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Spread the Love This Valentine's Day: Crafts and Cards for Seniors in Long-Term Care

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

Valentine’s Day is a special time of year to show love and appreciation for those we care about. But what about those who are elderly and living in long-term care facilities? Many of these seniors may not receive visits from family and friends, and as a result, feel lonely and forgotten. This holiday is especially difficult for those who have lost their significant other and no longer have a valentine. However, you can help spread the love and make sure these seniors know they are not alone this Valentine’s Day. Let’s learn more about the effects of loneliness and how you can help!

A 2020 study involving long-term care residents without cognitive impairment revealed that more than half reported feeling lonely. These feelings of loneliness have been shown to increase the chances of depression, alcoholism, suicidal thoughts, aggression, anxiety, and impulsivity. Furthermore, loneliness has been found to be a major risk factor for cognitive decline, Alzheimer's progression, recurrent stroke, obesity, high blood pressure, and death. This is especially the case for those who have been unexpectedly isolated due to a death in the family, retirement, immobility, or a lack of transportation.

It is important to note that loneliness is not always the result of social isolation. While some residents may have social relationships, they must be meaningful ones to ensure that loneliness does not develop. Therefore, people who participate in activities with others that are meaningful and productive tend to have a sense of purpose and improved mood leading to a longer life.

Our recommendation this Valentine's Day is to make a resident’s day brighter with a thoughtful card, letter, or handmade craft. Have you ever gotten a sweet letter or card unexpectedly from a friend? Did it lift your mood? Were you happy to know that someone was thinking about you? You can pass on this kindness to seniors in your community! Sending residents meaningful cards and letters is a wonderful way to demonstrate care and kindness. It can also calm minds, lessen feelings of loneliness, and give them a physical item to revisit in moments when they are feeling low. Here are some guidelines and craft ideas for you to consider:

Cards & Letters

ATTENTION: There are important guidelines that must be followed when it comes to writing cards and letters for residents in long-term care facilities.

1) The writing must be handwritten, legible, and in large print

2) The content must not mention anything religious

3) The date must be excluded

4) The content should be kind, personal, detailed, thoughtful, and heartfelt

5) The card or letter should be enveloped

Please do not send cash or checks in your card or letter.

Holiday Crafts

When you are creating crafts for residents, please consider safety risks and physical limitations. For example, it is best to avoid sending residents hard objects that pose a safety concern or items that may be challenging to use for those who have limitations like arthritis.

Please do not send objects, food, or candy.

We’ve selected a few craft ideas that are long-term care approved! Feel free to get creative and use art scraps or recycled materials.

Tutorial 1: Bookmark

A heart bookmark is a cute craft for a senior who loves to read. It can be as simple or complex as you like!

Select an image to enlarge.

You will need:

- 2 heart stickers

- Wide ribbon

- Hot glue (optional)

- Scissors

- Book for length reference

Step 1: Cut the desired length of ribbon (it should go through the book and have enough length for the heart to rest on the book cover)

Step 2: Peel off the backing of one heart and place the ribbon in the middle. For added support, you can add hot glue.

Step 3: Peel off the backing of the second heart and place onto the first heart so the ribbon is between both hearts.

Step 4: Press the hearts together and allow to dry.

Note: If you use wired ribbon, be sure to trim any wire that sticks out.

Tutorial 2: Window Décor

A heart window decoration can bring joy and color into the rooms for residents. Especially during the cold and gloomy winter months, having hearts in the windows can bring positivity and warmth into any room!

Select an image to enlarge.

You will need:

- Construction paper – color of choice

- Tissue paper – color of choice

- Scissors

- Tape

- Hot glue, or stick glue

Step 1: Cut heart trim out of construction paper

Step 2: Cut heart out of tissue paper

Step 3: Glue together

Note: If you want a sturdier backing to minimize the possibility of tearing the heart when removing it from the window, add another heart trim to the back before taping.

Tutorial 3: Love Bug

This adorable little love bug will put a smile on a resident’s face! This little love bug can be a room decoration or a little pet that the residents can pass around and connect over. Who wouldn’t want a little love bug?

Select an image to enlarge.

You will need:

- 1 “Pom Pom Buddies” kit

- Hot glue for added support

Step 1: Select the heart feet, pom pom, heart tentacles, googly eyes, and paper message of choice

Step 2: Glue the pom pom body to the heart feet

Step 3: Attach the paper message to one of the heart tentacles

Step 4: Glue the heart tentacles on top of the pom pom body

Step 5: Glue the eyes onto the body

This Valentine’s Day, let’s not forget the seniors in long-term care facilities who often feel lonely and isolated. By sending cards, letters, or homemade crafts, you can help to spread a little love and cheer to our residents!

We welcome everyone to mail or drop off cards, letters, and crafts to the residents at our long-term care facilities. Contacting the facility for further information and for more guidance in providing personalized cards and gifts for the residents is also recommended.

Oak Hills Care Center: 1100 W Georgia St. Jones, OK 73049 | 405.400.2295

Edmond Health Care Center: 39 E 33rd St. Edmond, OK 73013 | 405.341.7715

Heritage Manor: 3804 N Barr Ave. Oklahoma City, OK 73122 | 405.789.7103

Heritage Park: 6912 NW 23rd St. Bethany, OK 73008 | 405.789.7208

North Winds: 3718 N Portland Ave. Oklahoma City, OK 73112 | 405.942.1014


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