How to Fill Your Senior’s Mailbox with Love

 

Plan a Christmas Card Signing Party with your Senior!

We’ve been sending Christmas cards for about 145 years. Well, I haven’t personally been sending them that long, but that’s when the first Christmas card originated in the United States. 

Most of the seniors in our lives look forward to getting their mail from the mailbox, finding personal notes and sweet cards from generations of friends. Even now in the electronic communication age, we can all relate with the pleasure of finding personal mail in the mix of bills and solicitations.

Would they love to receive cards (especially in assisted living or a nursing home) and value mailing them out? If your senior is no longer able to send Christmas cards themselves due to dementia or physical limitations, you can help make that happen! Even if your senior doesn’t need help, you’ll enjoy this activity together. 

My senior is independent

Make it a “card party”! Either over zoom or in person . . . put on some holiday music, both of you mix up some hot chocolate with extra whipped cream (I won’t tell if it has peppermint schnapps too). For fun, help them seal, address and stamp the cards. 

Here’s the key—and it works over Zoom too—encourage them to share memories about the people to whom they are sending the cards. Make a point of listening carefully and asking questions. 

My senior needs some help

Show up with:

  1. Cards: This pack of 24 cards has 4 different designs in a traditional style. An alternate is this set of 12 peace dove cards with a general holiday message. 
  2. Stamps: Did you know you can order holiday stamps from Amazon?
  3. A holiday beverage: Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Latte (just add hot water)
  4. Queue up your senior’s favorite festive music on your phone.
  5. Once completed, drop them in the mail for your senior.
My senior needs (a lot of) support

Show up with the supply list from above and maybe choose a 12 card pack so it’s not too tiring for dementia patients. Consider coming with 12 print outs of a favorite poem of your seniors or a special recipe of theirs and include that with the card. 

Add music and a fun drink to the process and it’s a party! Maybe all they do is sign the card and/or lick the envelope, but they are able to send a personal holiday message that will be a sweet gift to those that care about your senior. 

Add some silly and fun . . .

Get a pack of festive Christmas headbands and do a photoshoot for your senior! You can easily print a 4×6” collage photo at your local Walgreens, CVS, etc. in an hour. The photos can be the cover for a set of blank cards (attach the photo with double sided sticky tape) or be slipped inside the card. 

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May you find joy in loving one another well, even if you aren’t wearing a reindeer headband.

Elizabeth Dameron-Drew is the Co-founder and President of Ways & Wane. She walked closely with her own father through his years of waning. She lives near Seattle with her two teenage sons, husband and two rescue dogs. When she’s not working on this platform she’s probably creating books, doing research work or planning a dinner party while listening to the rain and thinking about her next creative endeavor.