While Valentine’s Day is a joyous time of year for couples, it can be bittersweet and lonely for seniors who are still mourning a loss. Many seniors already struggle to cope with depression, and the combination of the two can lead to deep emotional pain and health effects. By celebrating Valentine’s Day with your senior loved one, you can show that the holiday is about love and not simply marriage.
How Can You Help?
- Send a Card: If you’re far away and can’t visit, send a card and encourage other relatives and friends to do the same. Brightening up a home or nursing facility with cards offering positive sentiments and checking in can make a huge impact.
- Pay a Visit: Include your loved one in your Valentine’s Day week or weekend plans! Keep in mind that they may be experiencing pain and sadness, but that’s completely normal. The grieving process is lengthy, but your loved one will sincerely appreciate your thoughtfulness and effort to include them in the holiday.
- Reminisce: Depending on how long it’s been since the loss, reminiscing and remembering happier times can be a meaningful way to spend Valentine’s Day. Look through old cards and scrapbooks, talk about past Valentine’s Day gifts or watch old videos. Sharing memories together will help you and your loved one to make new memories.
- Keep Traditions: Did your loved one have a special tradition with their spouse who passed away? Re-create the celebration or keep the tradition alive. You will never be able to replace the one who is missing, but you can help to lessen the sadness around Valentine’s Day.
- Do Something Fun: If you don’t have any traditions, why not start one? If you’ve been thinking about taking your dad out golfing or considering going to a tea room with your mom, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to start something new.
Is It Something More?
While it’s normal to have difficulty around big holidays like Valentine’s Day when a spouse has passed, your loved one could be going through something more serious. Almost 5% of Americans over the age of 50 experience at least one depressive episode a year. The signs of depression in seniors can include:
- Social withdrawal
- Appetite changes
- Sudden weight loss
- Increased pain
- Preoccupation with death or dying
If you are concerned your loved one is struggling with depression, seek professional help.
You’re Never Alone with Senior Care Lifestyles
At Senior Care Lifestyles, we specialize in facilitating the connection between seniors and the right in-home care, assisted living and senior living communities. We have assisted hundreds of families with finding effective and affordable solutions for loved ones. Get in touch today by calling 410-977-3718.