Aging Parents: Mother’s Day Gifts–Fashionista or Frumpy Dumpy, What’s a Daughter to Do? 2015. Part 1

Look good, feel good. New clothes can lift spirits and that helps parents age well.

Most women like to look good, yet aging issues, including lack of energy, may dampen a woman’s enthusiasm for buying clothes. Mother’s Day provides a chance to update older women’s wardrobes. For fashionista’s daughters, shopping for Mothers is fun; for others it’s a chance to help frumpy-dumpies look good.

Have you noticed? older fashionistas dress skillfully to hide figure faults that accompany aging. Flabby arms, unflattering waistlines, sagging what-evers, are some of the culprits. Flattering tops (collar or not), with longish sleeves, can hang gracefully over a large waistline and/or hips. They can hide a multitude imperfections, as well as nicely pull an outfit together.

My 101 year-old mil’s favorite clothing catalogs (now on-line) are below, carrying a wide variety of  smart, well-priced clothing and accessories for women ages 50+++. No wonder they’re popular with many older women, as seen by the commenters’ ages.

Appleseeds– “Loved” by a woman over 75

Appleseeds: (855) 737-2574 –Read the comments as you view items you are considering. eg. 2 of 7 comments about this Appleseeds sweater: “Perfect Fit and Purchase Price. Love this sweater…..goes with any solid color….very pleased.” (Age 75 & over) “The soft colors of spring wrap you in warmth and comfort when you wear this great sweater. It is light weight yet warm, goes with just about anything…”(Age 65-74).  Machine washable cotton.

Pants, shirts, skirts, sweaters, jackets, coats, pant suits; accessories, handbags, shoes, gifts–you name it, Appleseeds has it.

Chico’s: (888.855.4986) store locator.The styles below can cover up many figure faults. 27 commenters ages 50+ to 70 make this “Kelli Cardigan” worth a look–especially at the sale price. The Caitlin Ruana is also popular with the 60-70-year olds, having average and curvy body types. (Click images) .

Kelli Cardigan

Chico’s Kelli Cardigan

Caitlin Crocheted Ruana

Chico’s Caitlin Crocheted Ruana

Draper’s & Damon‘s: (800-843-1174) store locator in 5 states– advertises “Chic comfort fashions for mature women.” Sr. Advisor R has purchased from their catalogues for decades. Click the link to view well-coordinated outfits, good styles, and popular manufacturers like Alfred Dunner and Brownstone Studio. D &D is especially popular with 54-75-year old shoppers— on-line, through catalogs, or in the 5 states where store are located.
     Women ages 54 to 75+ purchased and love this blue mosaic mum shirt jacket. Ditto for the Hand-painted Silk Kimono, which I just noticed is on back order, expected May 22. (If you love it, copy the picture and put it in a small box for Mother’s Day.)  Also check out  this SALE link, and/or Clearance link where this blue top is $19.97
                                              Fashion Signature Knits® Swing Jacket by Brownstone Studio®

Mother’s Day Gifts, What’s a Daughter to Do? continues with Part 2 on Saturday.

Note: Clicking on each image will take you to site and item’s details.

Related: Click “Great Gifts” tab under header

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: Make Elderly Happy~Thanks to St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day. Another opportunity to make elderly people happy: happiness created by anticipation if we’ve planned ahead to do something with them; unexpected happiness from an unexpected gift or communication. And you don’t have to be Irish to participate.

A NYC ad campaign, ubiquitous in the NYC subways throughout the ’60’s and 70’s, proclaimed: “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s real Jewish Rye.” Likewise in NYC, we don’t have to be Irish to love corned beef and cabbage, catch the spirit, and participate in St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Every important politician, it seems, is Irish that day, marching–with high visibility– in the popular  St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

4 Ideas to Lift Spirits and Make Elders Happy:

Oxalis regnellii Shamrock Plant

Oxalis regenlli /Shamrock Plant~Click to enlarge

1.  A clover plant giftoxalis regenlli is a three-leaf clover–a perfect St. Patrick’s Day gift for elders. It needs little care, likes light but doesn’t require much sun and if it’s getting dry, we’re warned–the clover begins to droop. Its leaves open each morning, close each night, and it flowers throughout the year. Hard to kill, fun to watch, and easy to love.

The one above is a bad example, with only one flower. (Result of going on vacation.) The only work is cutting off the dead flowers. Doesn’t cause any allergies unless you eat it!

Usually Trader Joe’s sells inexpensive oxalis plants for St. Patrick’s Day. Perhaps due to the cold NY weather, there were none yesterday when I shopped there. Don’t know the situation in warmer climates.That said, there’s still time to purchase one in florist shops or at nurseries and corms/bulbs are sold on-line (Click oxalis link above.)

2. A gift of an Irish beverage: Guinness, a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream, a bottle of whisky, or tea. According to IrishCentral.com, “Ireland is famous for Guinness, obsessive tea drinkers and some of the best whiskey on the planet.”

3. A gift of foodIrish Soda Bread:
BX0216H_Irish-Soda-Bread_s4x3.jpg.rend.snigallerythumb.jpeg –a particularly good gift for aging parents, grandparents and elders we care about. I loved it when my counselees’ would bring some, made by their mothers, to my office.  Some bakeries are selling soda bread now.  (Link gives video and recipe for those who have time and like to bake).FN_Corned-Beef-Cabbage_s4x3.jpg.rend.snigallerythumb.jpeg

        –Corned beef and cabbage or shepherd’s pie: –to eat at home (ours or theirs). Otherwise plan to cook a favorite food and call with a dinner invitation; or take elders out to dinner so they can eat whatever they wish. In any case, add an Irish beverage–Guinness? whiskey? Bailey’s Irish Creme? Irish coffee? tea?

4. Unexpected communications: elders prefer a phone call or a snail-mail card to email.

We didn’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s Rye Bread. Likewise, we needn’t be Irish to love the St. Patrick’s Day spirit. Can we take advantage and use this opportunity to lift the spirits of our parents and grandparents?

         

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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.

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

 


Winners!

Related: Calendar of 2015 Flower Shows in US

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

 

Aging Parents: Gifts That Look Great!

They say “It’s what’s inside that counts.” No argument here. That said, doesn’t anything that looks great on the outside raise our spirits…and those of our elders?

Two gift-giving holidays are fast-approaching. I think of the value of extra nicely wrapped gifts–where the initial fun is seeing them, followed by the joy of discovering what’s inside. Again this year, the Garden Section of our Woman’s Club has purchased gift items and wrapped them attractively–always making sure they contain some plant material (nothing artificial).

Three days ago they were on display, lining one side of the main room at the Holiday Open House. Some are above, once again ready to be taken to a nearby nursing home the next day. The Club member, who has always headed this project and transports the gifts to the nursing home, reports that the patients “light up” when they see the carts filled with these packages come through the door.

The stuffed dog has its nose in the air, while the list of contents in the adjoining basket looks you right in the eye.

All gifts are on the approved nursing home list, since we don’t know the recipients. Note partial list in photo at right. The pine cone with red bow counts as plant material. (Click once or twice to enlarge photo.)

Of course when gifts are for parents and friends, the only rules for gifts are those you set. Tins of hot chocolate and boxes of cookies and candy aren’t off limits. Additionally you know their wants and needs.

Cellophane makes baskets and open boxes look great! Putting it over a basket with a bow or ornament at the top converts a plain basket of gifts into a professional-looking showpiece.

Ditto for today’s colorful Christmas bags….just gently twist red or green tissue paper around the gift(s) and put it or them in the bag. Use tape and wrap gifts in the traditional way if you wish. But it’s not necessary with the decorative bag.

This year I learned lining a box–inside and out with holiday paper–is easy, requiring just a scissors and scotch tape plus the paper. And placing wrapped or unwrapped gifts inside makes a wonderful display–no top needed (below). Cellophane around the box and over the top, tied at the top, is an option (but not necessary).

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Sometimes it’s the little things that ignite the spark of joy. A few extra minutes to buy tissue, cellophane, bags and ribbon can bring added excitement to aging parents and elders we care about, whether living independently or in a nursing home. As the letter Garden Sections members received years ago reminds us:

Dear Ladies,
My nice little plant is doing very nicely and is happy.  The Christmas tray and notepaper plus pens are a wonderful gift. We are all very appreciative of all the goodies you sent to us. You make our holidays much more exciting. We are old and sick, not dead. I hope you all know that your thoughtfulness is appreciated.
 My Christmas basket from last year still decorates my room.
Thank you and God Bless.
VM

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.
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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)

Related:
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 and Super Bowl 2014 Ads

Photo: Anheuser-Busch

What could be better entertainment for aging and elderly parents
than watching some of these ads, if they didn’t see the game?

Sunday, February 2, 2014. Super Bowl XLVIII parties. And those ads–so costly and creative! I was far away from the TVs (but admittedly near the food) in conversation with other women and truly I wasn’t missing the game. What I was missing were most of the ads. (Note: for Super Bowl 2015 ads post click here.)

I was in front of a TV to see Puppy Love, however. At its end, I thought about aging parents and elders in care centers who were football fans, or simply watched past Super Bowl games looking forward to the ads. Then I wondered how many were still watching on TV or had fallen asleep or no longer cared.

If spirits need lifting, Puppy Love and a few other Super Bowl 2014  ads could do the job. Check the links below then take your laptops or iPads to wherever your aging parents or old people you care about are, connect to the wi fi and share.

One network describes this year’s ads in part:

…Even with the economy apparently improving, it appears that our cultural hearts still are beating for the past, and not so much for the present or future. Nostalgia for what was — or what our faulty memories tell us was — was woven into more than a dozen Super Bowl spots, perhaps none with more characters per second than Radio Shack’s ad, which featured 20 real or animated 1980s celebrities, from Hulk Hogan to Mary Lou Retton to Alf.

This also was the Super Bowl where simple was good — sometimes even great. In Anheuser-Busch’s puppy ad, the simple message: Dog loves horse. For Hyundai’s ad: Dad saves son. For Chrysler and Coke’s offerings: America is good.

On Sunday night, for a change, so were some of America’s ads.
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When we bring the world in–especially to those who can’t get out–we bring in  stimulation, fun, life. Especially this year the Super Bowl ads will lift spirits and provide something fun and heartwarming to talk about as we try to help aging parents.

Note: For full screen, click bottom far right icon on ad’s screen

Puppy Love 
America the Beautiful
A Hero’s Welcome
Dad’s Sixth Sense
Gracie

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.

 

Aging Parents: It’s the Haa, Haa-py-est Time of The Year?

First posted 12/09. A reminder…

Sharing with Santa

 


It’s The Haa, Haa–py–est Time of The Year

     The words and melody from the radio fill my car as I drive to the post office to mail the holiday cards. We have snow, it looks like a winter wonderland; and kids, amid shrieks of laughter and merriment, are sledding down our shared driveway on anything they can find that’s large enough to sit on. Sun is shining, snow balls are flying, and I’m certain school vacation is adding to this happiest of times.
     And then my counseling background kicks in and I remember that holidays aren’t always the happiest of times for people. So I decide to check in with a few older people and see how they’re doing. As a counselor, I’m trained to ask objective questions–not leading questions that will give me the answer I want (or think I want). That said, let me share my findings.
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     The consensus seems to be, from my small sample–but there’s no disagreement–that this is the haa, haa-py-est time of the year for children who have none of the responsibilities of adulthood, for newly marrieds who are looking forward, and for young couples with children who still believe in Santa.
     It’s an especially happy time when older family members are geographically near enough to children and grandchildren so that they can gather together to celebrate and talk about shared past experiences. Meanwhile the excitement of the children in the family provides a background of energy and optimism.
     “The holidays are a time when our mind drifts back to past Christmases that were happy times. It’s a sentimental time,” recalls one 80-year-old widow. “It’s a wonderful time when families can get together, yet a lot of people are completely alone. As people get older, they have experienced losses. Especially for those who’ve lost their mates, other people’s happiness can be a reminder of the losses we’ve incurred. We’re just more vulnerable to that kind of thing when we get older.”
     “Unless there’s a lot of family around and a lot going on, it’s not the happiest time of the year. It’s depressing,” says a 70-year old man.
     There’s agreement that it takes effort for older people to find this a happy time. “It doesn’t just happen,” says one. “It’s what you you make of it when you’re older,” says another. “If you make the effort to be with people it’s good, but it can be exhausting. We may continue to decorate and continue to write the notes on the Christmas cards because we want our home to look festive an we like to get letters back after we write the notes. But we need to trim down and trim back so we aren’t too tire to enjoy.”
     So then I ask the question: How can younger people help? The answers:
 *            *             *
1. Keep in close contact with elders–aunts, uncles. Make sure they’re not forgotten.
2. A phone call even; it doesn’t have to be a visit. An old person related “I had a wonderful phone call from a far-away relative recently.” (Most old people prefer a phone call to an email.)
3. It’s nice to take older people out to something, but take them to something that is rather quiet, that isn’t too taxing an experience.
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Why not pick up the phone and talk with at least one older person who lives alone or feels isolated? We can brighten his or her day We can make older people feel special and cared about…because they are. Add we can add interest to their lives. Major studies confirm that connections are one of the most important factors in successful aging. It may not be the Haa, Haa-py-est time of the year for most older people, but we can make it better.