By: Stephen Juliano on February 7th, 2017
14 Ways to Spend Valentine's Day with Your Senior Loved One
It can be hard for seniors who have lost their life-long partner, especially on the one holiday of the year meant to celebrate that love. But Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a day of sorrow for the senior in your life, there are ways you can share the love and turn the holiday into a celebration of the bond between your family.
Making your loved one’s home more festive can be a fun and easy way to get in the holiday spirit and make the day special. There are decorations you can purchase, but a better idea would be to make your own! You can easily cut out hearts from construction paper and stick them around the room, or do some more advanced projects like a stained "glass" window or festive garland. Whatever you decide to go with, make sure to include everyone in the activity to maximize the fun.
Valentine’s day is synonymous with treats, and what better way to celebrate than by making cookies or other sweets together? You'll even get the added benefit of being able to eat everything you make! You don’t have to slave over the oven to make the treats either. There are several easy recipes out there for you to make, from pre-made cookies to chocolate strawberries. If you do want to get a little more creative, there are certainly some impressive recipes available. The treats don’t have to be traditional either, there are even Valentine’s day drinks!
Who doesn’t like reliving old memories? It can be bittersweet for your loved one to look through all the old pictures of their partner, but it can also bring back the great memories they made together. The purpose isn’t to make them sad, of course, but to remember the good times. Once you get going, you’ll find there are plenty of laughs to be had while taking a stroll down memory lane. And keeping these memories in a scrapbook will allow your loved one to look back at them whenever they want.
Document your day
Grab a disposable camera before the day begins, and take pictures of all the fun activities you do together. You can turn the pictures into a photo book, or add them to the scrapbook you just made! Either way, it can be a fun reminder of the time you spent together.
Watch a romantic movie or rom-com
If DIY projects aren’t your speed, or you’re not sure if your loved one can handle them, watching a romantic movie can be a good way to spend time together. The movie can also be a good way to relax after baking or decorating. If your loved one has a favorite movie, that would be a good place to start. You can always look to the classics like “Gone with the Wind” and “Casablanca.” Romantic comedies more your speed? Try “When Harry Met Sally” or “Love Actually.” Some movie theaters may have Valentine’s Day specials, so check with your local theater to see if there’s anything going on nearby.
Listen to tunes
Whether it’s Elvis or Buddy Holly, Sinatra or Dean Martin, find out your loved one’s favorite songs and listen to them together. The music could take them on another trip down memory lane, and they’ll have good stories to tell for each of their favorite songs. You can even turn it into an impromptu dance or karaoke party!
Take a Field Trip
Many local attractions like the Zoo or Aquarium, as well as businesses will have events on or around Valentine’s Day. Going to visit for the day can be a fun way to get out of the house and make some memories. If your senior loved one needs help with mobility, make sure you go somewhere that can accommodate them.
What else is synonymous with Valentine’s Day? You guessed it, flowers! And while ordering flowers to be delivered to your senior loved one can be a nice gesture, delivering them in person would be even nicer. Get a bouquet of roses, or if your loved one has a favorite flower or color, get a bouquet matching those. Showing up with flowers can be a great way to kick off the Valentine’s Day festivities. Put the flowers in a vase and start decorating!
Many seniors love to garden, and it can be a fun way to involve flowers without buying a pre-made bouquet. Not only will these flowers last longer than the bouquet, but they can be a fun reminder of the day that your loved one can look back on every time they see their garden. Gardening also has the benefit of reducing stress and improving mental function in seniors.
Read old love letters
If your senior loved one has old love letters from their lost love, reading them together can be another nice way to relive old memories. Remember, just as with scrapbooking the point isn’t to make them sad, but to reminisce about what made their love so great. After you read the letter, it can be a great addition to the scrapbook too!
Write them a letter
If you’re not able to spend the day with your senior loved one, writing them a letter can mean a lot to them. Letters are a personal form of communication and you can take the time to let them know how much they really mean to you. Getting a letter from you is sure to brighten up your loved one’s Valentine’s Day, and they’ll be happier knowing you’re thinking of them.
Continue a tradition (or start a new one)
Your loved one may have had an old tradition with their partner on Valentine’s Day that they miss which you can help them continue. Maybe they went out to eat, or went on a walk through the park together. Whatever it is, ask if they would want to carry on the tradition with you.
Explore the new traditions waiting to begin at a senior living community
Involve the kids
You can make Valentine’s Day special for your senior loved one on your own, but if you have kids, bringing them along will make the day that much more special. Your loved one will enjoy seeing them, and kids bring with them a unique creativity and personality when making cards or decoration, and sharing the experience with your loved one is guaranteed to put a smile on their face.
Be there for them
The most important part of spending Valentine’s Day with your loved one is to be there for them; the best gift you can give them is your time and presence. You have the potential to turn a bad day into a great one, and having someone to share the day with will give them something to look forward to, instead of potentially dreading the holiday.
Any of these ideas will make Valentine’s Day a holiday to remember, so pick one (or more) and go visit your loved one. Valentine’s Day isn’t the only time you should visit! Make it a habit to visit regularly (and be sure to bring the grandkids), and you’ll see your senior loved one’s mood improve quickly.
Let us know if you have any fun Valentine's Day traditions in the comments!
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