Written by Active Minds on Monday the 10th of February 2020.
Valentine’s Day is a special day dedicated to recognising and appreciating love for others. For those who’s partner is living with dementia, Valentine’s Day may not be the same as it once was and there may be changes you have to make to ensure the day is special. It is still important to celebrate days such as Valentine’s Day with your loved one in order to continue traditions and encourage reminiscence. Valentine’s Day is a day to honour yours and your spouse’s love for one another, both in the past and the present. Here are just some activity ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day together.
Arts and crafts are great for those living with dementia; they can be incredibly stress reducing and soothing as well as being a brilliant sensory experience. If you’re not afraid of a little mess it could be fun to get the paints out and have a go at making your own Valentine’s Day cards for one another. When making the cards it can be a good time to reminisce about previous Valentine’s Days and encourage conversation surrounding fond memories.
Looking through old photographs or even videos is a great way to spark memories. As mentioned above, Valentine’s Day is not just a time to celebrate your love in the present but also your love in the past and all the years you have spent with your partner. If you’re married, you could look through your wedding photos and reminisce about the day.
Try sparking a conversation about the day, you’ll be surprised by the power a photograph can have in triggering memories. Reminiscence activities such as looking through photographs can have a number of benefits including socialisation and increased engagement which is highly beneficial for someone living with dementias’ wellbeing.
Cooking is a brilliant sensory experience; the smell, taste, appearance and textures found in food is vast and can help to encourage conversation and provide stimulation. Cooking a Valentine’s meal with your spouse is a great way to get involved with an activity together whilst also creating something which you’re both going to enjoy eating. If you and your spouse love to cook this is a great activity to do on Valentine’s Day just make sure to keep health and safety in mind in the kitchen.
A trip out for the day is a great way to have a little change of scenery and allow both you and your spouse to spend some quality time outside in the fresh air or visiting a favourite spot such as a museum or gallery. Getting outside into a familiar environment can help with both mental and physical wellbeing. If you’re worried about taking a trip out with your loved one you could always recruit the help of other family members to come with you for the day and even contact your desired location and enquire as to whether they can make dementia friendly adjustments.
Flowers are a traditional Valentine’s gift, and can really brighten up the room they’re in. Why not make an activity out of it and pick some flowers with your loved one and make your own bouquets? This is a great way to get more of the senses involved and do something a little creative. In addition to this, gardening and picking flowers in general can have many benefits. It is a sensory experience as flowers have various scents, appearances and textures which can all be explored; the activity can help spark conversations whilst also improving wellbeing and providing stimulation.
Whatever you choose to do this Valentine’s Day, use it as a day to appreciate all the love between you and your partner, past and present and all the years you’ve spent together.