Have a Heart this Valentine's Day for your Senior Loved One

Have a Heart this Valentine's Day for your Senior Loved One
At Interim HealthCare of Allentown we know that Valentine’s Day can be a lonely holiday for most seniors. Some of whom may have lost a spouse. Valentine's activities that aim to involve elderly persons and take into account their medical and dietary needs may not only keep loneliness at bay, but might also add some fun to Valentine's Day for your elderly loved one.

Time with Family
If you are a parent with elderly parents, get your children involved in some Valentine's Day activities with their grandparents that can brighten up their day.  Invite your senior loved ones over for some Valentine’s Day fun. Gather red, pink, white, and purple construction paper, several pairs of scissors, foam hearts, markers, beads and whatever other craft supplies interest you. Have the kids make Valentine cards for your elder loved one. When they are finished, have some cookie and cupcake recipes on hand and supervise a “baking contest”. Pair each grandparent with a child or divide everyone into teams. Give them adequate time to prepare their recipes, and then award stickers at the end for things like "Prettiest cupcake" or "Most interesting icing design." End the day with dessert for dinner--simply serve the baked goods in place of a regular dinner and join the bakers in enjoying their creations.

The Way to the Heart is through the Stomach
Ask your senior loved one for their special Valentine's Day recipes. Many elderly individuals who have moved into a nursing home reminisce about cooking for their families and will appreciate the chance to share their recipes. Seniors, including those who haven't moved to a nursing home, may enjoy being surprised by the very dishes made with recipes they shared. Be sure to pay attention to the dietary needs of your senior loved one. If an elderly woman shares a recipe for Valentine sugar cookies, but is diabetic, bake a sugar-free batch and bring notes of thanks for the tasty recipe provided.

Everyone Loves a Valentine’s Card
Gather simple card making supplies for any senior loved one you may have in your life and assist them in creating their own valentines cards. If the elderly in your care can still use scissors, glue and other craft supplies, supply construction paper, markers, heart stencils, and stickers and work with them. If volunteering or working at a senior home, coordinate a Valentine program for residents to exchange their cards with one another while enjoying Valentine treats and music. If you care for elderly individuals who may not be able to fold or cut paper for cards because of arthritis or other medical problems, include them in Valentine's Day craft activities by providing store-bought Valentine's cards that they can sign.

Commercialism aside, there is nothing wrong with taking a day to celebrate the people in your life that you love. And if that includes a special senior, don’t delay. Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to show love. This year, I challenge you to break out of the heart-shaped box and show love in a new way.

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