In the United States, it is estimated that 16 million seniors live by themselves. As spouses pass away and social circles grow smaller, Valentine's Day can become an increasingly difficult holiday for seniors to celebrate.
If you're looking for activities to do with a senior loved one this Valentine's Day, look no further. Whether you're spending the day with a spouse, parent, or friend, these activities are sure to warm your hearts.
- Cook and share a sweet treat. Studies have shown that homemade cooking is likely to reduce the risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases because it tends to be healthier than restaurants. We recommend cooking a heart-healthy dessert like our Berry Crumble à la Mode recipe!
- Go for a walk. Pick your favorite spot – perhaps a nature trail or a hub in the city – and go for a stroll. A more active lifestyle is beneficial to brain and heart health and is a fun alternative to an expensive night on the town.
- Share memories and laughter. Reminisce about memories by bringing out old photographs, videos, or love letters. Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to spend quality time with your partner or enjoy the benefits of intergenerational connection by helping the senior in your life share memories with younger family members.
- Have a movie night in. It can be fun to kick up your feet and have a restful night in. Pick out your favorite movie from a local library or online streaming service, make your dessert and get cozy!
- Perform a puppet show. Puppets can be a great way to engage with someone with dementia. Puppets can stimulate memories, enhance communication, and bring a joyful mood to your evening.
- Go to a museum. Spend the afternoon enjoying art together and picking out your favorite pieces. Head to the gift shop and pick up a postcard or print of your favorite piece to help you remember the afternoon in the future.
- Play a card game. Card games are a great way to keep your brain healthy. From Go-Fish to Bridge, there's something for every interest and ability level.
- Paint with watercolors. There are many benefits of art therapy. Painting or drawing encourages interaction, sharing and trust.
- Make a puzzle. Send the day inside with your loved one and put together a puzzle of one of their favorite scenes.
- Listen to music. People who have lost other memories can often still remember the lyrics to their favorite song. So play some tunes from your loved one's hay-day and hum, sing or dance along.
5 Valentine’s Day Crafts for Seniors
If you are looking to do a craft with your loved one, these activities are simple and easy crafts that are bound to make you and your loved one have a special Valentine’s Day.
- Make Valentine’s cards. Valentine's Day is the perfect time to share happy emotions and feelings for others. While some seniors may be lonely at this time of the year, connecting with their caregivers, neighbors, or their family by making Valentine’s Day Cards is a great way to bring joy and positive feelings. Use markers, crayons, or watercolors, and pink and purple cards!
- Valentine’s rose bouquets. Everyone loves roses, especially on Valentine’s Day! Get an assortment of different colored roses and some parchment paper, and put together a beautiful bouquet. After putting together a bouquet, the seniors can keep it by their bedside to wake up to a beauty every day.
- Make dark chocolate covered strawberries. Dipping strawberries in dark chocolate is a healthy, easy, and engaging craft for seniors. Doing this is a great opportunity to talk about love and lightheartedly engage with your loved one. Serve with tea for an extra relaxing and loving time.
- Decorate a picture frame. Valentine’s Day is a great day to remember who you love and think about them. For seniors, reflecting on their family or their loved ones by making a picture frame can be an uplifting and heartfelt craft. Decorate a picture frame with your loved one and put a picture that they can keep nearby to be reminded of who they love and who loves them.
- Write a heartfelt letter or poem. Who doesn’t love connecting with people that are important, especially on a day filled with love? Write a letter to someone special, or a poem to another senior with your loved one. They are bound to have something nice to say or something they want to write down and even keep for themselves on this special day.
No matter how you choose to spend the day, enjoying Valentine's Day with your loved one is sure to strengthen the bond you share. Tear open your box of Sweethearts and use some of these ideas to send the message that you care this Valentine's Day.
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Dark Chocolate Bark with Toasted Almonds and Dried Blueberries and Cherries
Wondering how to have a sweet treat that’s healthy this year? Get a hit of antioxidants and omega-3s at dessert time with this nutty, fruity chocolate bark. Melting the chocolate slowly over very low heat will yield the best results. You can also melt it a few seconds at a time in a microwave. Stop cooking before the chocolate is completely melted and stir out the last few lumps until smooth.
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup pomegranate
- Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. In a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally, just until the mixture is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.
- Stir the almonds, blueberries, and pomegranate seeds into the melted chocolate. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, scrape the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread out to a thickness of 1/4 inch.
- Refrigerate the chocolate bark until completely firm, about 2 hours. Break or cut into chunks.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Makes 12 oz.