While most of America is decorating storefronts with paper hearts and running out to buy greeting cards that profess your love, there are many people who are not interested in Valentine’s Day. Due to the constant reminders of love and romance, Valentine’s Day can be a difficult time for seniors who have lost a spouse. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people across all age groups to experience feelings of loneliness and depression around this time of year after the loss of a loved one.
While taking the time to properly mourn and remember a lost loved one is important, you must also be wary that you don’t isolate yourself. Loneliness in the elderly has been linked to numerous health threats, including:
- Early mortality
- Cognitive decline
- High blood pressure
So instead of thinking of Valentine’s Day as a couple’s holiday, why not try socializing with friends and family this year instead? After all, Valentine’s Day serves as a reminder to let all those closest to you know just how much you care about them.
Valentine’s Day Activities For Seniors & Their Loved Ones
From arts and crafts to healthy Valentine’s Day recipes, there are plenty of Valentine’s Day activities you can enjoy with those you love most, like your children and grandchildren. Here are a few ideas to consider:
Make Valentine’s Day Cards
Not only is this traditional Valentine’s Day activity the simplest way to brighten someone’s day, but it’s also a great way to spend time with your grandchildren. All you need are some arts and crafts supplies, like construction paper, markers and crayons, and a list of people you’d like to make cards for -- family members, friends, neighbors, or even servicemen and women. Organizations like Hugs for Soldiers make it easy to send warm wishes to soldiers who are far away from home on Valentine’s Day.
Cook Healthy Valentine’s Day Recipes
While cookies and cakes covered in red or pink icing are the most popular desserts this time of year, they’re certainly not the most beneficial for your waistline or your overall health. Opt for these heart-healthy Valentine’s Day recipes listed below instead. What better way to show someone how much you care about them than by making something healthy?
Valentine’s Berry Platter (from Super Healthy Kids)
Using the festive colors associated with Valentine’s Day, this Valentine’s Berry Platter calls for strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, all of which you’ll enjoy dipping into a tasty chocolate strawberry yogurt dip.
- 1/2 cup chocolate pieces
- 1/2 cup strawberry Greek yogurt
1. Melt chocolate, cool for 30 seconds.
2. Stir in yogurt until well combined.
3. Serve with fruit.
Peanut Butter and Pretzel Truffles (from Eating Well)
Sure to satisfy your cravings for something sweet and salty, this dessert is delicious and healthy, with only 64 calories per truffle!
- ½ cup crunchy natural peanut butter
- ¼ cup finely chopped salted pretzels
- ½ cup milk chocolate chips, melted
1. Combine peanut butter and pretzels in a small bowl. Chill in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes.
2. Roll the peanut butter mixture into 20 balls (about 1 teaspoon each). Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and freeze until very firm, about 1 hour.
3. To melt chocolate, microwave on medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted.
4. Roll the frozen balls in melted chocolate. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.
Plan a Movie or Game Night
With Valentine’s Day falling in the middle of winter, there shouldn’t be pressure to leave the house in order to celebrate the occasion. Invite nearby friends over for a game night, and suggest that it becomes a weekly tradition so you can continue to stay socially active on a regular basis. Whether you choose to indulge in a comedy, drama, romance, adventure or documentary, sharing the experience of watching a movie with friends or loved ones will provide you with a feeling of togetherness and spark a conversation afterwards. You might even use it as an opportunity to share those healthy Valentine’s Day recipes!
Do you enjoy knitting, crocheting or sewing? If so, Valentine’s Day is a perfect time of year to make red, pink or purple scarves, hats or blankets to donate to local shelters, community centers or hospitals. You can also check your local community center or non-profit organizations for other volunteer opportunities. Giving back comes with many health benefits, including fewer functional limitations, longer life expectancy and combating loneliness in the elderly.
No Need To Be Alone At Home
Thanks to these Valentine’s Day activities, Valentine’s Day is a great day to spend with your loved ones, but there’s no guarantee that they will always be there in an emergency. If you live alone, it’s essential that you do everything you can to promote your safety in the home, and the best way to do that is with a Medical Guardian medical alert device. Whether you experience a fall, medical emergency, house fire or power outage, all you have to do is push a button and help is on the way.