Valentine’s Day is upon us once again, and with it comes plenty of inspiration to celebrate the joy of love. In what is normally a cold and dull month, Valentine’s Day helps brighten up February and gives us all a good excuse to put up decorations, exchange gifts and place love at the heart (pun intended) of our thoughts and plans for the day.
For many older care home residents, there will most likely have been a lifetime of loving, romantic relationships to look back on and celebrate. From the excitement of early courting, getting to know each other and engagements to marriage or civil partnerships, family life and growing older together, there is much to reminisce about romance down the years. This Valentine’s Day, why not help your residents – and staff – enjoy a day fill of love and laughter? After all, according to the famous saying, “love makes the world go round.”
Here are some ideas to help your care home residents celebrate the most loving day of all this 14 February.
Arts and crafts
We all appreciate receiving cards – especially if they have been hand made with love and care. Plan an afternoon of card making for residents to enjoy, along with some Valentine’s Day themed tea and cakes. People can make cards for significant others if they wish to, or simply as an expression of love and affection for family members, friends or even staff members to say thank you for their care. Alternatively, the finished cards could be put up on display around the home to cheer up the weeks between now and Easter.
Many care home residents may like an afternoon of baking, with the finished results forming the centrepiece of a special Valentine’s Day teatime spread. Ask people what some of their favourite recipes are and provide access to PCs or tablets for more online research. Write a list of ingredients and equipment that will be needed in advance to make sure that you have got everything to hand for the baking session itself. Some simple ideas for cakes and biscuits include cupcakes with pink and red decorations, rice crispy treats dipped in melted chocolate, fruit skewers and heart-shaped biscuits or jammy dodgers.
Poetry in motion
Some of the world’s most beautiful poetry has been inspired by love. In fact, so strong is the emotion that it allows us to transcend prosaic, everyday language in search of more meaningful expressions of romance, love and desire. Plan a poetry reading session to bring some of these beautiful works to life. You could either ask a local actor along to recite some love poems, or invite residents and staff members to choose their favourites and read them aloud. Or hold a creative writing session for people to craft their own sonnets, rhyming couplets, epic poems or limericks – all dedicated to love.
The food of love?
Just as poetry about love can stir the soul, so, too, can music. From early madrigals and instrumental music to contemporary pop songs, love and romance have long provided inspiration to musicians, lyricists and composers. Make up a playlist of songs and pieces of music on the theme of love and have them playing throughout the day. They would make a lovely accompaniment to lunch and dinner, as well as help your residents enjoy sweet dreams just before going to bed. Singing along to a piano or guitar together can also help promote a sense of community and give people an opportunity to join in however they wish to.
Movie night (or afternoon)
Finally, who doesn’t enjoy an old-fashioned love story or uplifting romantic comedy? Take advantage of the most romantic day of the year with a movie night, or afternoon. Grab some popcorn, sweets and soft drinks – or tea and cakes – for everyone and settle down in front of the screen for some unashamed love story magic. If you cannot decide what to watch, pull names out of a hat or hold a vote for the most popular. Or enjoy an “afternoon at the ballet” by showing excerpts on DVD, TV or via a streaming service of a selection of romantic pas de deux dance scenes set to beautiful, classical music. What’s not to like (or love!)?