NH Senior Notes: Senior caregivers spreading Valentine's cheer

February 11. 2018 11:58PM
Albina Donovan, standing, chats with friends during the Salvation Army's annual Valentine's Day luncheon for Manchester and Bedford senior citizens on Thursday in Manchester. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

AUBURN — It’s the season of love, chocolates and roses. But Valentine’s Day is not so rosy for many elderly people. It can be a depressing time of the year for seniors who are widowed or living alone. That’s why a group of “angels” is stepping in for cupid this year.

Local caregivers from Visiting Angels, a national in-home senior care provider, have been surprising New Hampshire seniors with flowers — what they call “Blossoms of Love” — and Valentine’s Day cards.

Debra Desrosiers, owner of two Visiting Angels franchises, said the caregivers starting deliveries Thursday and will continue through Valentine’s Day.

She adopted the Valentine’s Day project about three years ago at both her Gilford-based Visiting Angels, which serves the Greater Lakes Region, and one in Auburn, which serves a larger area including Salem, Derry, Manchester and Concord.

Desrosiers says the staff collaborates with Auburn Village School, where children created homemade Valentine’s Day cards for the seniors. Some of those cards, along with cards from the staff, are added to a brown bag for each of the seniors, designed to spark memories of childhood Valentine exchanges.

On Friday, Visiting Angels staff in Auburn had a session to create cards and artificial flower arrangements, chosen because they last.

“Their eyes glow and there’s a big smile,” Desrosiers said of the reaction from seniors. “They get forgotten on a lot of holidays, and we try to recognize them in that special way.”

Visiting Angels cited Rutgers University research that showed flowers can change moods. Eighty-one percent of seniors in the study said their depression slipped away after getting flowers.

“We’re bringing seniors bouquets because the study shows flowers can snap them right out of depression and encourage them to socialize and engage with people around them,” said Larry Meigs, CEO of Visiting Angels. “If you can’t be with Grandma or Grandpa, send them flowers along with thoughtful gifts this week. For families who can’t be there, our caregivers can step in to make this week a fun, warm and memorable holiday.”

For more information about Visiting Angels, go to www.visitingangels.com.

Palace Theatre offers AARP discount to ‘Grease’

MANCHESTER — The Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., is offering AARP members and their guests a $10 discount on adult tickets when “Grease” comes to town Feb. 23 through March 18. Performances are at both 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The play brings back 1959 and Rydell High School’s senior class. This rollicking musical is both an homage to the idealism of the ’50s and a satire of high schoolers’ age-old desire to be provocative and rebellious. At the heart of the story is the romance between hot-rodding Danny Zuko and the sweet new girl in town, Sandy Dumbrowski. The whole gang sings and dances around their romance to hits including “Greased Lightin’,” “We Go Together” and “Summer Nights.”

AARP members and their guests can purchase discounted tickets online at www.palacetheatretickets.org or by calling 668-5588. Tickets also may be purchased at the box office. To receive the discount, use the code ACTIVE.

Chapin Senior Center hosts Aging Discussion Group

NEW LONDON — The Aging Discussion Group at Chapin Senior Center, 37 Pleasant St., will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27.

Dr. Jack Kirk will continue a discussion of “Vesper Time: The Spiritual Practice of Growing Older” by Frank J. Cunningham. Kirk will touch upon the challenges and rewards of growing older. Participants are encouraged to share their thoughts and experiences. Seniors are welcome to attend even if they haven’t read the book, To sign up, call the Kearsarge Council on Aging at 526-6368.

The Humanist Discussion Group will meet at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. No registration is needed; this is a walk-in program.

Movie & Pizza Night at 4:30 p.m. Friday will feature “Lion,” about a 5-year-old Indian boy who gets lost on the streets of Calcutta. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia. Twenty-five years later, he sets out to find his lost family. To attend, call the COA, 526-6368.

Submit items and photos for Seniors News to family@unionleader.com or to Union Leader, P.O. Box 9555, Manchester, NH 03108-9555. Attn: Barbara Anderson.

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