Stay Ahead of Holiday Stress, Enjoy Fun With Grandkids, And Bring Joy to Beloved Elderly

by Kaye Swain

Snail mail is a delightful gift to elderly seniors with no technology connections as many of us in the Sandwich Generation knowThanksgiving is coming and Christmas is right around the corner. This week, caregivers from all over joined together with Denise Brown, (check out her fun "Break For Fall" giveaway and ideas as well as her Caregiving Open House tomorrow in honor of National Family Caregivers Month!) and Michelle Seitzer, Seniors For Living, for our twice a month "#ElderCareChat at Twitter to discuss dealing with caregiving and holiday stress. All week, the grandkids and I have been listening to Christmas Carols, interspersed with Narnia audio books and their school work on audio. And I just touched base with a fave senior to compare notes on our holiday plans. It's easy to do with her, since she has email, but not all our beloved long-distance seniors are online. And even if they are, I don't know about you, but I need to remind myself to get creative with writing (not to mention, actually DO the writing). So I made a list to remind myself and thought you might enjoy it as well. This year, I'm planning to:

Buy cute greeting cards for throughout the year AND USE THEM! (I'm so tech-oriented, this is an area I'm REALLY bad at). A lot of the local Christian book stores have ongoing sales of buy one get one free. Or we could follow my senior mom's excellent example and shop at Hallmark with their frequent buyer's card that can come in quite handy.

Kids pictures – write on the back. While doing extra babysitting of grandchildren this past month, I had them do a lot of just drawing and painting and now have way more pictures than can fit on both refrigerators and walls in the house! I realized I have the perfect "stationery" to write several loved ones – with the picture on one side and a letter on the back – after taking pictures of these awesome works of art, of course! And for that matter, those photos of the pictures can be great on my senior mom's iPad, my computer screen saver and to decorate upcoming SmileBox holiday online – or printed – ecards!

A fun letter for grandkids to make and elderly senior parents to receive

Smilebox – one of my holiday favorites, my GOAL (we'll see how far I get) is to work on it and send them out for THANKSGIVING instead of Christmas – to save on holiday stress (a thought I got during our #ElderCareChat on holiday stress :) ). I'll be adding photos of the kids and grandkids and granddogs, artwork, and lovely music to send online to my tech-savvy loved ones, plus I can print out the handful we need for those not online. (Hmmm, I think I will "delegate" mailing those to my wonderful senior mom who LOVES snail mail! – And that's another grand idea that came from this week's #ElderCareChat!)

I'll never get to it on my own, but I might with my grandkids – Make handmade greetings cards and stationery like my senior mom. While time-consuming for an already slightly overwhelmed caregiver, it's definitely one of those fun and easy crafts for kids AND seniors that I can put the grandkids to work on, then share with my senior mom to do the mailing. Hooray!

How about you? Got any other fun ideas to help us stay in touch with seniors and other loved ones who aren't nearby? We'd love to hear! And if you entered's "Break For Fall," we'd love to hear what you are "letting go of." As you can tell, I'm going to "let go" of some of the mailing tasks by delegating them to my senior mom who honestly enjoys them! :) 

Beverlys Pink Saturday is full of fun pink things that can put a big smile on the face of the Sandwich Generation caring for elderly parents and babysitting grandchildren


P.S. Thank you so much for your comments. I enjoy them very much and read each one. I also love the grand ideas so many of you share that help and encourage other readers. Thank you.