Hearts and flowers are not for all
February 13, 2019
Care home teams should pause for thought before Valentine’s Day events and activities, a Care UK dementia expert has cautioned.
“Valentine’s Day has become a staple in the calendar for many care home activities,” said Suzanne Mumford, a quality development manager at Care UK.
“While there is nothing innately wrong with this, we must remember that supporting someone living with dementia means being especially sensitive to what has happened in their lives, including bereavement of a loved one – no matter how long ago.”
Activities designed to get residents thinking about their soulmate can bring back both positive and negative memories for anyone reflecting on their lives. Who can forget the feelings of a broken heart, of unrequited affections or the heady feeling of new love?
“Many residents have experienced all of these emotions and more,” said Suzanna.
“We need to take care to respect and support them with the feelings our Valentine’s celebrations and activities may evoke.
“In Care UK homes, our Valentine’s celebrations focus on the feelings of being loved; reinforcing each person’s sense of self, and validating and valuing individuals and their relationships.
“Our teams use the theme of Valentine’s in creative arts including pottery, art, poetry and music which, extensive research shows, improves people’s ability to engage and communicate with others.
“However, for those residents who would like to share a meal with a loved one – be they partners, children or friends – our chefs go all-out to make it a special occasion, with luxurious menus and beautiful table settings. “At the same time they are vigilant, looking to support any resident who may be experiencing a negative impact from remembering, or who just ‘can’t be doing with all that nonsense.’
“Care UK has invested in increasing the number of lifestyle coordinators in our homes. To support everyone, we ensure there are other activities and sufficient team members to just sit and chat, if that is what the resident wants: after all, everyone deserves their own perfect Valentine’s Day.”