One thing a paper hoarder provides -stacks of saved Christmas cards that have gone unused – year after year. These maybe cards purchased and never written or the freebie cards from the not for profit companies holiday mailings. It does not matter where they came from, each was saved with the intention of using one day.
As we have organized and sorted, if we find unused cards they go in a central location. For us, a linen covered portable file. Every card that goes into the file, is sorted by type, birthday, Christmas, etc. I have found this centralizing has several benefits for the senior involved.
- First, all the items can be located when needed. (If your senior doesn’t remember where, you now know!)
- Secondly, seeing all of the saved cards in one place may ignite an urge to purge! Some or all.
- In the year of the pandemic, the linen file full of cards has been a godsend. With safety in mind, we have not been to the Hallmark store. Instead, we break out the box once a month. Select and address that month’s cards – birthdays and holidays.
- Suggestion – tuck the miscellaneous address books in the front of this file.
Back to Christmas cards – the stores are decorated, the ads are running and Halloween isn’t here yet. Oh well! Break those puppies out! Order stamps online for delivery https://www.stamps.com/ . Put a recipient list together. (I do this electronically then print only the necessary part of the list – like names for checklist.) Get to work, it’s not too early. These three steps could take a week or more.
Last year we had two care providers that came in on different days each week. They would have Granny select name(s) from the mailing list. If she just wanted a sentence and a signature, mom would add that to the card. The caregiver would address and stuff the envelope. If mom wanted a longer note, she dictated it and her care provider wrote it. (Mom can write, however osteoporosis has bent her fingers. and Alzheimer’s. I can’t prove a link to legible writing, but… ) It went into an addressed stamped envelope and off it went!!
The entire stack didn’t need to be completed before mailing. So everyday there was a sense of accomplishment. It was no longer an overwhelming task that would never be completed. Best part – cards started arriving from her friends and family – maybe just because she reached out! What a smile that brings!!
Cards can completely be electronic, but that isn’t for my mom anymore. There are several options for electronic cards. These are a few,
These have free card options on their sites. This technology can be more than a card, it can include sending videos. Which might be a nice gesture for those that do not have the opportunity to see your loved one frequently. These sites offer features that will send you reminders for birthdays too.
If your parent isn’t interested in mailing cards, or sending electronic greetings, maybe help them do an audio call with friends and family. Short and sweet is just as important as an hour long chat-fest. Remember we are in a pandemic, socialization activities have been minimized. Reaching out helps both parties.
Regardless of which solution is right for you and yours, Start early!! Go until your parent/loved one has lost interest for the day. For us, even if it is after Christmas and we can still sign and mail cards. Who doesn’t love to get a personal note in the mail? or in their Inbox?
I can tell by my mom’s reaction and body language when this activity has been exhausted completely. Pay attention to cues. Try not to make this or any other activity a “chore”. There are enough chores for all of us, let’s not create any additional!
Even without Alzheimer’s, the task of selecting, signing, addressing and mailing holiday cards is overwhelming – not to mention…expensive! I remember stacks of un-mailed, stuffed Christmas cards in my childhood. I was able to recreate this when I moved out on my own. Problem then was – they stayed un-mailed! do you know how much 100 stamps is?!? All of you that didn’t receive cards for years, know I was thinking of you but too cheap to buy stamps!! Sorry – tangent.
Back to the present. Do you help your loved one mail holiday cards? Have you sent e-cards? My sister sent an e-card with a video last year for my mom. She watched it over and over. What works for your situation? Or is it just impossible and brings up too many emotions for your family member?
Happy Halloween! Now go find the Christmas cards and get started.
Thank you for coming back!
“Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress… no matter how slow.”Plato