Valentine's Day is traditionally a time to celebrate romantic love, but it can also be the perfect holiday to spread love in a different way. Right in your own community are people who could use a little companionship. If you take your kids to deliver valentines at nursing homes, you can share the love this particular holiday brings to some extremely deserving individuals.
The act of delivering valentines to a nursing home with your kids is so simple, yet it means so much. In 2019, a 7-year-old in Appleton, Wisconsin, collected hundreds of homemade Valentine's Day cards from kids at his school (as well as across the country thanks to a social media call out by his mom) for seniors living in nursing homes in his hometown, according to a report by NBC26. A mall in Beaumont, Texas, recently provided shoppers of all ages with supplies to create Valentine's cards for nursing home residents that mall employees will pass out on Feb. 14, according to local news outlet 12News.
There are so many more heartwarming examples, but the sad reality is that nursing home residents don't typically receive regular visitors. Their family members might come occasionally, but their day-to-day interaction with new faces in the community is generally limited. A child with hands full of red and pink valentines can put a bright spot in their day that might not be there otherwise.
Randy Langford, executive director of Life Care Center of Plano, tells Romper this gesture is a perfect way to help out your community and spread some cheer. "I can tell you residents in skilled nursing and rehab centers all over the country would absolutely love getting Valentines from kids. They love kids and it totally changes their day when children come inside. Kids have this magical way about them and so many wonderful memories are awakened, and I've seen a resident's countenance completely change in an instant," he says. "We have some residents that either have no family or no family that ever comes to see them. This would mean the world to them."
You may be familiar with the concept of kids trick-or-treating at nursing homes for Halloween, which provides residents some much desired interaction with their community. Some nursing homes even organize special activities for kids on holidays because their residents enjoy the visits so much. Taking your kids to deliver valentines at nursing homes can have the same type of impact.
When you visit a nursing home with your kids, you also help exemplify the goodness that comes from performing simple acts of kindness. You show your kids what it means to take time out of their day to care for others. These selfless interactions can also help reduce societal stigma or fear that your child might have of elderly people, so it's truly a win-win for all involved.
You'll want to be sure to call ahead to any facility you plan to visit to ensure that they do in fact accept children visitors and that they're OK with you passing out valentines to residents. While most senior care facilities welcome the interaction, they may have specific requests due to health considerations of their residents.
If your kids like to pass out candy with the valentines they hand out to their classmates at school, they may very well want to do the same for nursing home residents. Because some residents may have dietary restrictions, it might be a good idea to stick to just cards, but you can always check with the facility ahead of time to see what they recommend.
From the moment you walk into any store today, you'll be bombarded with an array of pink heart candies and red roses just begging to be bought and given to someone you care about. Why not snag a few boxes of cards for your kids to take to local seniors living in nursing homes? It really doesn't matter whether you make Valentines yourself or buy pre-made ones at the store — it is truly the thought that counts.