problem, what about a basket like the one above?

Easter and Passover celebrate miracles. While we can’t make miracles, planning ahead and giving older people something to look forward to is an additional gift–a gift that contributes to helping parents and elders age well, especially during holidays.