Valentine's Day Isn't Just For Sweethearts

Meadow Park Chatham Long-Term Care Home is taking a different approach to Valentine’s Day this year. In past years we have celebrated the traditional pink and red holiday with typical events such as a “Couples Luncheon” and a “Red and Pink Day”. This year Spiritual Care Advisor, Debbie Smith, decided to take a totally different spin on the holiday that normally promotes romance and roses.

Recently, Debbie was on her honeymoon and her vehicle broke down on a very busy highway in Atlanta, Georgia. She was otherwise stranded if it weren't for a company called HERO (Highway Emergency Response Operators). The program is a free freeway service patrol operated in metro Atlanta and is referred to as HERO. The primary purpose is to minimize traffic congestion by clearing wrecked or disabled vehicles from the roadway and secondly they help stranded motorists who need assistance to get back on the road safely. 

This act of help and service got Debbie and her husband back on the road to enjoying their time together and inspired Debbie to think about the hero’s in everyday life – the people who come to your aide when you least expect it. In particular, Debbie thought of the services and support that staff strive to provide everyday in their roles in long-term care. An idea was born – Valentine’s Day Heroes.

Debbie thought that Valentine’s Day would be an excellent kick off for this program because not all residents still have a sweetheart who is in their lives. She wanted to extend the good feelings of this holiday all month long. This allowed residents to have an opportunity to express love and appreciation for those people in their lives who make a difference and whom they consider to be their “hero”. She also opened up the program to staff and family members allowing them to pay tribute to a special person or hero in their lives. The program took off immediately!

A wall in the West Cafe (a small dining room in the home) now proudly displays the heroes among us. Anyone who walks by takes a moment to read the stories and look at the pictures displayed. Positive comments, gratitude, and genuine love are the result of this simple but effective program.It is Debbie’s goal to run the program a couple more times this year as the program has inspired people to think about those special people in their lives they call HERO.

The program has certainly inspired a new way of looking at Valentine’s Day here at Meadow Park Chatham. What began as a rain cloud over a special time in Debbie’s life has taken on a whole new meaning. That unfortunate moment has provided many with an inspiration of their own to tell someone in their lives how special they really are.