Help Aging Parents With/By Simple Creativity on Valentine’s Day

Think Valentine’s Day. Doesn’t it conjure up thoughts of youth, lovers, girlfriends, boyfriends? Aging parents don’t immediately jump to mind.

Remember the excitement Valentine’s Day generated in grade school (secret valentines placed by classmates in a big decorated box?), then as a teenager and finally as a young adult?  But what about aging and old people?

Perhaps the following, from a grandmother in her late-80’s, sums up most older people’s expectations for Valentine’s Day: “In my younger days I sent Valentines to my 4 children and their children–my grandchildren.  I’d put a few dollars in the grandchidren’s Valentine. But I haven’t done it recently–there are so many grandchildren and great-grandchildren now.”

When I asked what she’d like for Valentine’s day she laughed and said, “Any time someone thinks of you–it’s nice. It would be nice to get a Valentine in the mail, but I’m not expecting any.”

Getting something (other than junk) by snail mail, still brings pleasure–especially to older people. (I experimented and learned a lesson sending e-mail holiday cards to a couple in their mid-60’s, a couple in their mid-80’s–plus two people in their 40’s–in December.  Follow up: Only the people in their 40’s opened the email. The mid-60’s couple thought it could be a scam and the couple in their 80’s didn’t even remember seeing it in MAIL on their computer).

I think it’s safe to say, doing something nice for aging parents and grandparents needn’t be elaborate. It can be as simple as mailing a Valentine–or a recent picture of a grandchild glued to–or enclosed in–a Valentine.  And of course you can make the latter. Everyone learned how to fold a red piece of paper in half and cut the 1/2 heart in grade school. Some double-stick tape adheres a photo in the center! Voila!

Handmade Valentines (which I once made) are cherished and much less costly than store-bought. When I saw the Valentine Tea Cup on the Stewart video, (video playlist), I was again inspired. I’ve printed out the template for the tea cup and will look for some paper (maybe even stiff wrapping paper) to make it. The Valentines on the video look so professional and adult children who do scrap-booking will find them easy to make because they probably have some of the decorative punches etc.

I don’t do scrap-booking or have punches. And I may fold a heavy piece of paper in half for the card and make only the cup and spoon.  But I’ll no doubt rummage around for a small silk flower, piece of fabric or a ribbon to glue on somewhere….maybe even make the two-dimensional effect by rolling two small balls from paper towel pieces and gluing them to the cup so it stands out. Then I can put the tea bag, VIA coffee packet, or gift card behind the cup to make it 3-dimensional.

Since I’m not a baker, I wouldn’t attempt baking and decorating a cake, petits fours or

Inspiration Martha Stewart...Ice Cream Sandwiches

cookies. That said, there are many sites offering recipes and while daunting, the “easy” cakes on this site could be worth a try. Martha Stewart’s cookies would be my speed, love how they look and the recipe looks simple enough-but then I’m not a baker.

Simplicity on Valentine’s Day seems to be treat enough for older people. Something hand-made (a card), edibles (French macaroons, cookies, a cake, indulgent beverages)–or a phone call, a visit or a meal out–convey thought, caring and love. And another opportunity to help parents age well.