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5 Ways to Make Valentine's Day Special for the Senior in Your Life

Bouquets of flowers, conversation hearts, plush teddy bears, Xs and Os ... Romance and confections are what Valentine’s Day is all about, right? Well, not necessarily. While the holiday is often known as the exclusive domain of lovers, it can also serve as a reminder to express love and appreciation to all the special people in your life.

At Catholic Eldercare, we encourage you to celebrate the day with your aging parent or loved one. Whether they still live at home or are being cared for by others, there are ways to make this holiday memorable and upbeat. We’ve come up with five ways to show your affection this Valentine’s.

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Your presence is a present. Pay your loved one a visit and carve out enough time in your day so you don’t spend it feeling rushed or harried. Brighten up their space with fresh flowers or Valentine’s cards made by yourself (or your children!). A creative, handmade gift can be more meaningful than something store-bought.

Take a trip down memory lane. Use this holiday as an opportunity to help your loved one experience the joy and self-worth associated with a cherished moment. Prompt fond memories with questions like “Did you exchange Valentines growing up?” or “Who was your first date?” Leaf through photo albums and look back on the love you shared - and continue to share - as a family. Consider framing a special moment in time for an extra heartfelt touch. 

Savor the moment. It’s likely that your loved one has experienced a time or two in which they longed for the days of preparing meals for others. Ask for a favorite recipe (in advance!) and surprise them with it on Valentine’s Day. It’s been said that the sense of taste can evoke a joyful memory and conjure the comforts of home.

Do something unexpected. Has your loved one been experiencing cabin fever this winter? On the heels of Punxsutawney Phil’s extended winter prediction, plan a fun-filled outing (call it a “date” for fun!): Go to a bakery or coffee shop, see a matinee movie, or head out to the local library.

Curate a care package. Live at a distance? Sending a care package will provide warm greetings and let your loved one know they’re in your thoughts. Assemble a basket that incorporates personal interests and hobbies, savory treats, and handmade gifts and photos from family and friends. The best of all worlds.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said it best: “There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice.” There isn’t just one kind of love. Make this February 14th the first footprint of a closer walk with the senior in your life.