For most of us, Valentines Day has a wonderful connotation. It’s a day when we get to profess love and devotion to a special someone in our life. It might be a friend, or maybe a strong attraction for someone we’d like to be in love with. Maybe, if we’re already hitched to that special someone by the bonds of marriage, then it’s the reaffirmation of that love that brought us here in the first place!
As far back as I can remember, there’s always been a Valentines Day. It is one of those special days almost universally celebrated around the world, where people profess love and devotion for another in various ways. I remember when I was a kid in grade school, and every year we had a Valentines day party which I thought was stupid. I attended a one room country school in Canada with a total attendance of 24 kids for all eight grades. That meant that on this one day, you were supposed to profess love and all that silly stuff to someone you preferred to torture the other 364 days of the year!
Needless to say, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since those days and a lot of Valentines as well. This week, thanks to a wonderful lady named Robin Sands the activities coordinator at Sunrise Senior Living in Boulder, I got treated to a Valentine party I never expected to find.
As usual, I found myself buried in work for Valentines Day. Little parties where you show up and play love songs and finally, I got it through my head that I wasn’t going to be able to make them all, so I called Robin to see if she could let me off the hook and possibly move me to another day. “No problem”, she said, “come in on Saturday the 15th and we’ll make it work.”
On Saturday the 15th I showed up at Sunrise Boulder to play, and Robin had me working in the Reminiscence wing. Reminiscence for those who don’t know, is the Alzheimer’s wing of this facility. Many other Retirement communities have a special wing for folks with this affliction as well, and they are to be commended for the lengths they go to, to provide care and comfort for folks with the disease.
A theory of mine has always been, that in a situation like this, you’ve got to make a connection, which isn’t always easy. In addition, the theory goes, that even though people might forget the song or the words, instinctively, they can always feel the beat. Thank God for guitars. They are one of a very few music instruments that are pianistic, percussive and portable at the same time. This allows you to not only provide a familiar melody, you simultaneously get to provide a good strong beat as well and chances are, someone is going to pick up on it. If and when that happens, you’ve got someone in that room who is either going to feel the tune, or the beat, and begin to react. Once they do, others will follow suit if you do it right.
Your first job in a group like this, (in my opinion) is to find someone who will look at you. Many people are simply lost in their own world and making a connection is difficult, but I found an old guy named Harry sitting in the corner who would actually look at me a little bit so he became my first Valentine. Harry had a green shirt on and a baseball cap and I started off playfully teasing him about his shirt. Pretty soon I saw a little bit of a grin on his lips, and finally, when we started singing “You are my Sunshine,” I could see Harry mouthing the words a little and I knew he was trying to sing along! Soon, he was clapping his hands to the beat and others joined in as well. Then, Robin came in the room, began dancing, and there we were, having our own little Valentines dance party in the Reminiscence wing at Sunrise Boulder!
Driving back from Boulder later on, I couldn’t help thinking about all the wonderful things I had to be thankful for. Yep, got those two wonderful grand kids, got my health, and the good Lord gave me the chance to brighten the day for some folks and help them enjoy their Valentines Day! How does it get any better than that? Thanks Robin, and thanks to the residents who made it happen yesterday as well. It was a great Valentines Day party and that’s special!
As usual, send me your critiques and comments. I’ll happily read them all and use them if I can. Have a great week everybody!
Posted by All Around Seniors at 2/19/2014 5:52 AM