Valentine’s Day is about love and happiness, all the more special when love has endured for decades. Senior couples that have spent their lives together have the most reason to celebrate this day as a commemoration of their ongoing commitment, lasting care, and constant support – in good times and bad times alike. It’s the perfect opportunity for them to remind each other how much they mean to one another and how happy they are to be together.
Even seniors who have lost their spouse or partner should be celebrating Valentine’s Day – it may be a sad reminder of their loss, but it is also a great opportunity to reminisce about the love of their life and remember their happy times together.
Comfort for Seniors on Valentine’s Day
If you have a senior loved one you suspect may be feeling sad and lonely on Valentine’s Day, you can help them find comfort and consolation at this special time. There are many ways to alleviate your aging relative’s sadness and encourage them to celebrate the occasion – engage them in fun activities, surprise them with delightful gifts, remind them that they’re loved and appreciated, etc.
Here are some enjoyable Valentine’s Day activities for senior citizens that will spark fond memories of love and happiness and will fill the day with joy and warmth:
1. Make Valentine’s Day Decorations and Cards
Valentine’s cards and decorations are fun to make and can greatly boost one’s mood and overall well-being. Crafts activities provide entertainment, stimulate the brain, enhance social interactions, and give a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
Making cards and decorations is a great way for seniors to channel their creativity – it takes little effort and requires only a few simple supplies, but gives aging adults a chance to express their aesthetic taste and artistic vision. Best of all, it is an especially lovely activity to do for grandparents and grandchildren, who can sit down and make simple crafts together:
- Valentine’s Day cards for family members and friends.
- Tissue paper heart wreaths to put on doors and windows.
- Tissue paper hearts to create a stained glass look on windows.
- Festive heart garlands to put along the walls or fireplace mantel.
Seniors who enjoy arranging flowers can also make bouquets to display throughout the house or give to their friends.
If you know your elderly loved one may need help with certain activities such as cutting, painting or gluing, be sure to provide materials that are pre-prepared and easy to use to prevent frustration or confusion during the crafting process.
Helping seniors with creative activities can be difficult for family caregivers, especially when they have other important tasks to tend to. Home care professionals, on the other hand, can assist seniors with crafting projects on Valentine’s Day and at any other time of the year, providing the elderly with a sense of purpose, stimulating their minds, and reducing the risk of boredom and isolation.
2. Make Valentine’s Day Cookies and Treats
Chocolate hearts and special treats have become a symbol of Valentine’s Day. If your elderly loved one enjoys cooking, preparing something special for the occasion will cheer them up and bring plenty of happy memories.
It’ll be best if you (or another member of your family) and your elderly relative make Valentine’s treats together:
- Heart-shaped pancakes, cookies, toasts, etc.
- Fruit tarts and pies.
- Chocolate cakes, waffles, and brownies.
- Strawberry smoothies, cranberry juice cocktails, and other festive non-alcoholic beverages.
Be sure to use whole-grain flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, low-fat batter, fruits and other healthy ingredients, so your elderly loved one can enjoy special treats that fit into his/her diet.
If your senior loved one doesn’t like cooking (or if it’s too difficult for them), treat them to a special dinner featuring their favorite foods. You can take them out to their favorite restaurant or make a feast at home – what matters is to spend some quality time together and enjoy a meal that will bring delight to your loved one.
Many older adults have difficulty preparing meals and maintaining a healthy diet. Professional in-home caregivers provide assistance with grocery shopping and cooking, ensuring that your elderly loved ones eat well and get ample rest. If you can’t always be there for your aging family member, home care services may be your best option for ensuring the well-being of your loved one and your own peace of mind.
3. Make a Scrapbook
Putting together a scrapbook of family photos is an enjoyable activity that will bring back fond memories of past Valentine’s Days, birthdays, holidays, and family vacations. It will make your senior loved one reminisce about happy times and will stimulate their memory and emotions in a positive way.
You can prepare materials and photos ahead of time if your aging relative tires quickly or you can spend the entire afternoon going through old pictures, letters, postcards, and other keepsakes. The colorful book of memories you create in the end is sure to become one of your senior’s most cherished possessions.
4. Watch a Romantic Movie
Watching old movies is among the most enjoyable Valentine’s Day activities for seniors. Seeing a classic romantic movie or romantic comedy will arouse positive sentiments, evoke fond memories, and encourage your elderly loved one to talk about the past.
Look for movies that are featuring great love stories and be sure to pick ones that are lighthearted and fun, so your loved one doesn’t get bogged down by a sad storyline. It’s best to choose an old-time favorite your family member might remember, such as Casablanca, Love Story, When Harry Met Sally, or Roman Holiday. This way, you’ll not only spend a couple of enjoyable hours with your elderly loved one, but will likely also get to hear some endearing stories about how your parents met and fell in love or other events from the past.
Don’t forget to bring popcorn or other special treats your senior would enjoy while watching the movie – the little goodies will add a lot to the experience.
5. Listen to Romantic Music
Love songs are just as certain to bring sentimental feelings and cherished memories as romantic movies. They’re also relaxing and soothing and captivating – and, thus, create the perfect atmosphere for Valentine’s Day. The same is true for reading love stories and poems to your senior loved one as well.
You can even add an enjoyable challenge to the activity – play a “name that song/poem” game with your elderly loved one. All you need to do is find several popular tunes or poems from their youth, play a few bars or read a few lines, and see if they can remember the name of the piece and the singer/author – and if they have any memories connected to that song or verse they would like to share.
6. Go to a Senior Dance
Dancing is one of the best Valentine’s Day activities for the elderly – not only is it a great way for them to socialize with others and have fun, but it’s also very good for the health and vitality of the body and mind.
Active seniors may welcome the opportunity to go to a dance and mingle with others. On Valentine’s Day, many senior clubs and centers host dances specifically for older adults – they have an earlier start and ending time than other types of festivities, the music is slower and more melodious, etc.
So, if your elderly loved one has no mobility issues, encourage them to attend a dance event for seniors in the community or help them throw a Valentine’s dance at the house for friends and family – it will make the day bright and merry.
If you don’t have the time to accompany your family member to a dance event or help them organize a dance at home, a trained caregiver can give you a hand – he/she can be a perfect companion for your loved one and assist them in fulfilling their wishes. Home care is a wonderful solution for older adults who need companionship and socialization or some help with household tasks.
7. Have a Day Out
Taking your senior loved one out on Valentine’s Day is sure to bring them enjoyment and excitement. You can visit a local attraction like a museum or a stately home or just go for a walk in the park. Even better – you can ask your family member if there is anywhere in particular that they’d like to go.
Getting out of the home and spending time with loved ones will help your senior focus less on what they’ve lost and more on what they have now, reminding them that life is good and they are still loved and valued.
8. Engage in Valentine-Themed Games
Last but not least, you can celebrate Valentine’s Day and improve your senior loved one’s mood and mental health by engaging them in enjoyable Valentine-themed games and activities:
- Coloring – Coloring is a wonderful way to relax and be creative – just print several free Valentine-themed coloring sheets from the Internet and enjoy some artistic time together with your aging family member.
- Jigsaw puzzles – Doing a beautiful Valentine-themed jigsaw puzzle will provide many hours of fun and enjoyment for your senior loved one (plus, doing a puzzle is proven to reinforce connections between brain cells and improve mental speed and short-term memory).
- Board games and card games – Chess, checkers, dominos, monopoly, and any other board games and card games your senior loved one can play (and enjoys playing) are all great Valentine’s Day pastimes – and mind motivators. Word games, like charades and word searches, are especially beneficial for older adults struggling with Dementia (the games should all include words like romance, flowers, and candy, of course).
- Bingo – Bingo is a fun game many seniors love to play – it allows them to socialize while keeping their brain active. For Valentine’s Day, you can create/purchase special bingo cards with hearts and other decorations on them, use candies or cut-out hearts as markers, change the rules of the game by aiming to create a “heart-shaped” win instead of traditional rows, etc. (and give out Valentine’s treats as prizes to the winners, of course).
- Scavenger hunt – Hide candy hearts and other Valentine-themed objects around the home for your senior loved one to find. A scavenger hunt can provide older adults with more than just entertainment – it can help enhance their brain function and keep them physically active. To make the game more stimulating, write out clues on heart-shaped paper and leave them around the home for your senior loved one and other participants to find.
Bonus tip: If your loved one had a particular Valentine’s Day tradition with their spouse, such as visiting a special place or going to a specific restaurant, ask them if they would like to continue the tradition with you or other family members.
Whether you need help brightening Valentine’s Day for your senior loved one or need live in care services, Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help. Whatever the specific circumstances in your case, if you have an aging parent or family member in the Schaumburg, IL, area who wishes to age in place, we can provide the assistance they need in order to live safely, healthily, and happily in their own home.