Valentine’s Day is dedicated to love. And sometimes that means getting innovative, such as finding a way to have a romantic dinner for two when you’re living in long-term care. It can also be the joy of making a card for someone to show you care or having fun with your friends.
We took a look at how residents at three rural Alberta long-term care centres are celebrating February 14.
About 30 couples will be led through a candlelit entrance and taken to tables for two as part of the sixth annual Sweetheart Dinner at St. Therese Villa. Of those, 16 couples live together in the Lethbridge facility.
“They do have their suites, but for meals, they sit with other residents in the dining room,” says Christey-Ann Veldman, Activity and Volunteer Supervisor. “We try to encourage a little bit of private time.”
Staff and volunteers are servers for the night, bringing dinner and drinks to each table, to mirror a restaurant setting.
These types of special dinners give residents and their significant others an opportunity to experience a restaurant-like atmosphere without having to worry about dietary restrictions. Most importantly, the Sweetheart Dinner gives residents and their loved ones an opportunity to eat a meal together and connect, says Christey-Ann.
“Residents just love it,” she says. “They are just so happy to dress up and go out.”
Residents created homemade cards for family members, indulged in sweet treats and hammed it up at a photo booth at Mary Immaculate Care Centre in Mundare, during a pre-Valentine’s Day party.
“It makes us happy to do things,” says resident Art Higdon. “Seeing everyone else happy makes me happy.”
Every month, staff and volunteers work together to make days like Valentine’s Day special by bringing in food and celebrating.
“This is their residence, this is their home,” says Colleen Ubbing, Unit Manager. “We are looking for any reason to celebrate and bring a change to their daily routine.”
Couples will also indulge in a special dinner at Killam Health Centre.
This is the 15th annual Valentine’s Day dinner for couples at the site. Small tables ensure couples can enjoy a meal with their significant other. This year’s menu is a Chinese food buffet.
These types of celebrations are important for residents, says Alexandra Buchholz, Recreational Therapist at the centre.
“They still have love for their significant others,” says Alexandra. “Just because they are in here, doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to show that love on a special day like Valentine’s Day.”
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