Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but for some seniors, it can be a sad reminder that they have lost a spouse or beloved companions, or perhaps they feel lonely or isolated from family members, loved ones or friends.
“Valentine’s Day can be a little over-hyped and commercialized, but it’s also a good reminder that everyone needs love in their life,” says Stefanie Small, clinical services supervisor and a geriatric care manager at Jewish Family & Children’s Service. “There’s nothing wrong with a day dedicated to celebrating and showing extra love and care, especially if you’re looking to dote on a special senior in your life.”
Through simple acts of kindness or a little extra effort, there are several ways to make this Valentine’s Day special for an older adult.
- Shovel sidewalks, driveways and/or walkways – Also consider setting up services on a senior’s behalf through Snow Angels, which enlists community volunteers to provide shoveling assistance on a regular basis in the winter.
- Volunteer for AgeWell Rides – AgeWell Rides is a free transportation service for older adults, which connects volunteer drivers with seniors who need to go to medical appointments, grocery shopping or social activities in the community–and rides can be used for anything that keeps seniors active and independent. You can help older adults stay connected to our community by becoming a volunteer. Click here or call 412-422-0400 to learn more.
- Drop off a care package for a neighbor – A care package can be just the thing to make this Valentine’s Day special for a senior. Fill a box with homemade goodies, a few small items and a nice card, and drop it off at a neighbor or loved one’s home.
- Take an older adult to senior-centric events – Look online or call local retirement homes and senior centers for Valentine’s Day-themed events, dances or socials that are exclusively for older adults. “These themed social events are opportunities to make lasting connections with other seniors.” Stefanie says.
- Make a phone call or stop by for a visit – “An older adult may focus on the fact that you’re busy with your own life and try to avoid bothering you,” Stefanie says. “But many times, they do want that interaction with you. A phone call or visit can mean so much.” Make sure you have uninterrupted time to spare and give them your full attention.
“Rather than looking at Valentine’s Day as a romantic obligation, try considering it as an opportunity to connect with older loved ones or a special older neighbor,” Stefanie says. “To make it even more special, try to keep these efforts going beyond February 14th.”