February 14th, the day in remembrance of Valentinus, a wealthy Roman who died on this day in the 3rd century C.E., is the day the world celebrates lovers, with boxes of chocolates and red roses and greeting cards, we at AlfredHouse Assisted Living Homes wish all our residents, their families, our well-wishers, and the members of the community at large a Happy Valentine’s Day.
Romance and romantic love, is usually linked to young lovers; Shakespeare’s teenage “star-crossed” Romeo and Juliet, or perhaps the youthful Eros, the Greek god of love, or Cupid, the Roman god of love, a chubby young boy with a bow and arrow. Perhaps we think of slightly more mature lovers such as Anthony and Cleopatra or Sir Lancelot and Guinevere, or, from more recent times, Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. We might even call to mind the virility of such famous lovers as Casanova. Somehow, in the collective mind, romance has come to be associated primarily—even exclusively—with the young or the relatively young. Rarely, if ever, do we think of the elderly when we think of romance.
However, romance is not restricted to any particular age group. People of all ages can—and do—fall in love. We now know from personal experience and scientific studies that sexuality and erotic desires continue throughout the entire human lifespan and well into the sunset years. Romance is part of what makes us human, regardless of how old we are. It is vital to our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Eroticism is not just something physical: it springs from the psyche, and this is why in Greek and Roman mythology, the god Eros (or Cupid) is portrayed as being in love with the goddess Psyche (or Anima).
At AlfredHouse Assisted Living homes, we observe that residents pay greater attention to their personal grooming when they know that they will be in the presence of the opposite sex. They dress up to impress. Male residents are more refined and chivalrous; the women more gracious and charming. We observe ongoing relationships; hand holding—secret and not-so-secret similes across a room, responded to with winks and nods; seating preferences at mealtimes and during group activities or on the same sofa to enable themselves to steal a kiss. We observe feuding over the affections of one man, since there are fewer men than women among our residents. All of this is perfectly natural and healthy, and it makes for a much more wholesome, well-rounded social and emotional life for our community of seniors.
The paradigm of personal home care at AlfredHouse Assisted Living Homes is committed to providing the best possible environment for our residents by providing a holistic support to wellness and wellbeing, in which all aspects of the human experience are valued and nurtured. We encourage our residents to develop healthy relationships and emotional attachments. We believe that this helps them to continue to live meaningful lives in their golden years. Many have experienced the devastating loss of their first love, their childhood sweetheart who eventually became their spouse. Now, once again, they can bask in someone’s special attention and feel loved, wholeheartedly, unreservedly, to experience the heady thrill of romance for a second—or perhaps third or even fourth—time as they live out the final stage of their long and productive lives. Because, more than personal home care, it is about romancing with old age, falling back in love and celebrating life!