Words and Flowers of Encouragement for the Sandwich Generation Caring For Elderly Parents

by Kaye Swain

I love these delightful garden mums - they are definitely one of my favorite autumn flowers

My senior mom has been feeling a bit down the last few days as she is busy recouping from minor surgery. I say minor, but really, the older we get, the harder it can be to bounce back from something like that.

As I was doing the dishes for her, enjoying the lovely view of her tasty vegetable garden and the Sunflower House, I was thinking of a way to perk her up and realized the answer was right there in front of me – in all her senior gardening projects. Even though she doesn't feel super spiffy, having her vegetables to water and nourish, along with enjoying sweet moments in the patio chair admiring the flowers, watching the Kentucky Northern Cardinal and other birds, along with bunnies, and butterflies, really encourages her. She was commenting the other day that we should do something after the last of the Sunflowers from the Sunflower House has been used to feed the cute critters

Pulling out her Month by Month Gardening book for Tennessee and Kentucky by Judy Lowe, we discovered there are several delightful options for gardening projects over the fall and winter. You should have seen the twinkle in my senior mom's eyes when she realized she could start some new gardening endeavors such as Autumn flowers in just a couple of weeks! After thinking through the choices we decided on:

This sweet pansy clipart reminds me that my senior mom is looking forward to her new autumn garden with fall mums winter pansies and other sweet flowers and berries

Winter Pansies – My mom loves these delightful flowers but has never tried them. According to Ms. Lowe's Timely Tips, we can "porch" them over the winter (using the "new insulated posts that mimic the look of terra cotta, move them to a protected place – maybe on a porch up against the house. Then plant pansies in them to provide beauty from fall all the way through spring.") Doesn't that sound like fun! It's certainly worth a try and she'll love this experiment.

Loving these lovely autumn flowers for senior gardening projects

Joining the pansies at the table will be Chrysanthemum Plants – I have to confess, planting these delightful fall mums will put a twinkle in my eyes as well, since they are my favorite Autumn flowers! The patio table is right up against the kitchen wall so she'll be able to enjoy these fall and winter treats each time she's at the sink!

In pots under the tree, we are going to plant a Pyracantha shrub and deciduous hollies, along with the Chinese Holly shrub (assuming, of course, we can track these down at the nursery). She loved that idea as she is looking forward to seeing her sweet Kentucky Northern Cardinal and other birds much away on the berries. 

The Climbing Hydrangea Vine produces the gorgeous "fall foliage color" we both love, plus we both just plain love Hydrangeas! Not only that, she recently read an article about a retiree who has planted hundreds of these climbing hydrangeas. We're going to put one or two over by our woodpile. They should look great over there and be a delightful addition to the landscaping designs!

She wants to wait on most of the plants for another couple of weeks, until her small raised beds vegetable garden is done for the year. But I did fall in love with some delightful pink and fall colored mums so I brought them home as a surprise. Boy, did she smile BIG. And even though she hasn't been feeling too perky, she perked up big time from that for a bit. She's got them all arranged the way she wants and is ready to start repotting the mums tomorrow if she feels up to it!

Loving these autumn flowers for senior gardening projects

As members of the Sandwich Generation, caring for elderly parents, it's important to remember to watch out for their primary needs – proper temperature, plenty of water and nourishing food, a safe walking environment, etc.. It's also important, though, to make sure we nurture them emotionally and spiritually, especially when they are going through a rough patch, like recovering from a surgery. A simple hug, an extra phone call, some snail mail or maybe even a teddy bear if they live far away, or some delightful Autumn flowers – potted or cut, can all be spirit lifters for our senior parents AND for ourselves as we see their delighted smiles. There's a good reason Jesus told us,

"It is more blessed to give than to receive."

These pink chrysanthemum plants are delightful for an autumn garden as well

I am so thankful that my senior mom is recuperating nicely, even though not as quickly as she'd like. I'm also quite thankful for all the wonderful flowers God has provided us with – at our home and throughout this beautiful world He has created. I'm joining up with Greg's General Store for Thankful Thursday and invite you to pop over there and be encouraged, as well.

I'd also like to invite you to enjoy the lovely flowers, plants and landscaping designs at Fertilize and Flaunt Your Flowers Friday, the delightful pinks of Beverly's Pink Saturday where you're sure to spot so many lovely city and country home decor ideas, and the sweet words of encouragement at Spiritual Sunday. A weekend of web-surfing pleasure for the Sandwich Generation, caring for elderly parents and enjoying boomer and senior gardening activities for grandparents and their grandchildren.

 

deb newton September 3, 2010 at 12:16 pm

What a great idea! It’s so important to keep them focused on something other than themselves…to have something to look forward to and think about it perfect.
Happy Winter Gardening!
*hugs*deb

Karen September 3, 2010 at 1:18 pm

What a wonderful post! My mother is 90 and still gardens, too, which is probably the reason she has lived so long. She also loves to paint and I have many lovely articles around my gardens and home. How glad I am to meet someone who is in the Sandwich Generation along with me. I am so blessed to be in the middle of my young adult children and their friends and my mother and in-laws generations too, at age 52, I have insight from all age groups!

Hope your mom feels much better soon!!

Whidbey Woman September 3, 2010 at 10:20 pm

So wonderful that God gave us flowers to bloom fall into winter.
Then in winter, there are indoor flowering plants to brighten our world. Not to mention, all the Seed cataloges to browse through in the winter time . It is nice to dream of warmer days and make plans for the growing season! Happy TT & Spiritual Sunday!
I have a combo post at Ron’s Road 2 Recovery, but one just for SS at Wild about Whidbey. Hope you’ll stop by!

Kaye September 3, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Hi Deb, Very true! Thank you for popping in 🙂

Kaye September 3, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Hi Karen, It is fun to have all the ages to glean from, isn’t it! And such lovely flowers at your site. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

Kaye September 3, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Hi Whidbey Woman, so very true! And I had just enjoyed a lovely visiti to both sites. Thank you 🙂 You are in my prayers!

Rebecca September 4, 2010 at 4:53 am

I think it’s so wonderful what your group has come up with to help the elderly, especially your own family. What a wonderful gift for both of you!

Jorgelina September 4, 2010 at 7:20 am

Great idea.
Welcome and happy Pink Saturday!

Carol @ Old Glory Cottage September 4, 2010 at 7:57 am

Welcome to your first Pink Saturday! This was a really wonderful post. My Mom is 85, and she is still an avid gardener. Unfortunately there is no gardening to be done in the winter, here in Illinois. But thankfully she keeps busy with sewing, which I think is very important for her.
Hope to see you next week too!
Happy Pink Saturday,
Carol

Kaye September 4, 2010 at 8:57 am

Hi Jorgelina, Thank you 🙂

Kaye September 4, 2010 at 8:59 am

Hi Carol, Thank you. 🙂 That’s awesome to hear about your senior mom. My mom doesn’t sew but she does love to cook and read cooking magazines and those, along with nature and garden magazines, plus writing grandkids, are fun for her in the snow months of Kentucky 🙂 So that’s a big blessing. Staying active even as we age is just so vital, isn’t it! 🙂 Have a great pink Saturday.

Kaye September 4, 2010 at 9:04 am

Hi Rebecca, Thanks. What a great point – it really is a gift for us both. 🙂 Have a terrific day!

Joan September 4, 2010 at 9:11 am

Kaye – such encouraging words and lovely photos. How blessed you are to still have your Mom around. My own dear mother passed away many years ago, and I still miss her. She too, loved gardening and the outdoors.

Blessings to you,
Joan

Sherry from Alabama September 4, 2010 at 9:55 am

Such a lovely post for your first Pink Saturday. Welcome!

Sherry @ A Happy Valentine

Kaye September 4, 2010 at 11:01 am

Hi Joan, Thank you so much. I know how you are feeling as my sweet dad is waiting for us in heaven, along with other sweet beloveds. Have a blessed week. 🙂

Kaye September 4, 2010 at 11:03 am

Hi Sherry, Thanks for such a sweet comment. We had a couple of friends who lived in Arizona over the years. It’s definitely a challenge but your pots ideas is wonderful. That’s what my senior mom loves to do as well. Your very own and creative “raised beds garden” and doesn’t it work delightfully well! 🙂 Have a delightful week.

Kaye September 4, 2010 at 11:03 am

Hi Sherry, Thank you so much. 🙂

Sherry September 4, 2010 at 9:13 am

Happy Pink Saturday Kaye Sweetie…
I am so thrilled to hear that you sweet Moma is doing well following her surgery. (Like you say now a days even minor is a major the older we get.) Please let her know I will be saying a few prayers for her as well.

Oh I love the idea of the gardens for your sweet Moma. I can just see the two of your browsing through the nurseries looking for the perfect additions to her Fall and Winter garden. I know she just beamed like the headlights on a car when you shared with her. She will look out and see the beauty and remember the fun the two of you shared creating together. I can hardly wait to see the results myself.

I was sick from Spring through the Summer and this is the first year I was not able to plant, and it made me SO sad to not see a burst of color out my patio doors. I am going to try to add a little color for Fall myself. It is definitely healing to us. Living here in Phoenix, it is so hot in the Summer not alot grows out in the sun, so I have resorted to pots that can be moved about the pool decking for color.

Sweetie, I will be watching for your Garden of Love. Post picks from the nursery visit to the garden planting. I want to see it all.

Have a gorgeous Pink Saturday. Give you sweet Moma a hug for me and tell her I hope she gets to feeling better soon.

Country hugs sweetie…Sherry

Kathy September 4, 2010 at 11:41 am

Happy Pink Saturday! You are showcasing some of my favorite Fall flowers! Thanks for sharing your gardening info. I hope your mom will recover quickly!
God Bless,
kathy

Grace September 4, 2010 at 11:45 am

what a lovely post. Beautiful flowers. Happy First Pink Saturday. Grace xoxox

Denise September 4, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Welcome to your first Pink Saturday…it is mine also. It looks like it will be a lot of fun! I’m so glad your mom is recovering nicely. It is very difficult as they get older. I lost my mother 5 yrs. ago after she fell and broke her hip. Your flowers are gorgeous. It’s amazing how much joy they bring. I couldn’t imagine life without a garden. Have a wonderful day!
Denise

Ginger September 4, 2010 at 12:21 pm

OH~~~How I wish were we neighbors. I have such a passion for gardening. Where I live women my age just don’t seem to have the same passion for gardening as I do. The last year I have been wanting to plant a climbing hydrangea, if you have time I would love tho hear more about this wonderful plant. Please tell your mom that I said hello, one gardener to another. It is a prayer of mine that when I grow old than I can still play in the dirt:) I’m so happy to hear your mom is doing well.
Blessings,
Ginger

Charlotte September 4, 2010 at 12:42 pm

I think growing, watching, and cutting flowers is something we can enjoy at any age. I remember standing around for hours in front of our house when we lived in California just enjoying all the pretty flowers there. I always enjoyed watering them too. Pruning, not so much. I’ve found that pansies is one of the few things that survive our winters here. We do have a few nights when it freezes. It doesn’t seem to bother those sweet little pansies. I’m glad your mother is recooperating and pray she will be feeling much better very soon.
Thank you for sharing this lovely post on Spiritual Sundays.
Blessings,
Charlotte

Clif September 4, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I see my wife, Charlotte arrived just before me and left a comment. I will let her comment represent us both. I just wanted you to know I enjoyed and appreciated your post. Thank you.

Virginia September 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I hope your mom will recover soon and continued to enjoyed her beautiful garden.
Sweet blessing,
Virginia

Renee September 4, 2010 at 5:25 pm

What nice ideas to inspire your mom at this time…and beautiful photos. I love pansies myself…and enjoy the fall flowers too ~ especially those in rusts oranges and golds.. God bless.

Rosie September 4, 2010 at 8:45 pm

That was so sweet of you to give your mom such happiness and something wonderful to look forward to. What a lucky lady she is to have you for a daughter.

Sarah September 4, 2010 at 8:47 pm

I think you are one awesome daughter. You take care of your mom with amazing love. I think what you’re doing for her says alot about what she did for you…it really inspires me.

Ruth September 4, 2010 at 9:53 pm

what a beautiful post! this is so inspiring. thank you for sharing this idea!!

Blessings,
Ruth

Gail September 4, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Beautiful post, I could just see the garden and your moms smiles. God bless you both and welcome to PS.

Valrie September 4, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Lovely flowers and I so hope your mom is doing better. Having spent 5 weeeks this summer in the hospitals I can totally relate!

Please come by for a visit!

Valrie

Cathy September 4, 2010 at 10:49 pm

I’m glad your mother is taking it easy. She is blessed to have you for a daughter. And your flower pictures are lovely. Maybe I should think about some flowers this fall. But it is not a good time for allergies. Blessings ~

Kaye September 5, 2010 at 12:45 am

Hi Kathy, Thank you 🙂 Have a blessed week.

Kaye September 5, 2010 at 12:46 am

Hi Grace, Thanks so much for popping over. 🙂

Kaye September 5, 2010 at 12:47 am

Hi Denise. I’m so sorry. My sweet dad went to heaven 6 years ago. Very close! We have truly had a delightful time with our boomer and senior gardening this year, not to mention the Sunflower House activities for grandparents and their grandchildren. LOVE the projects for all ages, don’t you! 🙂

Kaye September 5, 2010 at 12:48 am

Hi Ginger, Thanks for stopping by. 🙂 I will tell mom hi – as you have guessed, she is another with a passion for gardening! And that’s the joy of her “raised beds garden.” She can “play in the dirt” without hurting her back. 🙂 Have a blessed week.

Kaye September 5, 2010 at 12:49 am

Hi Charlotte, That is so encouraging to hear. She gets better every day and I’m hoping we can get out to get those pansies pretty soon – just as soon as her yummy veges are done. Have a blessed week. 🙂

Kaye September 5, 2010 at 12:50 am

Hi Clif, Thank you and thanks for visiting. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Kaye September 5, 2010 at 12:50 am

Hi Virginia, Thank you 🙂 🙂 🙂

Kaye September 5, 2010 at 12:51 am

Hi Renee, Thank you! Those autumn flowers are definitely among my favorites as well! 🙂

Kaye September 5, 2010 at 12:51 am

Hi Rosie, Thank you. I have to tell you, I had a GREAT teacher – her! She’s been a blessing to me and so many others and it’s a joy working with her. 🙂

Kaye September 5, 2010 at 12:52 am

Hi Sarah, Thank you. You are so right. As I told Rosie, she taught me well and I am very blessed by her. 🙂

Kaye September 5, 2010 at 12:52 am

Hi Gail. Thank you so much 🙂

Kaye September 5, 2010 at 12:52 am

Oh my gracious Valrie, that is a lot! I hope and pray you are doing MUCH better and look forward to visiting at your site as well. 🙂

Kaye September 5, 2010 at 12:53 am

Hi Ruth, Thank you 🙂 🙂 🙂

Kaye September 5, 2010 at 12:54 am

Hi Cathy, Thank you! And I SOOOO know what you mean about the allergies! We’ve started noticing redder eyes and sniffles and are praying it won’t be as bad as spring! Time will tell. Thanks for popping over. 🙂

Valrie September 5, 2010 at 9:02 am

THANK YOU so much! I copied the html and it worked perfectly! Please become a follower if you haven’t and I am one of yours! check back Tuesday to see eins the giveaway!
Valrie

Lynn @thevintagenest September 5, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Happy Pink Belated Saturday. Very very nice post. I am lucky that my 86 year old Mom can still piddle around in her garden. It gives her so much pleasure. Thank you for visiting The Vintage Nest and I hope to see you often. Hope you are having a fabulous holiday weekend.

Bobbi September 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm

What is so awesome here is that you were sensitive not only to her slow recovery and not feeling up to par, but to her interests and wanting her to feel alive. You are a precious daughter. God will honor you for your love and giving to your mom. May He bless you richly.

Kaye September 5, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Hi Valrie, I’m so glad it worked for you! Have a blessed week! 🙂

Kaye September 5, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Hi Lynn, That’s so great. That’s my prayer for my senior mom and me at 86, that the Lord allows us to continue having fun gardening, grandkidding, and, in my case, computing away. 🙂

Kaye September 5, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Hi Bobbi, Trust me, it’s God that does that! Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

Jean September 5, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Welcome to Pink Saturday. Sorry I’m late getting around. Lovely pics.

Kaye September 6, 2010 at 1:57 am

Hi Jean, I’m still slowly getting through. Got slowed down a bit by a sweet grand-doggy! 🙂 Have a lovely week and thank you for stopping by!

Pain to Purpose September 6, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Great post, beautiful pictures!
Carrie

Kaye September 7, 2010 at 12:01 am

Hi Carrie, Thank you for popping by! 🙂

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