February may be our shortest month of the year, but it has a lot of love and care packed into it. February is a valuable month for caregivers because each day formally recognizes something to help us focus on our most valuable type of care: Self-care.
As caregivers, or someone caring for a senior loved one, we invest ourselves in providing them the best care and also time and dedication to finding them the perfect senior care when needed. While doing this, we sometimes ignore types of self-care that is vital to our health and well-being. It is important to remember, if we want to take the best care of our loved ones, it’s essential for us to take the best care of ourselves. The longer we step away from self-care, the more challenging it can be for us to begin practicing it again. This is where the specially recognized month, weeks, and days of February shine for us. We’re given a month of ways to remind and inspire us to practice self-care, so we are at our best caring for those we love.
In 1963, our country began celebrating February as American Heart Month – encouraging us to focus on our heart health. Various local and national organizations offer programs to help educate, encourage, and support us taking care of our hearts.
Here are a few examples:
- CDC Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention
- Million Hearts 2027 Initiative
- USDA Heart Health
Another special day to celebrate in February is Random Acts of Kindness Day. This day began on February 17, 1995. It became so popular in America that by 1997 it expanded to an entire week. This year it begins on February 14th and ends on February 20th.
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation helps us by providing various random acts we can consider for home, work, our community, and our world. Their slogan is: “Make kindness the norm.” This month, make kindness toward yourself and your senior loved one the norm. Let their ideas help spark your ideas of intentional kindness for you and those around you.
Check out their ideas here: Random Acts of Kindness.
Another special day we are all standardly aware of is Valentine’s Day. While its origin is quite complex, Valentine’s Day became associated with love and romance toward the end of the 5th century with the beginning of the feast of St. Valentine’s Day on February 14th. It has now grown into a $24B industry globally.
This year, let’s intentionally celebrate love and care for our seniors. Sometimes, we notice that our senior loved ones no longer have someone special to celebrate this day with. Make them feel special by reminding them how much you love them.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Make fun Valentine’s cards
- Creative Valentine’s messages
- Easy Valentine’s crafts
- Valentine’s gift ideas
What about the rest of February? Here are just a few more of the days that give us opportunities to practice self-care and ways to find joy while bringing joy to others.
2/02 – National Optimist Day
2/07 – National Rose Day AND National Send a Card to a Friend Day
2/09 – National Chocolate Day
2/14 – International Book Giving Day (When’s the last time you read a book for yourself?)
2/14 – Valentine’s Day
2/20 – National Family Day
Want to carry this throughout the year? There are a variety of websites that provide you with what each day, week, and month of the year is being recognized for. Here’s one to get you started: DaysoftheYear.com.
Looking to make a senior feel special this month? Contact your local senior advisor at (888)-455-5838 for information on a local community and a list of fun activities they might have planned for this holiday-packed month.
Click below for the full article in Oasis Senior Advisors written by Sue Ryan.
Caregivers focus on each holiday celebration in two ways:
- What can be done to make the holiday as special and normal as possible for their care receiver?
- What can be done to make each holiday as special and normal as possible for their family members?
Caregivers don’t focus on the third way to celebrate each holiday:
- What can be done to make the holiday as special as possible for them!
If you are reading this and you know someone who is a caregiver, here’s where you come in for the holiday celebration.
I have written posts about why it is important to celebrate special days with care receivers. I’ve even used the phrase “They do in the moment” when talking about why it’s special for care receivers with neuron- cognitive disorders because they do remember in the moment – even if it’s only for a moment.
this post isn’t about what to do AS a caregiver – it’s about what to do FOR a caregiver.
Each day, caregivers give of themselves physically, emotionally, physically in large ways and small. Over time, more and more of their thoughts, feelings, and action, are focused around their care receiver. Even though we raise the awareness ﬂag for self-care, many caregivers still say “Yes but.” “Yes, but I don’t have time.” or “Yes, but I don’t have capacity.”
If you know someone who is a caregiver, think of them at the holidays. Get together with other friends and family members and get creative, become a collective, and help them be celebrated on the holiday.
The phrase “They do in the moment” will mean so very much to them. They’ll be able to feel special, remember special moments, create new memories, step away from their role as a caregiver for a moment, and enjoy treasured moments throughout the holiday.
Using Valentine’s Day as a holiday example, here are a few things you – and those around you – can do for the caregiver(s) in your life.
- Is there a tradition they had with their care receiver you can help recreate? For example:
- A bouquet of ﬂowers
- A special dinner
- A Valentine’s Day card
- A special
- Is there something they would enjoy that they have stepped away from as a caregiver? For example:
- A round of golf
- A manicure/pedicure/facial
- A massage
- An overnight away from home
- Dinner at a favorite restaurant
- Having friends over
- Reading a book
- Is there something that would ﬁll their heart with joy? For example:
- Homemade cards from family
- Travel to see a loved
- Visits from family members and ‘framily’ (friends who are like family).
- Video calls from family members and ‘framily’ (friends who are like family).
During those exhausting and emotional times for caregivers, or when they have time to catch their breath, the memories created are there ready for them to enjoy over and over and trust me -They do in the moment!
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