Forget Me Not: Give thanks to your elderly loved ones |

Forget Me Not: Give thanks to your elderly loved ones

Noelle Leavitt Riley

As Thanksgiving nears, I’m reminded how thankful I am for my wonderful grandparents. Although my two biological grandmothers and my amazing step-grandfather have passed, I still have my Grandpa Bob and my Step-Grandma Jan.

I just finished writing two letters to Grandpa Bob and Grandma Jan, telling them how thankful I am for all they do. I told my grandfather “I’m thankful that you created our beautiful family.” And I told my Grandma Jan, who lost her husband this year, “I’m thankful for all you do for our family and for others.”

I think society often forgets to send little messages of thanks to their elderly loved ones who crave attention, especially around the holidays. Luckily, my two living grandparents aren’t in nursing homes, but there are many who no longer live in their homes and are no longer able to host a big Thanksgiving feast.

Therefore, I’d like to send a friendly reminder to reach out to the seniors in your life — whether it be through a letter, a phone call or a personal visit. I can’t imagine being alone or forgotten on the holidays.

Before my Grandma Mary passed away eight years ago, she was confined to a nursing home during the holidays, and I was astonished by how many of her neighbors in the facility never got cards, visits or phone calls. They just sat in their wheelchairs, staring at the walls or their TVs. I visited her every day, so I got an up close and personal experience of how our elders are forgotten, which is why I’m so passionate about reminding society to take time to send love.

I read the following quote this week, and I think it fits perfectly with making time for our elderly family members and friends:

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” — Charles Buxton

So please take time this Thanksgiving to give thanks to the special senior citizens in your life.

Noelle Leavitt Riley is the managing editor of the Craig Daily Press and the Saturday Morning Press. She and her husband, Shawn Riley, run the Forget Me Not organization where they take donated flowers to the elderly in nursing homes, letting them know they’re not forgotten by society. Reach her at 970-875-1790 or

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