It’s that time of year again and the commercials on TV are already telling us that Black Friday shopping will begin early on Thanksgiving Day—for your convenience, of course! I’m sure by now you have your list and you’re checking it twice, but are you stumped as to what to give your elderly parent who resides in a Senior Facility? Every year I am asked for recommendations on gifts to give elderly parents and I have even written a helpful blog full of ideas (What gifts for the Holiday are appropriate for my parent is in a Senior Facility?) that I refer people for ideas. This year is no different and the questions are already being asked in the wake of the upcoming shopping frenzy beginning on Thanksgiving.
This year was a little different for me as I confidently referred people to my blog post. I took the time to sit back and ponder all the gifts that I gave my mother that brought her joy during the holidays as she spent her last few years in a Senior Facility. Yes, most of the gifts I gave can be found in the post, but the gift that I gave that was the “best ever” was the gift of my time. It was really that simple and it took me a while to realize how precious the gift of time can be for someone who has so little left, yet spends so much of it apart from loved ones. The Holidays are always a mad, frantic rush for most of us with so much to do and so little time to do it in. We are lucky to show up to our own parties, dinners and even Christmas with so much preparation required to have the “perfect” Holiday!
Each year I took great joy in giving my Mother what seemed to be the perfect Christmas gift. They were always very appropriate for her age and living quarters at the Senior Facility and she always appreciated the gifts and showered me with hugs and kisses. However, what I recall she enjoyed most was me taking the time to sit and visit—the gift of time! Looking back, I realize I didn’t really need to bring a gift; I just needed to be there with her and enjoy our time together. After all, that’s really what brought her the most joy. The real “best ever” gift would have been one extra visit or even one extra hour.
Gifts are wonderful and fun to give and receive but what we all need in our lives is more time. I’m not just referring to extra hours in the day to complete our daily demands or even extra time on Earth to accomplish our destinies; I’m referring to the time we get to spend with our loved ones. Our children grow up and move on so quickly we can’t remember it happening! At the same time, our parents grow older and move on to another life just as quick. This year, if you want to give the perfect gift, I encourage you to give the gift of time—your time. Spend that extra hour or make that extra trip to visit. If you do so, I think you may be surprised that you will also receive a wonderful gift!
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