Life isn’t always a box of chocolates, especially during Valentine’s Day.
In fact, it can be one of the most depressing times of the year, especially for seniors who are widowed or living alone.
“It can be sad, especially if they’ve lost someone, either the passing of their life or through divorce, because we have a divorce rate that’s fairly significant, and it’s sad,” said psychologist Dr. Allana Coffee.
This depression is different from the sadness felt during the holidays.
“Christmas is different because we’re all there at Christmas, but Valentine’s Day is special because that belongs to two people. It’s a very romantic holiday and it marks a romantic time,” Coffee said.
So what can we do? Dr. Coffee says the number one thing we can give is our time.
“We are their children and the grandchildren. I think they are really enchanted by having their grandchildren around, so definitely put the babies out there,” Coffee said.
Research also shows that flowers can change moods and eliminate depression and motivate kupuna to be more social. The right flowers can be even more powerful.
“If we knew that grandpa always sent roses or sent tulips, even if grandma’s favorite flower is carnations, we can still send the one that grandpa would have sent,” Coffee said.
Remember, moving on does not mean forgetting previous loves. “It’s really cute to see 77-, 85-year-old people who are dating, and in some cases even marrying, and those are fulfilling relationships,” Coffee said.
In this case, distractions can be healthy and not deceiving at all.
“We psychologists used to say, ‘Oh you should just face it,’ but you know facing it is good sometimes in small doses, but you know distraction I think has merit, and the distraction is not a false thing,” Coffee said. “Distract with real loving, focus on the here-and-now. This is the family that you have present. This is the family that you worked so hard for.”