Mail Call – How Caregivers Can Really Make their Aging Parents’  Day!

A week ago, I sent a card to my parents.  But, it wasn’t just any card…it was one I made!  As soon as they received it, my phone was ringing.  They were laughing, asking me about the picture on the front of the card.  We spent 30 minutes just talking about the picture before we ever got to the note!  They didn’t remember the picture, asking “who’s on this card”?

My card on mom and dad's refrigerator!
The card hung on the fridge!

Mom was certain that the baby’s hands and ears were too big and could not possibly be me.  She went on to say, “You had such long eye lashes and were always smiling.”  “You were tiny.” It was sweet to hear her talking about those memories. “And, your brother had more hair than that.  It was blonde and curly.”, she said. Neither she or dad would believe it was really us, so I promised to bring the original photo over to give them a better look.

When I did arrive, mom already had the card taped to the refrigerator.  Very few things ever get put on the fridge!  But, there it hung.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Okay, so they really did like this handmade card.

Delivering Love the Old-Fashioned  Way

If your parents are like mine, and so many others in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, they love to get mail.  For mom and dad, it’s one of the things they look forward to every day.  About 12:30 p.m., mom will ask dad, “Has the mailman come?”.  Then, sure enough, to the mailbox he goes.  Like every ritual, it’s always the same.  The mail gets deposited on the kitchen table, then they both huddle over it, checking what’s come that day and tearing into the envelopes.   Even if it is junk mail, mom and dad love opening mail!

I’m kind of the same way.  I love to get mail.  Yet, I rarely send any mail.  I call my parents once, if not twice, a day.  I send bought cards.  But, it’s been a long time since I just wrote a note and mailed it off.

Why Handmade?

When mom and I were cleaning out the closets and drawers earlier this winter, she showed me a couple bundles of rubber-banded cards.  They were all ones that my brother and I had made for them over the years.  She’d saved them all.  Dad came in the room and said, “Your mom and I go through these every now and then.”, with a smile on his face. Obviously these were treasured.  And, that’s what gave me the idea to make a card and write a note.

Why an Old Picture?

I know that it’s important to keep our older loved ones engaged in recalling memories.  It stimulates their brain and puts them back in touch with those moments from long ago.  Haven’t you noticed that your parent will talk for quite a while about their childhood, or raising you, or some other event from long ago?  Even for those who suffer from memory loss, recalling happy times from years ago can bring joy and memories into the present.

Why a Hand Written Note?

Writing a note and mailing it to someone, just because….for no good reason other than to “catch up”, is a long-forgotten activity for many of us.  Yet, I have handwritten notes from all of my grandparents and special friends, that I keep tucked away in my drawers.  Honestly, when I watch people receive and read cards these days, I seriously doubt there’s much attention paid to the words inside.  My husband confesses he “skims” because “it’s just Hallmark-speak”.  So, by writing a note you are making it special, making it personal, and making it last.  That note can be read and re-read, generating the loving feelings that come from knowing that person made time to do this just for you.

Make Their Day.  Surprise Them!

I’ve decided to send a handmade card, with an old picture, fairly often to keep them reminiscing and engaged.  You can be right down the street or 1000 miles away.  It’s going to have a wonderful effect. Think about doing it too!  Whether it’s once a month or weekly, randomly choose the day and mail off to them your gift of love.  And when you do, I’d like to hear back their reaction to your heart-felt act.

 

5 thoughts on “Mail Call – How Caregivers Can Really Make their Aging Parents’ Day!
  1. Cathy Lawdanski
    Posted on February 6, 2016 at 2:24 am Reply

    That would be such a special gesture of love! Thanks for the suggestion & the many reasons to do it!

    • Deb Kelsey-Davis
      Posted on February 6, 2016 at 7:03 am Reply

      Cathy, thank you!

      • Cathy Lawdanski
        Posted on February 10, 2016 at 8:04 am Reply

        This is so good that I am sharing it on the MySideof50 Facebook Page next week. Thanks!

        • Deb Kelsey-Davis
          Posted on February 11, 2016 at 2:24 pm Reply

          I’m so glad that you found this helpful! Will check out your FB page too! Thank you. Deb

  2. Ken Bredemeier
    Posted on February 29, 2016 at 9:58 am Reply

    We seem to be on parallel paths. You have tapped into my reason for being at this stage of my life – to capture/share these stories. I believe it is more about the process of story sharing than having the stories themselves. Thank you for confirming that I’m not wasting my time.

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