For many, Valentine's Day is a joyous holiday to celebrate with the person you love. Flowers, chocolates, cards, and kisses are exchanged. But for those with a loved one who lives with dementia, days like Valentine's Day bring unique challenges. Your loved one is still physically there with you but may no longer be able to relate to you as they did in the past. They may become disconnected from the symbolism of Valentine's Day, a day you may have once enjoyed together.
There are ways you can still celebrate the love you have shared without forcing feelings or setting yourself up for disappointment.
Here are some tips for marking the Day positively:
Purchase flowers. Set a fresh bouquet on a table near your loved one. Both of you can enjoy the scent and bring upon reminiscence.
Enjoy some Valentine's treats like cookies, cupcakes, or a small box of chocolate, health permitting.
Write in a Valentine card and read it aloud to your loved one. While they may not be able to grasp the whole meaning, the act of writing it and communicating your love can do wonders.
Share some old photographs with your loved one. Talk about the people in each photo. Again, the act of sharing memories will raise your spirits and give you a sense of having marked the Day.
Just talk. Share your feelings and memories. Talk about the time you first met, how you became engaged and other fond memories.
Valentine's Day is a celebration of love. Caring for a loved one with dementia is the ultimate expression of selfless, everlasting love. Approaching Valentine's Day in a new way will help you make a significant transition in your relationship with your loved one. More importantly, it will turn Valentine's Day from a day to avoid into a special day to share.
Happy Valentine's Day!