Entertainment for Elders– Lifting Spirits in Winter

PFS Garden in Spring ~Click to enlarge

Philadelphia Flower Show ~2013  Spring blooms inside                      (Click to enlarge)

Lifting Elders’ Spirits, Lessening Winter Woes

Entertaining elders and aging parents in winter can be problematical. Too many storms and chilling temperatures lead to winter doldrums, especially in parts of the US this year.

Understandably many older people hesitate to go out, except for necessities. Cabin fever. Grumpy dispositions. Inertia.

The antidote: Think spring and take elders to a flower show. Leave the cold and the reality of leafless trees and non-blooming plants and enter the sunshiny atmosphere and beauty of spring.

Flower shows abound in February and continue for months. Chances are there’s one that’s not far away. No matter the size of the show, it’s uplifting to experience spring in winter.

Mature tree~in forest exhibit PFS 2014

Mature tree~in forest exhibit PFS 2014                   Click to enlarge

Major shows, like the Philadelphia Flower Show, import mature trees, thousands of flowering plants, and tons of dirt to create gardens of our dreams and beyond.

Philadelphia Flower Show 2013There may be entertainment. There are always exhibits, usually tempting plants and gardening accessories for sale, lectures, and something to eat.

Many shows are handicap accessible and have wheel chairs (some noted below). It makes sense to plan ahead for the major shows*.  Money-saving packages for hotels, transit etc. often exist.

Feb. 19-22: Connecticut Garden and Flower Show Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford.

Feb. 19-22: Rhode Island Flower & Garden Show “Garden Adventure,” Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence. Handicap accessible; wheelchairs available.

Feb. 20-22: Arkansas Flower & Garden Show” Statehouse Convention Center, Little Rock

Feb. 20-22 and Feb 27-March 1: Southern Spring Home & Garden Show “Carolina Calling,”The Park Expo and Conference Center, Charlotte, NC.

Feb. 21-Feb. 22: 19th Annual Garden and Bonsai Festival Davie, Fla.

Feb. 27-March 1: Vermont Flower Show “Spring Reflections, Champlain Valley Exposition, Essex Junction, VT. Check out “History and Fun Facts.”

*Feb. 28-March 8: Philadelphia Flower Show “Lights, Camera, Bloom” is among the largest and most prestigious flowers show in the world. So timely for those experiencing the winter that parts of the US has endured. Handicap accessible; wheel chairs available. March 11-15:

March 11-15: Boston Flower & Garden Show “Season of Enchantment.” 100 years old, show will be held at the Seaport World Trade Center. Limited number of wheel chairs available “on loan.”

March 14-22: Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier. Wheelchairs available at no charge, first-come, first-serve.

March 18-25: San Francisco Flower & Garden Show “Mother Nature Going Wild,” San Mateo Event Center, San Mateo (I love the design, photos and color that come with scrolling down this link to the show.)

April 15-19: Cincinnati Flower Show “Celebrate Cincinnati,” in downtown Cincinnati along the banks of the Ohio River at Yeatman’s Cove.

According to Web MD, 1 in 4 people experience winter woes which normally end in April. A flower show may be just what the doctor ordered to lift their spirits.Click to enlarge



Related: Calendar of 2015 Flower Shows in US

Also related: “Beating Winter’s Woes,” Web MD


Aging Parents: Feel-Good Outing Ideas~ After A Long, Cold Winter

2013 Philadelphia Flower Show

2013 Philadelphia Flower Show

Feel-good Outings

Aging parents needn’t be couch potatoes to feel depression or cabin fever due to a harsh winter. It’s easy for anyone! Cold, an absence of sunshine, and slippery sidewalks can make anyone feel cranky, if not depressed. “Trapped in the house,” “Looking at the four walls.” I’ve heard these expressions from elders, no doubt so have you.

And “cranky” may not go away easily. Negatives like a bad health diagnosis, another friend’s problem,  the world’s problems, not to mention loss of a friend, pet, or part of a support system (dentist, hair dresser) add to being miserable.

If one is clinically depressed, we’re dealing with something entirely different and it needs to be checked out with a parent’s physician. If it’s crankiness, however, getting out of the house for something interesting, different, fun and/or entertaining can make a difference. And if we introduce the plan ahead of time, elders can look forward to the event for many days, which helps lift spirits. Sr. Advisor R calls that “a carrot.”

Always dependable: a movie (not Netflix in this instance) out of the house, at the theater…not far away. Smell (eat?) the popcorn, fall asleep if necessary in a comfortable seat, escape the unhappy present temporarily for the screen’s environment.

For feel-good outings and (depending on where you live) a farther-away destination with aging parents, consider:

1. Heard Indian Market, March 1 and 2 in Phoenix, Arizona. Escape the winter weather.  A jacket or sweater suffices in the early morning; by mid-morning be ready to shed it.  Indian Market offers outdoor entertainment (dance, music), good food, exhibitions of basket making, weaving, pottery, jewelry making… And there’s no better place to view a huge assortment of–and purchase–fine crafts, inexpensive to very expensive, from over 600 American Indians. Although I’ve seen people in wheel chairs, aging parents with decent mobility do better. The market is set up in the very large parking area and the adjoining open space of the Heard Museum.

2. The Philadelphia Flower Show--March 1-9: the biggest Flower Shows in the US is, on the other hand, handicap accessible. And it’s glorious! Being totally surrounded in the Convention Center by Spring, in Winter–especially this year–is priceless.  (Wheelchairs are for rent until they run out.)

That said, check out membership. Dual membership comes with 2 free tickets and that’s a savings; but what I especially like is being able to rest in comfortable chairs and have free tea and/or coffee in the Members’ Lounge, as opposed to sitting on the hard folding chairs along the walls at the perimeter of the show. The show is so big, everyone takes a break at some point.

3. Portland Flower Show,  “Storybook Gardens,” March 6-9 in Maine. Website is currently being updated so come back soon for more info.

4. The Boston Flower and Garden Show, March 12-15, at Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center. Have heard wonderful reports in past years. Over 150 home and garden vendors, huge display gardens, horticulture society representation, and garden lectures this year. Limited wheelchairs on a first come, first serve basis.

4. Chicago Flower and Garden Show, March 15-23, is the last of the early East and Mid-West Flower Shows.

5. San Francisco Flower and Garden Show, March 16-23 in San Mateo, Calif. Looks good.

6. The Coronado (Calif) Flower Show,  April 27-29, is no doubt wonderful.  The San Diego area is a gardener’s paradise. And the landscape at Balboa Park, where the famous San Diego zoo is located and not far from Coronado, is horticulturally gorgeous. Simply being in the Coronado/La Jolla area can lift the spirit.
*            *            *

If flowers aren’t for everyone, what about auto and boat shows to help elders forget winter and look forward? Check out the 2014 Auto Shows of North America Schedule. Also check out the boatshows.com calendar. Some boat shows have just begun–or are about to begin now–including:

1. New England Boat Show (Boston) Feb. 22-March 2
2. St. Louis Boat and Sportshow (Feb. 26-March 2)

There’s a World Flower Show in Dublin, Ireland March 18-22
Philadelphia Flower Show preview video
A look at last year’s Chicago Flower and Garden Show
More Philadelphia Flower Show specifics

Changing often: “Of Current Interest” (right sidebar). Timely links to research and information from top universities, plus some fun stuff to help parents age well.

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