I always feel that once we get through January, we have broken Winter’s back. In my mind’s eye I can see a calendar in which January’s page always looms larger than that of the other months. The white squares seem extra big and empty. With the exception of honoring the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, there is little else for one to anticipate or celebrate during that month. Never mind that it is also the month of single digit temperatures and snowfalls that create a frozen tundra until April.
So thankfully, that’s all behind us now and here we are, in February. What a contrast! This is a month of multiple celebrations – the birthdays of two presidents; Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, the much anticipated Winter Break and, of course, Valentine’s Day. Pink and red hearts, long-stemmed roses and chubby cupids are everywhere loudly reminding us that Valentine’s is all about the love – being in love, looking for love, hating on those already in love! It used to be so easy when we were young – the big excitement was giving and receiving all those little, funny valentine’s cards to every kid in the class! (Cooties had not yet been factored into the social scene) Now there is so much pressure – choosing the best restaurant with the most impressive romantic dinner package, looking for tell-tale signs that the big question is going to be asked, despairing of being single forever and/or introducing legislation to have Valentine’s Day stricken from the calendar.
It is so easy to get caught up in the madness and hype of the day! For me, I am happy with a box of chocolates and take-out Chinese food. But then again, I was influenced by the philosophy of a life-long advisor who would tell me time and again, “All these holidays are money rackets. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and now Christmas is, too. It’s all a money racket. People should be good to each other 365 days a year, not just for one day. It’s all ^#&*^%^*&!
And he was right, of course. The outpouring of love and recognition we share on these holidays should be expressed every day, perhaps not with same intensity (that would be exhausting), but with consistent efforts. These holidays should be opportunities to affirm, not announce, our feelings towards those we love.
The seniors in our lives especially should benefit from our ongoing attention and involvement in their daily routines. To sit, have a cup of tea and a chat is far more precious to them than being the recipient of an expensive, flat screen TV or a cashmere sweater. For an elderly loved one to know that they will see you once a day, twice a week or whatever a schedule allows, is huge. Particularly, if it is someone who lives alone. Knowing that a visit is imminent gives them something to look forward to and plan around. Also, a quick call to say hi, do you need anything at the store, etc. brings such peace of mind to them as they realize they are not alone.
It is so important for seniors who live alone to be regularly connected to individuals and/or organizations for socialization and support. As people are living longer and there is a renewed emphasis on aging in place, more services are becoming available to make this happen.
A perfect solution for many seniors who live alone or who are along during the day, are the Adult Day Care Services programs. These programs provide door to door transportation so that seniors can enjoy a wonderful day of socialization, meals, parties, events and so much more. Medical services can be provided as well. These programs offer structure and purpose for our seniors who would otherwise be alone for the entire day and evening.
So yes, by all means buy your loved one a special gift on Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, etc. Just remember, while a gift of chocolates is appreciated, the gift of spending time with someone is priceless.
For more information on Adult Day Service programs in Westchester County, please call 914-941-7300.