Five Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your Aging Loved One
Valentine’s Day is all about romance, chocolates and flowers, right? Not necessarily! For some, often seniors, it can be a day of mixed emotions, melancholy or feelings of loneliness. Especially during the winter months, while many are still recovering from the post-Christmas blues, Valentine’s Day can be a great opportunity to refocus and celebrate love of all kinds. The day does not have to be an empty Hallmark holiday but can be an opportunity to reminisce and a reminder to express love and appreciation to those in our lives that matter.
Here are a few ideas to make the day special and joyful
Your presence is the greatest gift.
Sharing our time in an unhurried and generous way is the greatest present. Spending time together, maybe creating a Valentine’s craft together or listening to (or making) music can be a fun way to create a theme. Involving other family members, especially grandchildren, can brighten the day. Cooking or baking together can also be a wonderful way to connect and celebrate family traditions. A favorite taste or smell can bring back memories and as we all know, the way to the heart is through the stomach!
Allow your loved one to walk down memory lane and maybe even learn new factettes about their past. Ask questions about their first date, their first love, their first kiss, their wedding day and favorite Valentine’s memories. As a care manager, I love learning about my clients’ history and am always amazed about the interesting tidbits I learn when I ask new, open ended questions and allow their minds to wander. Finding and framing a meaningful keepsake can add a special touch or looking at photo albums together. My grandparents enjoyed watching my wedding video or looking at pictures from their daughter’s weddings.
Change It Up.
If it is possible, plan a fun outing. Maybe a movie at the theater or a special meal out. If that is not possible, maybe a movie night at home with popcorn can be just as special. Arranging for a massage or pedicure can be a wonderful treat for an aging loved one as well. A spa day or a DIY spa experience at home can be fun. The gift of physical touch can be therapeutic in many ways.
Create opportunities to give.
Often, giving can be sweeter than receiving. Find out if and how your aging loved one may want to recognize others. Take them shopping or assist them in creating cards so they can pass out goodies to their family, friends or maybe their caregivers. It’s also a way to take inventory of and show gratitude to those in our lives that matter and make a difference.
Loving from Afar.
Are you one of the many long-distance care givers? It can be so hard to be far from our loved ones, especially on holidays. It can create a sense of disconnect and sometimes even guilt. Sending a personalized care package, maybe including personalized artwork, cards, favorite treats and pictures can be a nice way to brighten the day. Another option would be to enlist help! If you are unable to be there yourself or need creative ideas, you can enlist the help or a geriatric care manager, also called an Aging LifeCare Manager, to identify areas of need and learn about resources available to enhance your loved ones’ quality of life on Valentine’s Day, and any other day!