North Shore Encourages Community to Make Valentine’s Day Special for Residents

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love. For people in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, Valentine’s Day can be lonely, especially in the middle of a two-year long pandemic.

But North Shore Healthcare is finding ways to make Valentine’s Day special for their residents. Lake Country Landing in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin is creating a Valentine-themed photo booth for residents and staff to take pictures together. Executive Director Mary Lindsey said that for many residents, the staff have become their family, particularly when outside visitation is limited due to COVID-19.

Three Oaks Health Services celebrated Valentine’s Day with a fun photo shoot in 2020. Pictured is resident Alma, married 70+ years.

“The message we want our residents to hear, and feel is that we are their family, whether it’s permanent or not,” Lindsey said. “We don’t want anyone to feel alone and especially on the biggest day of love for the year, we don’t want anyone to feel not loved. I personally will be talking with the residents to hear their love story, whether it’s a story about their spouse, their first love or someone special in their life.”

Florence Health Services in Florence, Wisconsin is asking staff and local students to write a Valentine card to residents. Brenda Rozine, Life Enrichment Specialist, encourages the community to make Valentine’s Day special for residents too by flooding the center with cards.

“I would encourage the community to do something special for our residents because they deserve to feel special and cared for,” she said.

Three Oaks Health Services is asking families of residents to reach out virtually and mail in homemade cards and gifts. Executive Director Katherine Casey echoes Rozine’s sentiments. She would love to see the community to mail cards, letters, and other gifts to the residents.

“Prior to COVID, local schools would come in and give Valentines to the residents,” Casey said. “The residents just loved seeing the kids and the cards they made. Valentines from people other than your loved one can really make people feel special.”

With 70 skilled nursing centers and assisted living centers spanning across four states, there are many ways the community can get involved to help make Valentine’s Day special for North Shore residents. Here are a few small, but impactful gestures that will make residents feel loved on Valentine’s Day.

  • Create handmade cards, crafts, and gift baskets.
  • Bake or purchase something sweet (cake, cookies, candy).
  • If you have a loved one at a North Shore center, but are unable to visit, video chat or send them a video message.
  • Send a bouquet of flowers.
  • Frame one of your favorite pictures and give it to your loved one if they are at a North Shore center.
  • Contact the center and see what items are needed most for residents (blankets, toiletries, games) and donate them as Valentine’s gifts.

You can view the list of North Shore centers here.  Please call or email the center first to receive information on their visitation and donation policies before dropping off or mailing Valentine’s Day items.