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Holiday cheer to all – let’s bring it to the elderly

If Santa Claus ran out of gifts, or had no money to buy presents, what would he do? I think he would still fly around in his carriage steered by frisky reindeer, slip through chimney tops, and this time, show himself, to visit families, and children, and especially, the elderly.

A dear family friend in her late 80’s fell twice in two months. Her son recently moved her to an assisted living facility close to his home. The son will drive her to my sister’s house in a few weeks, and we’re having lunch with her. For sure, there will be a plethora of happy memories, of times she and her late husband hosted us at grand parties in their Saratoga home. Her husband, a Stanford alumnus and a business professor, was a kind and humble man who served his guests in the most hospitable and domestically savvy ways, while his lovely wife entertained and chatted with guests. That wife was a wonderful cook. Her culinary skills and artfully presented dishes never failed to draw Oh’s and Ah’s from beneficiaries of her cooking. Well, we’re seeing that wife in a few weeks, and our conversations will certainly wax sentimental over a myriad of fond and fun memories.

A visit with her will be most delightful. I love old stories.

Today in church, a friend mentioned a very kind elderly man nearing 91 of age, who was rushed to emergency due to difficulty of breathing, though every day for the past year, he wore a nose contraption attached to an oxygen tank. A group of church friends visited him a month ago, and he was obviously very pleased to receive us, somewhat excited to engage in lively conversation with us. He’s a very smart man with lots of wise and deep insights into philosophical and theological matters that often spice his discourse. I love listening to this man. His knowledge titillates my mind. But today, my friend said that during her visit with him last week, he showed an apparent lack of energy and increased weakness, a far cry from when our group saw him last month. Very intriguing was his farewell to my friend and her husband as they were leaving the hospice. He said, “I will see you in the next life”.

A most precious visit for the elderly man and for the couple.

Last Sunday, I lingered a while inside the church to chat with a sweet couple in their 90’s, very dear to my late husband and me. They graciously hosted fellowships in their Palo Alto home in the late 80’s to early 90’s, and the warmth and kindness of their hospitality inspired my husband and me to host a bible study fellowship in our home that faithfully ran each week for 12 years. That study was led by a husband and wife team, now in their 80’s, so vibrant in their faith, so inspired and enlightened in their teaching, so wise in their counsel, so loving in their associations and interactions, and so pleasantly funny and witty. It was the teacher’s wife that encouraged our group to have a meaningful and fun project at Christmas time — we sang carols to folks in nursing homes in Palo Alto.

I’m thinking, a visit with that dear couple on the holidays would be nice. We can celebrate in reminiscing the old times.

I don’t find it a strange coincidence that this month, my mind has been filled with thoughts of the elderly. I realize, too, that for over five years before my Mama passed (she went to be with the Lord in November last year), my husband (when he was alive) and I travelled to the Philippines every December-January to visit her. She was an elderly closest to my heart, and we wanted to bring her cheer especially around the holidays. I indulge in fond memories of her; this is her death anniversary month; or perhaps, because it’s the holidays.

But two specific things nudge me to think of the elderly. I was recently asked by UK Age (a popular and widely read website on the internet for seniors or what the site forthrightly calls, “old people” in the United Kingdom), to contribute to a special piece on activities for seniors in the winter. UK Age asked this Lola of Babyboomerlola.com to volunteer insights, sentiments and ideas to help liven up and interest the older generation particularly during the cold winter months when mobility is more restricted to the indoors. I look forward to the publication of this piece on UK Age end of November or early December.

Also this month, SmilingSenior.com, a US website primarily for information and entertainment purposes, published a blog about fun things to do for or with the elderly in nursing homes. The site is a helpful free resource for tips and suggestions on caring for the elderly, on elderly mobility — and for seniors and older people themselves, to be reminded on how to make living more enjoyable and interesting. SmilingSenior.com features an article by Shelly Goode that mentions a blog from Babyboomerlola.com about the pleasures and benefits of family visits. It is true that especially on holidays, we need to be mindful of the elderly, parents or grandparents, relatives or friends, who would take special joy in receiving visits from family or loved ones and friends. Ms. Goode says in her article:

“Sometimes, a simple visit to your loved ones in a nursing home can mean the world to them. In this case, perhaps too much attention on fun activities doesn’t need to be given. In an interestingly revealing post from Linda P. Jacob from babyboomerlola.com, she mentions the simple pleasures of family visits, and how they make her feel.”

The holiday season offers multiple opportunities for family gatherings — bonding with loved ones and friends, visiting those who are home bound or the sick or elderly. It would be most wonderful to top our Christmas or holiday list with just that.

Remember the Santa Claus of my imagination who had no gifts or money to buy presents, but would come down through chimney tops to visit? I think, too, he’ll be bellowing out “Ho, ho, ho – Merry Christmas!” and he’ll be singing carols in his deep baritone voice, and regaling with stories about Jesus’ birth in a manger. His peculiar visit would bring and spread cheer and gladness – to families, and children, and the elderly.

EPILOGUE:  A few days after this blog was posted, a special feature on the UKAge website that included quotes from Babyboomerlola was published.  Please click this link: https://www.ageukmobility.co.uk/mobility-news/article/the-ultimate-winter-toolkit-for-older-people

 

Linda P. Jacob


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