With romantic love setting the scene in February and for Valentine's Day, other types of love often don't get the encouragement and attention they deserve. For seniors in an assisted living community, understanding platonic eros can be important because relying on old friends and making new ones may be integral to your contentment and life during your chapter in a senior community.
Psychology Today notes that we "cleave to our friends for a sense of completeness, affirmation, belonging and love." We share memories and experiences with them that are meaningful as the years progress. And while February is often seen as a time to share moments with and appreciation for romantic partners, it can also be a good time to show someone you care in a platonic way. Here are a few ideas for seniors who want to appreciate friends, family or their assisted living community members.
Fresh flowers aren't something every friend might enjoy, but if you have a close friend or family member who loves a fresh-cut bit of nature in their home, consider sending them a bouquet. It's probably best to avoid romantic-love symbols such as red or pink roses or carnations, but daisies, sunflowers, lilies and other flowers can be a great friendly pick-me-up. That's especially true when they're accompanied by a card that tells the person how much you appreciate their friendship.
Many times, simply taking the time to let your friend know how much they mean to you can be a huge boost for them. You can do this verbally in person, by making a phone call specifically for the purpose or by sending them an email or card in the mail. While it doesn't matter how you communicate these words of affirmation, do keep a few things in mind.
First, communicate in a way that is comfortable for you. If you're terrible with expressing yourself in face-to-face situations, the true sincerity and meaning of the affirmation may be lost. Second, try to choose a method of communication that fits the person in question when possible. If the person struggles to access their email on a regular basis or has previously said they don't feel a genuine connection with email communication, sending a hand-written card may be more appropriate.
Everyone receives and expresses love in different ways. Love languages can include words, gifts, acts of service and touch, but for some people, time is what tells them you care for them. If you have friends or family that seem to enjoy spending time with you, make plans this February to enjoy their company. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Invite them for coffee or tea in your assisted living apartment, plan to go out to eat or dine in the Bethesda Garden's dining room or spend time visiting a local attraction or shopping.
These tips all work in reverse if you're someone who has a senior loved one or friend. Whether they currently live in an assisted living community or not, take some time to reach out to them this February.