With the holiday season and New Year’s celebrations behind us, February quickly ushers in one of the most romantic times of the year: Valentine’s Day. From kindergarteners handing out little cards and candies to senior citizens enjoying special time with loved ones, Valentine’s Day is a holiday meant for everyone to feel the love.
Although Feb. 14 is a holiday that brings love and cheer, for some elderly loved ones who may be missing a spouse or special friend, it can also bring sadness, stress, and heartache, especially for those with dementia. To help balance out those feelings, we have pulled together a list of some fun senior activities and gifts to help everyone celebrate those around them.
Fun and Games
One great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but also encourage socialization and a bit of that competitive spirit in all of us, is to try some love-themed games and activities. Whether it’s a free printable Valentine’s Day word search, or sudoku, or even a fun game of bingo, setting up a game night with as many or as few people as you’d like is a great way to improve memory and reconnect with friends. For even more fun, use candies to mark your places or as prizes for completing a puzzle.
Valentine’s Day is also a great excuse to show your creative side, and decorating your space can help everyone to feel more festive this time of year. Instead of buying pre-made decorations or buying expensive cards, here are some fun projects that you can try with the loved ones in your life.
Take some red, pink, and white colored paper, simple stickers, glitter, and other fun accessories, and spend some time creating paper hearts with friends and family. You can then use them to decorate your space, or give them to friends and loved ones. Not only that, tasks like these can help to make sure creative energies are flowing while motor skills and hand-eye coordination is encouraged.
Painting and More
Watercolor painting is a simple and fun way to weave together the benefits of art therapy while also creating a personalized piece to share with the special people in your life. If that is not an option, trying a knitting, crocheting, or sewing project with reds and pinks to share or donate can also help to spread some festive feelings!
In addition to paper hearts and painting, the classic chain garland can also be a fun way to decorate your space. Using pinks, reds, and whites, cut equal sized stripes and hearts out of paper, string them together, and hand them around a common space or room.
From kindergarteners to seasoned lovebirds, there is often no better way to show someone you care than to exchange Valentine’s Day cards. If making your own cards is not an option, there are plenty of resources online, such as free printable cards to share.
You can also take it one step further and organize a simple, casual potluck or tea or coffee social and ask friends and family to bring cards to exchange.
The Gift of Your Time
When all is said and done, Valentine’s Day is not just about the gifts, the candy, or the cards — it’s about letting those around us know we care. Perhaps the best way to do that is through the gift of your time, especially with our senior loved ones. With your presence, you can bring so much happiness to a day that might have otherwise been like any other. Bring a special treat or a classic romantic comedy and just spend quality time together.
Helping with the care of our senior loved ones, especially those with dementia, can be challenging for families that already have busy schedules. Families that need help caring for their loved ones can look to Arbor Terrace, which offers supportive, active, and personalized care for each of its residents with activities like these and much more.