Making Seniors Smileby Carol Caggiano on April 8, 2014 at 9:04 am
Some of my most treasured memories are of my grandparents. I was fortunate to have them nearby sharing so many great adventures over the years. Now I am a grandparent myself and still remember those days like they were yesterday. Am I really a “senior?” Who would have ever thought that would happen? We definitely see things differently when we are personally involved.
Lately I have had the opportunity to help some other seniors who are having difficulty. One has serious health issues and another is struggling with her own mother who has dementia. Often just being a good listener is a big help, but I have found another way I can contribute, and that is to bring flowers. No matter how many times I visit, I still get such a thrill out of seeing faces literally light up when a bouquet of flowers comes into view. A big genuine smile is such a welcome sight from someone you know is having a hard time.
I know for sure that having flowers in my house makes me feel good. The reason for their magic? I do not know, but when there are not flowers on the table, the house just doesn’t feel the same. Although research gives us a hint: Rutgers University released the results of a behavioral study, which proved senior citizens who had flowers in their living spaces were happier, more social, and had better recent memory than those who did not have flowers. How wonderful is that? It’s a privilege to grow older but not without cost. Failing health, memory loss and reduced social interaction can all contribute to severe depression. When someone is depressed, nothing else works right, but if a lovely bouquet of flowers can bring joy and happiness, then that is surely easy “medicine” to prescribe.
Often when considering flowers, we are concerned about the cost. Flowers can be very affordable if you purchase what is in season and even a few blooms can do the trick. It doesn’t always have to be a large bouquet. Health care is costly and we have learned that exercise and controlled diet can contribute to better health, therefore reducing costs. Flowers should be added to that list. In fact, another study from Rutgers showed that a gift of flowers improves our emotional well being. Recipients demonstrated genuine smiles and reported increased enjoyment and life satisfaction upon receiving flowers.
Collecting some interesting containers can be part of the process; bottles and jars make perfect vessels for a minimal number of blooms and a few varied size vases for larger bouquets is all you need. In May, I am doing a presentation for a senior “Young at Heart” group at church to show them how to arrange flowers in fun and creative ways. This group loves flowers and enjoys having them in their homes. Maybe that is why they are referred to as “young at heart.” Gardening is a hobby for many of them and they want to learn how to make the blooms they bring inside look fabulous, a task they often struggle with. Showing them some simple tricks will be a great way to spend the morning, and I have a feeling that there will be plenty of smiles to go around.
The senior population in this country has surpassed 40 million and is growing every day. We all have seniors in our family, workplace, church, and community, and many are very dear to us. I know for myself I will continue to make sure that those I love will have those “flower induced smiles” as often as I can, whether I bring them myself or send them through my local florist. I will also give flowers to someone special — myself. If I can have that wonderful smile, it will certainly benefit those who are around me.
Please share how you’ve made someone’s day special with flowers.