Seniors want company, not stuff, for Christmas

I know a great many younger folks are desperate for inspiration on what to present to their senior relatives and friends for the holidays. It is far from easy. Most of us are not short of material things. We have enough gloves, scarves, brooches, earrings, shirts, ties and sweaters. Some of the things we have received over the years, we are passing along to younger relatives and friends.

Seniors do not need things. They need conversation, shared experiences and most of all inclusion in all family events. They do not want to be forgotten and irrelevant. They want to continue to be part of the family they have created and they certainly can contribute a great deal of knowledge and advice without being judgmental or critical.

A great many things change between generations but human feelings and common sense remain the same. Your senior relatives will sympathize with any predicaments and problems. They have very likely experienced many of the same situations themselves and can inform you of the result of their decisions.

What I would suggest is you invite your senior acquaintances to a show of some kind. It doesn't have to be a great spectacle. Take them to a very enjoyable local amateur presentation, a parish activity or a club outing where they might meet people they know and haven't seen for a while. It is most enjoyable to be in the company of people your own age who know exactly what you are talking about and how you feel.

For any outing it is most important you provide the transport. If you offer to do this, you might even receive your own ticket as a gift from them. Seniors need to be driven to the door of the venue and back to their own front door, especially in winter when walking is dangerous for them. Even in good weather they might welcome an arm to lean on.

It is strange as you grow older, your world becomes smaller. You cannot drive at night, many of your friends and relatives have gone, your appetite has left you and your hearing is not too good. Regardless, seniors can always appreciate good music or a good play, especially when they are surrounded by a large audience sharing the emotions. This is much more enjoyable than sitting alone watching TV.

Remember, the physical and the mental are two different things. My favourite saying has always been "Old is not a synonym for stupid." Please do not speak to seniors in a condescending manner. Instead make use of their experiences and suggestions.

Whatever you decide to do for your senior friends and relatives for Christmas, remember your own children are watching and learning from you.

The years go by very quickly and soon it will be your turn to be old. Remember this.

I googled Rita Torpey Butt and found her excellent article "Seniors want company, not stuff, for Christmas" This message has nothing to do with your paper or her article but everything to do with genealogy.  I would appreciate you passing on this message to Rita. Years ago I bought the book "Have I Told You This Before?" because of the Butt name and because I could relate to her book! I am a genealogist with the maiden name Butt. My grandfather immigrated from England to Saskatchewan in 1906 and didn’t think anyone else from his family had immigrated to Canada. I recently discovered that my grandfather's cousin immigrated to Ontario in 1911. His name was Albert James Butt and I'm wondering if he is in any way related to her husband?

Thank you.

Judy Labossière

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