While Valentine’s Day is a day filled with love and affection for some, for many seniors it can be a reminder of loss and of loneliness. Many seniors have lost partners and spend Valentine’s Day widowed or living alone. Consider using this Valentine’s Day to show the senior or seniors in your life how very special they are to you. Here are a few ideas that will help you say “I love you” to a very special senior.
Few things are more meaningful than a handmade gift. Gather the children and sit down to make Grandma something very special that she will treasure for years. Handmade gifts are a fun, inexpensive, personal way to show your senior that you love them. Here are some great handmade gift ideas:
- Cards from you and/or the children - Use rubber stamps, markers, crayons, stickers, whatever craft supplies you have available and have a card-making afternoon with your family. For some fun ideas for cards you and your kids can make, click here.
- Baked goods - Bake cookies or cupcakes and decorate them with the whole family. Use icing and sprinkles. Write short messages or draw hearts on your sweet treats. For some fun Valentine’s cookie ideas, click here. For Valentine’s cupcake ideas, click here. You’re not limited to cookies or cupcakes. There are plenty of other fun Valentine’s-themed desserts that you can make, too, such as cakes and small candies, if you are up to the challenge.
- Handprint crafts - Gather the grandchildren together and make any number of special, keepsake handprint crafts. There are many different types of artwork that the kids can make. You can also use the kids’ handprints to make Grandma a t-shirt or a sweatshirt. Do these crafts far enough ahead of time so the paint can dry completely.
- Hand-written letter - In this technological age, hand-written letters are not as common as they used to be. Seal it and mail it or deliver it yourself.
- Photo collage or photo album - Do these photo crafts by hand or online. Make a photo collage by hand with scissors and glue and any other craft supplies that you have, or buy a nice photo album and slide photos into the sleeves. There are many sites online, such as Shutterfly and Snapfish, that let you upload your own photos and pull them into fun photo albums that you can order as many copies of as you like. These sites also offer other photo craft options, like calendars, mugs, blankets, and much more.
- Jewelry - Use wooden beads and string to make a homemade necklace. You can find wooden beads at any craft store nearby, like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. Companies like Melissa & Doug sell wooden necklace and other jewelry-making kits for kids that have all of the pieces you need. If you’re looking for a slightly more difficult yet fun craft, consider making earrings from wire. For other fun jewelry crafting ideas, click here.
If you’re not the creative type, purchasing a gift for your special senior is always an option. Remember that the cost of your gift and where it came from is never as important as who is giving it. Consider the following store-bought gifts:
- Books - Buy a book written by your senior’s favorite author, a book of crossword puzzles, or any other type of literature that they are interested in. If they are not a big reader, buy them a nice coffee table book, such as a book of art prints, cityscapes, or architectural wonders. Amazon has a great list of coffee table books.
- Flowers - Order flowers online from 1800Flowers.com and have them shipped to your senior, or find a local florist near you and have them design and deliver the flowers for you. Both of these ordering options give you the ability to attach a small card with a nice message.
- Food - Send candies, chocolates, cookies, or a fruit basket. Many companies allow you to order and ship food items to your loved one via their websites. Check out Godiva for chocolate-themed gifts, Cookies by Design for cute cookie gift baskets, and Edible Arrangements for fruit baskets. Companies like Harry & David and Wine Country offer gift baskets of all sizes with just about any yummy food items you can think of.
- Gift card - You can never go wrong with a gift card from your senior’s favorite store or restaurant. If you cannot decide on one specific place or if your senior has several favorite places to shop and eat, many malls will let you buy a gift card that is good for any store at that mall.
- Jewelry - A nice necklace, a brooch, cufflinks, or a watch are all great jewelry ideas. Find a local jewelry store or order jewelry online. Companies like Zales and Brighton let you design and order original keepsake jewelry online. Websites like Overstock.com and QVC offer good-quality, inexpensive jewelry.
- Monthly subscription - Check with your senior before you sign them up for anything, but monthly subscriptions are a fun way to keep the gifts coming, even after Valentine’s Day is over. If your senior is homebound, a monthly subscription is a great way to keep them from feeling lonely or disconnected. Subscriptions aren’t just for magazines anymore, although that is certainly still an option. Places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble offer ways to subscribe to several different magazines. But if you’re looking for something different, your subscription options are nearly limitless. A few of the subscription options that seniors might be interested in are:
- BarkBox sends a box of dog-themed goodies to your pooch. Items in the boxes are chosen based on your dog’s size.
- Birchbox sends beauty products and makeup sample kits.
- Blue Apron ships a recipe and its ingredients right to your door.
- Dollar Shave Club sends you new razors every month, six months, or nine months.
- Graze delivers a box filled with healthy snack options.
- Tea Sparrow sends you a sampling of different teas from around the world every month.
- Wine of the Month Club sends monthly wine deliveries. You can sign up for different wine package sizes.
Make a Special Delivery
Once you have your gift, if you live close to your senior, deliver the gift by hand for an extra special treat. Showing up in person, either just you alone or with the whole family, is a great way to remind your special senior that they are loved and cared for, not just on Valentine’s Day, but on every day of the year. Remember, your “special delivery” doesn’t necessarily have to come with a gift. Your gift can always just be your visit and your time. Sit and talk to your senior about Valentine’s past. Laugh with them over old stories and look through the photographs that go with those stories. Giving someone your time is one of the most important and special things you can do for someone.
Host an Event
Perhaps a tangible gift is not what you want to give. Consider hosting an event for your senior and their friends. You can plan a movie night or a sit-down dinner for them and their friends. If you prefer to keep it low-key, just provide finger foods and drinks and give the group the opportunity to mingle with other seniors who may be spending Valentine’s Day without a spouse or a partner as well. Seniors need their peers. The presence of someone who is going through the same life stage as they are is both a comfort and a reassurance.
Just Be There
Don’t worry if you can’t physically be there for your senior. If you can’t show up at their door or plan a special event, call them instead. Even if all you have is yourself and your voice to share, being there for your loved one is the most important thing. We all know that we are loved, but we are only human, and we do need to be reminded of that love sometimes. Remember that it is important for you to show your special senior that you love them every chance you get, not just on Valentine’s Day. A kind word, a long conversation, a hug, a hand on our hand, a kiss on the cheek—human connection and our need for it is the greatest proof of love there is.