Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Share Some Valentine Love with a Lonely Senior



What can you do to help a lonely senior feel appreciated on Valentine's Day?


Many aging seniors feel more alone every year. Many were widowed or never married. Many of their friends are beginning to leave them through death. Many outlive all their friends. Some are lucky enough to have children nearby, but even so, if their children have spouses or are part of a couple, they may be focused on their spouse or significant other on the day when people celebrate love. They may send Mom or Dad a card and / or make a phone call, but they may not take that lonely parent to dinner or go and visit on what may be the loneliest day of the year for those with no surviving partner or friend. There may be parties for those in senior residences, but that's not really personal. That lonely senior may be feeling pretty blue on the Red and White Day of hearts and flowers.

If that lonely senior is your mother or grandmother, get her the book Love You Forever to assure her you will always love her. It will let her know you appreciate her love for you and that you return it. It will let her know that you will always be there for her while she needs you, as she was there for you.  It would be best, of course, to take her to lunch and give her your present there, but if you live too far away to do that, send the book with a loving message on the fly leaf. Trust me, she will like it better than a Valentine card, and it can substitute for a Valentine card.

Love You Forever has become almost a classic gift book about maternal love. It is meaningful to all ages. Children, mothers, and grandmothers will understand its message of unconditional love. From the moment a mother holds her newborn baby boy, she begins to sing to him: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be. ”

She continues to sing her song whenever her boy is asleep, even as he grows up. Eventually he becomes a mature man, marries, and moves away, but she sometimes still sneaks over to rock him and sing the song to him. (Though it looks silly as shown in the pictures, a mother who misses her grown child can easily see it as a mental visit, a longing for the relationship she misses.)

As the years go by, the mother grows older and older. Finally one day she calls her son to come because she is old and sick and needs him. We watch him pick her up, rock her and sing his own version of the song to her. His version ends with “As long as I’m living my Mommy you’ll be. ” But she can no longer hear it. You’ll probably cry while watching him during those minutes he stands at the top of the stairs in grief before going down. Later, he continues his mother's tradition in his baby daughter’s room. He picks up his daughter and rocks her, as he sings the song to her. This is a great gift for mothers and grandmothers.


What Lonely Person Needs a Card or Gift from You on February 14?


When we still have partners, it’s so easy to overlook our parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or maybe aging friends and acquaintances who may have lost theirs. We may pay special attention to them the first year, and maybe even the next one when February 14 comes around. But we often move on with our lives faster than they are able to move on with theirs. We are younger and busier and tend to forget that they will continue to feel lonely for years after their loss — especially on days such as birthdays, anniversaries, and, of course, Valentine’s Day.

How can you help? The most important thing is to make sure your lonely friend or loved one knows you are thinking of them. If you cannot make a personal visit, a gift with a personal note might be in order.

Should You Send Flowers?


You can order flowers online to be delivered if your loved one is not allergic to them. What has always worked best for me, though, if I can’t deliver the flowers in person, is dealing with a local flower shop. If you’ve never been there, stop in and make sure the flowers are of high quality and the shop is pretty well established in town with a reputation to maintain. Let them know what kind of arrangement you have in mind and let them suggest what is fresh and plentiful that will meet your needs. They will know of a reputable flower shop that they work with near where your loved one lives. They will make the arrangements and see that everything is taken care of to your satisfaction. If you already know the florist is first-rate, a phone call can take care of the entire matter.
Share Some Valentine Love with a Lonely Senior
Farmer's Market Roses, © B. Radisavljevic

Last time I sent flowers, I called a local florist I had visited many times. I talked to the shop owner who assured me they had a reputable store to work with five hours away. I placed the order and it was delivered as expected and the recipient was very happy with the result.

Keep in mind that hardly any florists will deliver on Sunday, and this is also true on line. Make your arrangements at least two business days ahead of when you want delivery. If you wait until the last minute your flowers may not make it on time.

If you are fortunate enough to be close enough to buy flowers locally and deliver them in person, there are options other than flower shops for getting quality flowers at reasonable prices. The ones in this picture were for sale at a local Farmers Market the Saturday before Valentine’s Day at a very inexpensive price compared to flowers you would have delivered. You can also buy cut flowers and living plants at Trader Joe’s and at many local markets. This lets you see the actual flowers your loved one will get. Don’t forget to deliver them in or with a vase you can put them in, so your loved one won’t have to hunt for something.

Don't Wait Until the Last Minute to Shop 


You will want to get a card or gift you have obviously put thought into. (This also applies to husbands. I sold greeting cards in stores for ten years, and sometimes I’d start to panic about five days before Valentine’s Day when so many cards for wives and mothers were still sitting there. The men would troop in either on their way home from work February 13 or on Valentine’s Day itself — leaving their shopping for the last minute when the selection was depleted. )

Let’s imagine you’re a widow and your children and grandchildren all live across the country and most of your friends have died. Maybe you do have a daughter close by, but she is going out with her husband on Valentine’s Day. You are bound to be feeling that you are alone on a day when so many are doing something special with their spouses. You miss that spouse who’s not there. You wish you had someone to go somewhere with — even just lunch. The only place you have to go is your mailbox. How do you feel when it’s empty, too.

Here are some suggestions for filling that mailbox. Be sure you write a personal note in your own writing. Maybe a blank card will give you more room to write. Pick a scene that might bring back a happy memory, or a flower that's a favorite. Try one of these blank floral cards from my collection at Zazzle. The one below is an example, but there are many different kinds of flowers in the collection.
Share Some Valentine Love with a Lonely Senior
Greeting Card with Coral Rose, © B. Radisavljevic




Give Your Loved One a Valentine Gift to Brag About

One aspect of making a gift to a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle who lives alone or in a senior residence is giving him or her something to show friends who visit. When he or she says "See what my son gave me" he or she means "See how my son loves me and remembered me." When you give something that lasts and will be used or displayed and seen often, your loved one will feel remembered, loved and significant whenever he or she sees it. It's a gift that keeps on giving, as long as it isn't a substitute for showing your care by personal contact on a regular basis. It reinforces the caring things you do year-round on those days when you can't call or visit. I still use the mugs my children gave me almost exclusively because they remind me of the good times we spent together.

These inspirational mugs from Amazon are for your mom.

Most of these items can be customized when you order them. Some designs are also available on shirts, hats, aprons, memo boards, magnets for the refrigerator, or other gifts. I chose mugs because they are used often and don't take up much space. Many seniors who live alone have limited space if they have moved from their former family homes. These are mugs you can customize at Zazzle. 


Maybe a teddy  bear will be just the right gift for a lonely mom or grandmother. My own mom had a small collection of them.
I think many women never outgrow their love for plush animals, especially teddy bears. This one holds a reminder of your love, even on days your mom may be feeling blue because she wishes you were there with her. If she prefers some other animal to a bear, you might want to browse through these other plush animals. 



It's not the Price of the Gift, but the Thought That Counts

When people start getting older, they begin to think in terms of getting rid of things instead of accumulating more stuff. Unless you know exactly what they really do need, something small and sentimental will probably have the most emotional impact.

When your loved one who lives alone is feeling unloved or unconnected during the other days of the year, a gift obviously picked with love will provide some comfort. It will remind your loved one that she is still loved on some of those days when you might be too busy to call or visit, or if you live far away.

Men may not seem need this as much as women do. But a widowed man who was happy in his marriage will still be lonesome on Valentine’s Day. A card, call, or visit to let him know he’s in your thoughts will be appreciated. And he also might like to go to lunch or dinner if you can manage it. If you are able to get off work early, maybe you can arrange to take your parent or grandparent to lunch and then have a romantic dinner with your spouse later on.



Family is most important, but also try to remember those who may have no family left. Some people may never have had children, or their children may have preceded them in death. They may have no one left. If you know someone in that position, what an act of kindness it would be to remember them with a card or a small gift or the pleasure of your company on Valentine's Day. After all, it's a day for showing love, and no one needs love more than the lonely.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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10 comments:

  1. So many lovely suggestions and ideas! Thank you for sharing your recommendations. I have no doubt any of the items shown would elicit joy in the heart of any recipient. This serves as an excellent reminder to plan ahead to remember the seniors in our lives.

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    1. When we are so busy it's hard to plan ahead for those non-December holidays. It seems the advertisers are always the one to remind us a holiday is coming.

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  2. Now that I'm a 'senior' I can tell you that your suggestions are good ones. We all like to be remembered, especially when our contemporaries (spouse, friends, siblings) are no longer with us to be the ones who are there for us. You have featured some lovely suggestions.

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    1. When we get to be seniors, we do see things differently than when we were younger. I dread the day I'll be pretty much alone if my hubby leaves this earth first.

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  3. These are wonderful suggestions for Valentine's Day gifts for the seniors in our lives. The "Love You Forever" book makes me cry every time, but what a wonderful way to show love! I tend to forget about holidays until the last minute, so I really appreciate this reminder to shop right away for my parents since I'm still blessed to have both of them.

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    1. You are fortunate to still have both parents. I've been an "orphan" for ten years now, since I lost mom. She was a widow for 17 years, so I learned a lot about the kind of gifts she still wanted in her last years. We always had trouble finding a gift to suit our elderly Cousin Edna toward the end of her life. She lived in an assisted care facility and had little room to put things and she said there was nothing she needed. But she did still need to feel important in someone's eyes, and that was the primary purpose of getting her gifts.

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    2. You are fortunate to still have both parents. I've been an "orphan" for ten years now, since I lost mom. She was a widow for 17 years, so I learned a lot about the kind of gifts she still wanted in her last years. We always had trouble finding a gift to suit our elderly Cousin Edna toward the end of her life. She lived in an assisted care facility and had little room to put things and she said there was nothing she needed. But she did still need to feel important in someone's eyes, and that was the primary purpose of getting her gifts.

      Delete
  4. These are wonderful suggestions for Valentine's Day gifts for the seniors in our lives. The "Love You Forever" book makes me cry every time, but what a wonderful way to show love! I tend to forget about holidays until the last minute, so I really appreciate this reminder to shop right away for my parents since I'm still blessed to have both of them.

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  5. Love You Forever is one of my very favorite books for kids. Great suggestions here for Valentine's Day, Barbara!

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  6. Great ideas and thanks for the reminder to get moving. Valentine's Day will be here in a heart beat. Pun intended.

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