Michele's Blog

Valentine's Day

By Michele Scott

Being alone on Valentine’s Day sitting with a non-responsive spouse, mate, parent or grandparent can be an ill-fated situation.  Sliding into a large arm chair positioned next to the hospital bed you tell yourself, “it’s just one day, just 24 hours” as you flip channels on a television no one “actually” watches.

Valentine’s Day with its candy, flowers and mushy greeting cards can trigger the same feelings of solitude and isolation as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve; particularly when caring for someone diagnosed with Broca's aphasia (partial loss of the ability to produce language). This period of inactivity and solitude can lead to unexpected challenges; feeling overwhelmed, trapped or forced into seclusion, engulfed in the responsibility of caring for a loved one.

Your patient has no idea it’s Valentine’s Day, no knowledge of what you are going through or in many cases, that you are there, in the room - flipping channels on a television no one “actually” watches. You know they have a brain disorder which makes it difficult for them to think clearly, speak, recognize your face or remember your name. Yet your sadness and loneliness are real.  

Caregiver counseling offers guidance and support, however less than 10% of caregivers seek counseling services. Although coping skills and paths to mental well-being can be had, the myths and stigma around mental health care prevents caregivers from getting the help they need. Anxiety, stress, anger management and depression often go undiagnosed and untreated. Like Valentine’s Day International Boost Self-esteem Month also falls in February. Important in caregiving, self-esteem can help get you through Valentine’s Day and all those days after.

“Self-esteem enables individuals to cope with hardships, accept and respect oneself and believe he/she is a valuable human being. It makes the individual see oneself as capable, important, successful, and valuable. Self-esteem serves as a critical component in building a healthy mindset and personality”, a necessity for all caregivers.

Giving of oneself and sharing Valentine’s Day with family, co-workers, neighbors and friends – prior to sliding into that arm chair can induce feelings of happiness and ease the feeling of missing out. If you are caring for a spouse or mate, pull out old pictures, rummage for keepsakes and souvenirs which bring back good memories and create positive remembrances. Buy flowers for the room, light a scented candle, play a favorite love song, watch a favorite movie. It is common to have feelings of loss and grief as your life and the life of your loved one is changed, likewise it is common for Valentine’s Day to trigger a surge of grief, feelings of being overwhelmed, sadness, tears and pain.

Home Helpers Home Care offers round the clock in-home health care services seven days a week including holidays. Whether you need a couple of hours or a full day of service to get away, or someone to join you as you go through the experience of in-home caregiving, we can help. As an in-home primary caregiver, your health and well-being are just as important as that of the loved one you care for. It may be only one day, but it matters. Call us.