With Valentine’s Day on February 14th, love is a top-of-mind topic this month. And there’s plenty of opportunity for your senior care organization to include older adults in the focus: whether discussing romance later in life and celebrating couples’ special anniversaries, or passing on ‘love wisdom’ from seniors to the youth and sharing stories of familial love and friendship.

As Valerie Johnston of Healthline points out: love is even better in old age and seniors can show the rest of us how it should be done!

Content Tips for Any Senior Care Company

  • Personal stories, visuals, and quotes are key ingredients for your ‘love’ content this month. Making an emotional connection with your audience is particularly important with this topic — inspire an “awwww!!!” reaction and your content has a great chance of being shared. Tell a heartwarming story with a beautiful photo or video and you may even ‘go viral’; in fact, many love stories, videos, and quote/photo ‘memes’ do get a lot of social sharing engagement.Remember 96-year-old Fred Stobaugh and his video-recorded song, “Oh Sweet Lorraine” for his late wife in 2013? That video was viewed over seven million times on YouTube, and he remained popular in social media up to his recent passing. This viral hit had the life-long ‘true love’ story conveyed by an organization helping the senior; included quotes from and interview footage with Fred, as well as images of Fred and Lorraine over the years; and evoked emotions in millions of people (many of whom shed some tears too).
  • Consider a list or compilation approach — it could be a list of ‘seniors top 5 tips for keeping romance alive’ or ’10 of our favorite movies about love in the later years’ or a list of 5 quotes that are very relevant to seniors and love. Or maybe it’s the ‘5 best gifts for your senior Valentine’. Eskaton senior living chose “5 Benefits of Love & Chocolate” for their list.
  • Make it local — whether covering ‘the top 5 date spots or activities for mature couples in Cincinnati’ or by interviewing a matchmaker or relationship expert in your community to get his/her tips for dating in your later years of life (this U.S. News & World Report article even included advice from family attorneys on this topic!).
  • On the riskier or more complicated side of love is the sub-topic of sex and seniors: Baby Boomers don’t really want to think about or read about the possibility of their parents still having sex at this age, and some seniors may blush at the mention as well. However, STD transmission among older adults is unfortunately a common and growing problem, says eldercare expert Derrick Y. McDaniel, while citing some related statistics on Huffington Post. So, this may be an opportunity for education among those who need to know and need to take action accordingly — but you’ll need to be prepared to manage any negative or ‘raised eyebrow’ feedback you can get with such content. This is particularly true when covering the often-sad subject of love and sex for couples where one of the spouses has Alzheimer’s (or the somewhat taboo topic of ‘well spouse affairs’).

Content Tips for Senior Living Communities

  • Are there couples at your community who have been married for more than three decades, like Mira and Bob Graves at Quail Lodge Retirement Community had been in 2014 press coverage of their love story? Their story was virally shared on Facebook more than 500 times in the first 24 hours after Sunshine Retirement Living had posted the story. It was a heartwarming story with a lovely photo, and touched thousands of people online. Do you have a resident couple with a similar story (or two) to share at your senior living community?
  • Have any residents met and fallen in love after moving into your community? That’s another wonderful story you could feature this month, with the residents’ permissions and participation of course.

Content Tips for Home Care Agencies

  • The Valentine’s Day buzz can sometimes be sad for those struggling with loneliness. Consider covering the holiday from the angle of helping those alone feel less alone — such as this Huffington Post piece by Lisa Copeland (a dating coach for those over 50): “How to Overcome The Loneliness of Valentine’s Day.”
  • However you cover this topic, be sure to mention that in-home care is a great source of companionship and joy for seniors living alone — without making an obvious “buy now” pitch (be genuinely caring and helpful in your tone and content).

Resources to Support this Spark

  • Love What Matters — a website and social programming (Facebook & Instagram) that highlights “moments that matter” and the various forms that love takes, through the personal stories of real people
  • Love for the Elderly — a nonprofit (started by a high school student in 2013) focused on “bringing joy into the lives of the elderly” through handwritten letters, care packages, and other ‘social impact’ programs

Content Sparks are part of Caring.com’s Content Made Simple program. See all of the Content Sparks.

Denise Graab

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