February 8, 2018 14 Wellness-Boosting Valentine’s Day Activities for Seniors
Roses are red. Violets are blue. Seniors deserve fun activities…that boost wellness, too! These 14 creative Valentine’s Day activities will help your senior community’s residents celebrate the season of love – and live their best life. So, grab your cupid’s bow and start planning.
Mentally Stimulating Valentine’s Day Activities for Seniors
February 14th may focus on the heart, but these Valentine’s Day activities for seniors dive headfirst into improving mental acuity.
1) Haiku Poetry Workshop
February is the shortest month. No wonder it’s also National Haiku Month, celebrating the shortest form of poetry. One of the best Valentine’s Day activities for seniors is a haiku writing workshop. While haiku doesn’t rhyme, poems follow this format:
Line 1 – 5 syllables
Line 2 – 7 syllables
Line 3 – 5 syllables
Take haiku Valentine’s Day activities for seniors one step further with these ideas:
- Create a competition: residents read their haikus out loud, then vote for their favorites.
- Rotate the resident-written haikus on your TVs using digital signage.
- Add art! Residents can decorate and frame their best haiku.
- Invite a local elementary school or girl/boy scout troop to join in the haiku workshops.
2) Name That Love Song
Jog pleasant memories for your residents by hosting a Name That Love Song game as one of your Valentine’s Day activities for seniors. Find a list of tunes by decade, play a few bars, then see who can name the song or artist first. Bonus points if residents sing along!
3) “I Love Gaming” Meetup
Give residents a chance to bond over a little friendly competition with a gaming meetup. Go beyond Valentine’s Day activities for seniors – keep the meetup going year-round.
While board games and puzzles deliver a mental workout, neuroscientists found that digital games are the best brain boosters. One study by the University of California San Francisco revealed that racecar games in particular can improve memory, attention, and multi-tasking.
“Hearts” and Crafts Valentine’s Day Activities for Seniors
Crafts aren’t just a form of leisure. Studies show that crafting can boost happiness by as much as 81%. To add the benefits of socialization to crafting, create events around these Valentine’s Day activities for seniors.
4) Valentine Decorations
Plan Valentine’s Day activities for seniors that focus on décor. To improve resident confidence and create a festive atmosphere, display their artwork throughout your facility.
- Stained Glass Windows: This safe variation of making stained glass decorations doesn’t involve ironing wax paper…but the results are just as beautiful.
- Handmade Valentines: Valentine’s Day activities for seniors aren’t complete without the sharing of actual valentines! Host a party so residents can make their own.
- Secret Admirer Tree: Don’t put that Christmas tree away! Set out a basket of paper hearts. Seniors can write anonymous compliments for other residents and hang them on the tree.
- Valentine Mailbox: Using simple items like shoeboxes, residents can make a valentine mailbox to hang outside their door.
- Chain of Love: The traditional Christmas chain gets a Valentine’s Day upgrade. Residents write the name of a loved one on each link in the chain, then work as a group to tape each piece together.
5) Smitten Knittin’ Party
Launch Valentine’s Day activities for seniors who have a knack for knitting. Team up with a local homeless shelter and invite seniors to knit a hat or pair of mittens. Not only will seniors feel good about helping those in need, studies show that knitting makes people feel happier.
6) Coloring Circle
Coloring is an effective relaxation activity. Plus, research reveals it helps protect cognitive function in seniors. Add this popular pastime to your Valentine’s Day activities for seniors. Purchase adult coloring books. Or, download and print free Valentine-themed coloring sheets from the Internet.
Super Social Valentine’s Day Activities for Seniors
A study by Harvard University suggests that an active social life may delay memory loss in the elderly. Not all Valentine’s Day activities for seniors need to be romantic! It’s also a great time of the year to help seniors form new friendships.
7) Romantic Movie Night
Did you know cinema therapy is a “reel” thing? Some psychologists even prescribe movies to help patients work through issues. Show feel-good movies as Valentine’s Day activities for seniors. Provide the popcorn and invite residents to help select the movies.
8) Live Trivia Love
Residents love seeing new faces. So, bring in the community for a night of live trivia! Not only are community events great Valentine’s Day activities for seniors, it’s also a prospecting opportunity. Potential residents can see just how social, fun, and eventful life is at your facility.
Don’t be intimidated by the thought of hosting your own live trivia event. Companies like Buzztime partner with senior living communities throughout North America. From automatic scoring tablets to senior-friendly questions – and even training for staff – Buzztime can provide it all.
9) Valentine’s Day Mixers
These Valentine’s Day activities for seniors take a cue from the bar scene – where mixers are popular.
- Speed “Friending”: It’s speed dating with a twist! Residents get 5 minutes to meet a new friend before time is up…and they meet another resident.
- Meet Your Match: Residents fill out questionnaires about their favorite hobbies, interests, and music. Then, seniors can meet their “friend matches” at an event. To help new friends break the ice, plan Valentine’s Day activities for seniors to run at the event.
- Stoplight Party: Help seniors break out of the friend zone…by making it obvious if they’re available for dating! Seniors in relationships wear red, singles wear green. If it’s complicated? They wear yellow. It’s a lighthearted way to play matchmaker.
Relationship Goals: Romantic Valentine’s Day Activities for Seniors
Treat couples in your senior living community to a romantic night IN. Set the mood for love with these romantic Valentine’s Day activities for seniors.
10) Easy Date Ideas
For those with limited mobility, these Valentine’s Day activities for seniors at your facility double as date night.
- Scrapbooking for Pairs: Invite couples to bring photos for a scrapbooking session.
- Couples Spa: Turn your fitness center into a spa. Couples can enjoy side-by-side chair massages or manicures (yes…guys get “man”icures, too).
- Romantic Dinner: Keep your dining room open later for a special romantic dinner. Work with your culinary team to create a special menu. Or, invite your residents to help plan the menu as one of your Valentine’s Day activities for seniors. Set the scene: roses at each table, a live violinist or guitar player, and LED flameless candles.
- The 36 Questions: Print out the 36 Questions, created by psychologist Arthur Aron and shown to accelerate romantic relationships.
11) The Not-So-Newlywed Game
Reach out to residents who are married. See if they’d like to play “the newlywed game” (even if they’ve been married for decades). Other couples and even single residents will enjoy watching the “show.” Here’s how it works:
- Create a list of 10 questions – use these free printouts and 50 newlywed question ideas.
- Each person in the couple answers the questions privately.
- The host of your Valentine’s Day activities reads the question and the “newlyweds” guess how the other will respond.
Heart Healthy Valentine’s Day Activities for Seniors
February is American Heart Health Month. It’s the ideal time to integrate exercise and nutrition into your Valentine’s Day activities for seniors.
12) Exercise with Heart
While exercise is a must for senior heart health, it doesn’t have to be a chore. Turn exercise into fun Valentine’s Day activities for seniors:
- Try tai-chi. Based on slow, controlled movements, it’s ideal for improving senior balance and preventing falls. A study by the Oregon Research Institute found that tai-chi reduced the likelihood of falls by 55%.
- Bring in a dance instructor to teach ballroom classics – and new moves, too. Hip-hop classes are trending among baby boomers! For seniors in wheelchairs, there are even modified dances that focus on arm movements.
- Create a Valentine’s Day playlist of upbeat love songs. Play it during any exercise classes you offer.
13) Create a Heart Walk Team
Thousands of Heart Walks are hosted by local chapters of the American Heart Association (AHA). Consider signing up your staff and physically fit residents. Those in wheelchairs can participate as well.
If the majority of your residents have mobility issues, you can still raise awareness for heart health with these Valentine’s Day activities for seniors:
- Invite seniors to take part in the February 2nd “Go Red for Women” heart health awareness day by wearing red. Ask your local AHA chapter if a volunteer could lead a talk or Valentine’s Day activities for seniors focused on cardiac health.
- Use the free resources at the AHA Healthy For Good™ website. Print posters and handouts for your community.
- Provide seniors with red paper hearts – ask them to write one step they’ll take for better heart health. Hang the red hearts on a wall.
14) Sweet Treats with a Twist
Many facilities offer nutrition counseling to independent living residents who cook their own meals. Empower them to enjoy sweets…responsibly. Include workshops in your Valentine’s Day activities for seniors, like this example:
- The Healthier Side of Chocolate: Unsweetened cocoa powder is low in sugar and high in fiber. Provide cooking demos for healthy recipes like a savory chocolate molé sauce or a chocolate zucchini cake.
Even if cooking workshops don’t make your Valentine’s Day activities for seniors list, your kitchen can create a special February 14th breakfast menu with:
- Heart-shaped pancakes: made with beets to naturally turn pancakes pink.
- Chocolate waffle station: use wholegrain, low-sugar batter with a few tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder. Let residents add low-fat yogurt and antioxidant-rich pomegranate seeds, strawberries, and blueberries as toppings.
With a little creativity, you can turn February 14th into a month-long celebration of love, life, and health at your community. Here’s hoping your residents will fall for these Valentine’s Day activities for seniors!