“Make someone happy, make just one someone happy, and you will be happy too.”
Jimmy Durante’s sage advice, sung in his comically clipped style in 1964 is fitting for Valentine’s Day. February 14 is the perfect day to take these words to heart and focus love on the seniors in your life.
The benefits of small, thoughtful acts can quickly counteract the weight of loneliness that seniors can experience in the face of the loss of a spouse, friend or family members. That’s why Jennifer Wasden makes sure every resident at Sunridge Gardens, an independent seniors’ living community in Langley, BC, gets a bear hug on Valentine’s Day. In fact, they get three.
Jennifer, Recreation Coordinator for Sunridge Gardens, works with her staff to create 155 Valentines — one for each resident. The hearts read, “Bear Hugs For You” and have a small bag of sweet crackers shaped like teddy bears attached. When residents leave their suites in the morning on Valentines Day, they find they’re gift waiting for them at the door
“Everybody needs to feel loved,” says Jennifer. “Sometimes love shows through a hug, a touch, or even a cookie.” Valentine’s Day offers a chance for simple and inexpensive expressions of love to the seniors in our lives.
TAKE TIME TO CHAT
A phone call, FaceTime visit, card game, or family meal will make their day. Handwritten cards and even typed letters give them something to look at again and again. Take just a few moments to let them know they’re in your thoughts on Valentine’s Day.
Brighten the day by reminding them of a funny memory from the past. Find an online video that will make them laugh and show it to them — there’s a reason cat videos are so popular on the internet! Buy a singing card or stuffed animal from the drug store. Mixing humour and thoughtfulness is powerful.
MAKE SOMEONE ELSE’S DAY
Help a senior celebrate someone else in their life. That might mean making a flower delivery together, baking cookies to share, or buying kid-friendly cards Valentines to give to younger family members.
ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO JOIN IN
Engage family members in showering love on seniors. Buy a pack of Valentines and have everyone write on a different one. Rally young children to draw pictures. Record a video message together on your phone and share it. Encourage young adults to make a call or send a message.
The magic of showing love to the seniors around you on Valentine’s day is just as Jimmy Durante described it, make someone happy, and you will be happy too.