When Senior Parents Are Downsizing, Make Sure They Keep Fun and Small Sandwich Generation Family Memories

by Kaye Swain

A childs red wagon can also be useful as a garden wagon plus its fun for the grandkids when they visit

As we members of the baby boomer generation know, many of the fun things from our childhood are now collector's items! I so wish I had my old red wagon or all the comic books my mom bought me way back when – from Superman to Archie. Who KNOWS what they might be worth. Then again, her new garden wagons are much more practical, can still occasionally be fun for the grand children (when they don't have plants in them), and as far as the comics go, I was rather hard on them, as I read them over and over, so maybe they would just be fun to share with my grandkids – even better! 🙂

Superman comics were popular with the baby boomer generation in the 60s and now our grandkids love them as well

I've had senior relatives in the past who saved everything, which made it rather hard for their families to deal with after they had gone home to heaven. Because of one such situation, my own parents decided to start decluttering ruthlessly and keep their lives streamlined. It made it easier for them and they know it will make it easier for me down the road. I have to admit, I do appreciate their kindness.

I am now in an in-between boat. I have some boxes stored away in a friend's garage as God has me on the move with caregiving joys. But I did bring along a few items that I love which are special and small. I think that was important for me. And when we are helping our senior parents pack up to move in with us or to downsize to a smaller home or care facility, it's important for us to help them decide on at least a few items they will be truly blessed to keep.

My senior mom loves this Kentucky gardening book

In my case, I have the cream of the crop of my book collection. There are my Christian books – from mystery and romance novels to inspirational and encouraging non-fiction. There are books on caregiving to help me with my senior mom, books on writing and blogging, and, of course, plenty of books on gardening and real estate. My senior mom and I both share this passion, which is why her collection has grown recently to include books on Kentucky gardening, from flowers to vegetables, as well as Birds and butterflies.

Kentucky Birds including my senior moms favorites - the Red Northern Cardinal birds

I also have most of my collection of Christmas tree ornaments. Years ago, a dear friend gave me the idea of buying one ornament each year to remind me of something special that happened that year or to remind me of a special person. I have most of those, along with special ornaments from dear family and good friends. This year I found a great shop with plenty of delightful Country Kitchen Roosters including some really cute Rooster Christmas tree ornaments to pick from. After much enjoyable deliberation, I chose this country Rooster Ornament to help me remember the fun "Show Me Your Rooster" blog party and all the other terrific blog parties I've enjoyed this year.

With this adorable French Country Rooster Christmas Tree ornament to add to my Christmas kitchen or home decor - I will enjoy fun family memories of the Show Us Your Roosters blog party for many years to come

The nice thing about your collecting Christmas tree ornaments is that, generally speaking, they are huge in friend and family memories while being small and easy to pack. Always nice when you are moving a bit more often or living in a much smaller space.

How about you? What do you collect? Cindy, at I Owe It All To Him, has asked us that exact question to find out what others are collecting. I suspect we might find a few more fun and unique ideas, some of which might also be perfect for our senior parents or others in our Sandwich Generation family. I'm off to check it out, and you're invited as well. 🙂 And…


Cindy Adkins August 21, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Oh wow, Kaye, you are so right…it is wonderful to collect books and Christmas tree ornaments…You know, those ornaments hold all our memories for so many years…isn’t it beautiful? Those memories are the true treasures in life..
Thank you SO much for sharing this and linking it up…Have a blessed and beautiful weekend!

Faye August 21, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Kaye, I really enjoyed your post. I have trouble letting go with things. Many times I have been rescued out of a dire problem by remembering where that 10 year old receipt for thus and so was located. So as much as I’d like to get rid of stuff, there are times when that very stuff is a lifesaver. There are some things in the attic that need to go to the dump though, mostly college textbooks. I think the Christmas ornaments do carry special memories. My kids still like to look at ours and play “do you remember?”.

Kim Beldowski August 21, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Thanks for sharing. I love old books. This year I have decided to do a pink victorian tree. Hope you have a great weekend.
Kim 🙂

Kaye August 21, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Ooooh, Kim. That sounds gorgeous. Keep us posted when you share it. 🙂

Kaye August 21, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Hi Faye, Excellent points, all! And I love to hear about your kids and their pleasure in Christmas ornaments and family memories. 🙂

Tonya August 22, 2010 at 3:32 pm

It was not my intention of begging up interest when I checked out Cindy’s link party. I check it weekly. But you are the second that I just couldn’t resist adding a link to. Please consider reading this post and being a part of our ornament exchange. Even if you only do one..but more would be wonderful as well. I am glad you collect ornaments…and I hope to soon!

Kaye August 22, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Hi Tonya, I appreciate you letting us know. Consider the news passed on here 😉 🙂 🙂

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