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Valentine’s Day – a time to celebrate companionship and friendship

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom”
-Marcel Proust

Falling in the middle of winter, it is nice to warm our hearts with a day that celebrates love and friendship – Valentines Day. Every year on the 14th of February, people celebrate this day by sending messages of love and affection to family and friends. However, it’s important to note that it’s not just a day for young lovers to celebrate – there are a host of reasons why everyone should embrace what the day has to offer. Valentine’s Day is a special day too for young and old, to celebrate all forms of love, especially friendship. After all, friendship is one of the best gifts that life can give you! What is more, there are plenty of studies, research and books on the benefits of human interaction, largely on how having close personal connections can make people happy – and happy people tend to live longer. Maintaining friendships and having companions, especially later in life, is very important. Being around people and having close connections helps to relieve stress and depression and can have a positive impact on overall health and well-being.

The power of companionship and community

Celebrating friendship and companionship on Valentine’s Day can prove difficult for retirees as making new friends and finding kindred spirits and companions, after retirement, can prove a challenge. As social circles become smaller, many retirees may find themselves spending more time alone or relying on family for company. Studies have shown that staying socially active is as important to health as staying physically active – older adults who are socially active handle stress better which leads to improved health. Moreover, staying socially active and feeling part of a community empowers self-esteem and a sense of self-worth. At all LifeCare Residences communities across the UK, residents benefit from the services of a lifestyle co-ordinator who organises local excursions, talks from visiting speakers on a variety of topics, on-site activities and functions. With numerous opportunities to socialise, including during meals, leisure experiences and outings, many residents find a restored sense of purpose and joy in their social lives once they move in. Many new residents find their social circle expanding once again, as they have an opportunity to meet and make friends in the comfort of their own home with like-minded, vibrant people. What is more, all communities have guest apartments available for visiting friends and family. For example, Grove Place, a beautiful retirement community set in the rural, Hampshire countryside is now home to retirees Elaine and Philip Gaussen who made the move to Grove Place to begin the next chapter in their lives and have never looked back as they thoroughly embrace the buzz and sense of friendship and community. Elaine says, “We hadn’t realized how strong the Grove Place community was before we arrived. It’s so lovely to have nice friends and neighbours to socialise with. Everyone is so kind, and we feel at home here.” Another resident, Barry Rutherford, who moved to Somerleigh Court in Dorset embraces the friendship and companionship of his life there, “I didn’t know anyone before I moved in, but now I have plenty of like-minded friends to chat to. Bricks and mortar are one thing, but it’s the people that really make the community here. A sense of community is vital and it’s a major part of life here. I’m literally surrounded by friends. There is a full programme of events to enjoy such as interesting guest speakers and visiting musicians and a regular pianist comes in and plays on request which is delightful.”

A sociable and fun February for residents

As well as providing a full spectrum of five-star amenities for residents, all award-winning LifeCare Residences communities provide ample opportunity for residents to meet like-minded people and even get involved in a range of activities and clubs on offer – be it board games, craft, ukulele, cards, falconry, archery, bridge, or music – and the Valentine’s month of February proves no exception! The teams at Battersea Place in London, Somerleigh Court in Dorchester, Dorset, and Grove Place near Romsey, are dedicated to helping facilitate a wide array of clubs, activities, and classes to get involved in, as well as helping to arrange interesting trips and visits. The LifeCare Residences communities share the view that Valentine’s Day represents many kinds of love between all kinds of people and have arranged some fabulous opportunities to get together and brighten up February. At Battersea Place in London, the team has organised a series of events and outings – including an outing to see the Durer exhibition at the National Gallery and a Theatre Supper Club and a trip to the London Children’s Ballet. On Valentine’s Day itself, residents will be able to enjoy a transmission from the Roya Opera House of one of the world’s most beautiful and romantic ballet’s, Romeo and Juliet. At Grove Place in Hampshire, the residents have plenty of opportunities to get together during several fun social events, whether it’s being entertained by singer Philippa Healey, or taking part in a Quiz Night that has been laid on by the team, or what could be more fun to enjoy with friends than a Bingo Night, or perhaps a gentler evening of listening to music by harpist Marni Lai. Peggy Bigglestone, who retired to Grove Place in Hampshire concurs, “I feel utterly spoilt here. There is a range of activities you can try out; I am part of the choir and a ukulele club, and I go out on lots of day trips; some of my friends use the pool or the gym. There is always something interesting happening that you are welcome to join in with.”

Friendship and companionship enrich and improve people’s lives. It can increase your sense of belonging and purpose, boost your happiness and reduce stress. Hence, the power and love of friendship deserves to be celebrated with the same fervour as ‘romantic love’ in recognition of these countless benefits. Keeping love alive and flowing in friendships is essential to being happy – and what better day to accomplish this than Valentine’s Day?

If you would like to learn more about our offering and how we can enhance the ‘every day’ please call T. 0800 009 6950.

For those who are unable to visit in person, we are also able to offer virtual tours of our communities at your convenience.
www.lifecareresidences.co.uk

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