February is traditionally the month of LOVE (Valentine’s Day!). But there are many other wonderful holidays to celebrate this month!
When caring for someone at home with dementia, it can be difficult to come up with activities to do with them every single day so why not use the quirky holidays to help you invent some new and fun activities?
Take a look at these great holidays and ideas and hopefully they will bring you some joy into your lives.
Candy Making Day – Seeing that this month includes Valentine’s Day, it just makes sense that there would be a day to celebrate candy making! Whatever type of candy you and your family enjoys, why not take up the task of making it, instead of buying it!
Outdoor Activity – Fudge shops are wonderful at showcasing how they make their treats so today may be a great day to visit one in your town or nearby.
Indoor Activity – There’s a lot to making candy, technique, tools, ingredients as you can see here. Choose the type of candy you would like to make then I would recommend to watch a Youtube tutorial on how to make it before you start. It’s an easy way to learn!
National Tater Tot Day – I haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t love the taste of tater tots! Today could be a fun day to celebrate this little treat or to make your very own!
Outdoor Activity – The easiest thing to do today is to head out to the grocery store to get some tater tots to make for lunch and or dinner today. Or maybe there’s a restaurant in town that serves tater tots!!
Indoor Activity – So, if you want to work on making your very own tater tots – check out this Youtube video on how to do just that. The beauty of this is that you can add your own spices to these tots!
Feed The Birds Day – I have several bird feeders in my yard and I love spending some quiet, reflective time just watching the many birds come to those feeders. It’s a relaxing thing to do and you and your family may enjoy it.
Outdoor Activity – Scope out a local park where you and your loved one can visit and feed the birds or ducks or even squirrels. Doing so is an activity that has been practiced for many generations and can be calming and enjoyable for many seniors with dementia.
Indoor Activity – There are many different types of bird feeders available as you can see here. What you use in your yard depends on where you live and if you have to combat squirrels or not.
Thank A Mail Carrier Day – Most of us don’t take the time to say “thank you” to our mail carriers. Some of us don’t even know who they are! So, why not take a little time today to leave them a card or go out to greet them and thank them for their service.
Outdoor Activity – Take some time today to bake some cookies (or buy some) and bring them to your local post office to thank them for their work.
Indoor Activity – Write a note of thanks, or purchase a small gift for your mail carrier and either give it to them or leave it for them to pick up! They will be surprised and will certainly remember your kindness and appreciation.
World Nutella Day – I grew up with the Italian treat called Nutella (my parents were born and raised in Italy) so I have always known the wonderful and delicious taste of this hazelnut and chocolate spread. But these days, it seems that Nutella has finally be “discovered” by many others and I have to say, it’s about time!
Outdoor Activity – Head out to the grocery store and get yourself a jar of Nutella! You’ll love it on bread, on a banana, on waffles and pancakes, etc.
Indoor Activity – There are many wonderful things that you can make with Nutella and here are some recipes to look over. Spending some time with your loved one in the kitchen cooking something can be a great way to keep someone with dementia engaged in a purposeful activity.
International Frozen Yogurt Day – Although the weather outside might be cold where you live, you may still enjoy a nice cup of frozen yogurt in your favorite flavor!
Outdoor Activity – The lines will be short at your local frozen yogurt shop so why not treat yourself in the off season with your favorite flavored treat?
Indoor Activity – If you’re a real lover of this delicious treat, why not get yourself a frozen yogurt machine and make your very own? You and your loved one can concoct your own flavors!
Laura Ingalls Wilder Day – Almost everyone is familiar with this wonderful author because of the TV show that showcased her life – Little House On The Prairie. Well, if you love the show and/or the author, today is the day to celebrate this American icon.
Outdoor Activity – The theme today is Americana and celebrating the author Laura Ingalls Wilder. You could take a trip to your local bookstore to purchase some of her books or grab a meal at a local restaurant that serves country food (i.e. Crackle Barrel).
Indoor Activity – Snuggling indoors and binge watching the Little House On The Prairie DVD’s could be a great way to spend some time today. It may help your senior loved one to reminisce about their own childhood, whenever and wherever they grew up.
Opera Day – My father loved Opera, especially Italian opera so I often heard it played as I was growing up. If your senior loved one loves the Opera, then today is their day.
Outdoor Activity – If there is a local opera theater nearby, it may be fun to get tickets to this event. Don’t forget to dress up!
Indoor Activity – There are many DVD’s of Operas, I would encourage you to choose one that your senior loves and of course, make it a full night complete with a fancy meal, dressed up in gowns, gloves and opera glasses! (FYI – Thrift stores are a great place to purchase gowns and tuxedos, etc.)
National Pizza Day – I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Pizza! This wonderful dish was invented in Naples, Italy as a low cost meal for low income folks. It didn’t really gain much popularity outside of Naples until the 1940’s when Italian immigrants introduced it to America.
Outdoor Activity – Of course, the activity of the day should include a trip to your favorite pizza restaurant! A great treat to have on a cold February day.
Indoor Activity – You can spend some time today working on a pizza puzzle (if your senior with dementia can manage it) – or you can get yourself a Countertop Pizza Maker that turns pizza making into a fun and easy task.
National Cream Cheese Brownie Day – I personally have never had a cream cheese brownie but they sure do sound good! If that’s your favorite type of brownie then today is the day to celebrate.
Outdoor Activity – If your local coffee shop or bakery serves these little treats then why not treat yourself and your loved one to some time out to enjoy them? Bring a friend or two for company.
Indoor Activity – If the day is just too cold to get out, then maybe making some of these treats at home would be a better idea! Pillsbury makes this box treat that you can do at home.
National Shut-In Visitation Day – Today is the day to remind us all to take some time to visit someone who is a shut-in. Sadly, many seniors know at least one friend or family member who is living as a shut-in.
Outdoor Activity – Get out and pick up some lunch (or make it at home), grab a game board or a couple of DVD’s and go visit someone who is confined to their home.
Indoor Activity – If you can’t get out to visit someone who is a shut-in, you can pick up the phone and give them a call, or maybe facetime time or use your Echo Show to call them or video call them on their Echo show!
Darwin Day – Today is Charles Darwin’s birthday. He was born in 1809 and contributed much to science and the concept of natural selection and evolution.
Outdoor Activity – A visit to a natural history museum would be in order today since most of Darwin’s work revolved around the science of nature.
Indoor Activity – There are many books about Darwin that you might be interested in but for someone with dementia, a movie about Charles Darwin may be a better choice.
Self Love Day – A day to treat ourselves. Many caregivers of seniors neglect to care for themselves and burn out. It’s not unusual for a family caregiver to fall severely ill once their senior loved one has passed away. This is what stress and exhaustion can do to you. So make today an important day in your calendar and give yourself some self love.
Outdoor Activity – Hire or get someone to come in for you for the day (or a weekend) and get out to do whatever it is that will help you to relax and enjoy the day. Have lunch with friends, go to a spa, rent an Air bnb and spend the weekend away. Anything to relax and de-stress.
Indoor Activity – If you find it difficult to take time for yourself and to give yourself self love, consider reading any one of these books to help you. Of course, consider seeing a professional therapist to help you as well.
International Book Giving Day – Many of us have books that we don’t necessarily need anymore (or will ever read again). So, why not give these books to someone who can use them, donate them to a school or shelter, etc.
Outdoor Activity – Collect your books and ask friends and family members if they have books to donate. Put them all in bags or boxes and bring them to a local charity, nursing home, assisted living facility, shelter, etc.
Indoor Activity – If you have many books, you may want to begin cataloging them in a notebook. Mark the ones that you have read, that you want to keep or eventually give away. So that next year, when International Book Giving Day comes around again, you’ll be able to easily go through your log of books and know which ones you will be giving away.
National Gum Drop Day – Most everyone loves gum drops! If you belong to this group then today is your day to celebrate this delicious treat. It’s believed that Percy Trusdale invented this delicious candy in 1801 (but it’s debatable).
Outdoor Activity – Get on out to your local candy or grocery store and purchase your favorite gum drop flavors. Or, get all kinds of flavors to enjoy today and for weeks to come.
Indoor Activity – You don’t have to just eat gumdrops. There are some wonderful fun craft ideas that you can create with them. Check them out here.
National Almond Day – Almonds are a very healthy nut and can make for a delicious snack or addition to almost any dish. If you love almonds, then today is your day to celebrate this treat.
Outdoor Activity – Some stores like Whole Foods or organic food co-ops sell nuts in bulk and it may be a nice treat to go to one of these stores today.
Indoor Activity – There are many dishes that you can use almonds in and here are some that you may want to try with your senior loved one. But if you prefer to make some crafts with almonds, click here for a look at some on Pinterest.
My Way Day – Today is the day to do what you want, but to do it YOUR WAY. As Sinatra said, “I did it my way.” So stand up for your ideas and get to it!
Outdoor Activity – If you happen to live near Hoboken, NJ you can take a trip to the Hoboken Historical Museum where they have a Frank Sinatra Walking Tour.
Indoor Activity – There are many movies and music featuring Frank Sinatra and it’s a great way to celebrate a day where you can do things your way!
National Drink Wine Day – If you love to drink wine, whether it’s alcoholic or non-alcoholic, go ahead and take some time today to celebrate this delicious treat.
Outdoor Activity – If you are lucky enough to live near a winery, especially one with a restaurant, today may be a great day to go take a tour, enjoy some local wine and maybe grab a bit to eat.
Indoor Activity – A fun task today would be to start working on making your very own wine! This wine kit can get you started on this great project.
Women In Blue Jeans Day – Today is meant to celebrate the women who work in agriculture. That includes female farmers of all types of farms.
Outdoor Activity – A visit to a local farm that offers a tour and/or a shop may be a great activity.
Indoor Activity – Since today is about agriculture and the women who work hard in this field, it makes sense to celebrate by shopping at a local farmers market, by preparing meals with fresh produce or visit a farm to table restaurant.
National Comfy Day – Today is the day to get comfy. That may mean staying in your pajamas or wearing very comfortable clothing or even just snuggling up in front of a warm fire under a beautiful soft blanket!
Outdoor Activity – If you don’t have a comfy chair for yourself and/or your senior loved one, today may be a great day to get to a store to find one for yourself. Many seniors enjoy a lift chair because it makes it easier for them to get up and sit down.
Indoor Activity – Make today all about being as comfortable as possible. That means having some comfort food on hand, having a list of your favorite movies and music available. Whatever activities, clothing, food, etc. make you feel comfortable, today is the say to wear them and do them.
National Sticky Bun Day – I don’t know that there are many people who don’t like a sticky bun every now and then! Considered a specialty in Pennsylvania, it’s a treat that is loved everywhere!
Outdoor Activity – Today may be a good day to call a friend or relative and bring over all the ingredients you need to make homemade sticky buns with them! Connecting with others through cooking is a great way to spend time with others.
Indoor Activity – There are some funny comedies that you can watch that mention “sticky bun” – you can see a list of them here. So, get yourself some of these delicious treats, make a cup of tea or coffee and sit back, relax and laugh your way through the day.
National Margarita Day – Even if you don’t drink alcohol, you can still celebrate this very delicious and festive drink, the Margarita! One story is that this drink was created in 1938 by Carlos Herrera in Baja California. Although, there are other stories too!
Outdoor Activity – Of course, a visit to a Mexican restaurant is the thing to do today, even if it’s just for some chips and salsa and a Margarita. You can ask for a virgin Margarita if you don’t drink alcohol.
Indoor Activity – You can have some fun by establishing a “cocktail hour” with your senior loved one and enjoy a drink with them! There are Margarita kits that you can purchase and of course, you can make any other type of drink too! So, put on some Mexican music or watch The 3 Amigos and have a lovely afternoon.
Tootsie Roll Day – This delicious chocolate treat was created in Brooklyn, NY and introduced February 23, 1896 by an Austrian immigrant, Leo Hirshfield. Named after his daughter, Tootsie and has now been inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame.
Outdoor Activity – Wouldn’t it be wonderful to visit a friend or two today and bring them a gift of Tootsie Rolls? There are many different ones to choose from!
Indoor Activity – An afternoon of playing a variety of Candy theme games may be a fun and different activity with your senior loved one.
World Bartender Day – These days, bartenders are known as Mixologists! Whatever you want to call them, there are some that can make the most amazing drink treats and today is the day to celebrate them.
Outdoor Activity – If you have a local bar near you, gather some friends and/or family and spend an hour or two in one. Make sure it’s a quiet time of the day because too much stimulation can be difficult for some seniors with dementia.
Indoor Activity – Get yourself some bartender tools and become your very own bartender! A book on mixology can give you the recipes you will work on. Choose a different “drink” for every day of the week. And don’t forget, you can make any drink a virgin drink!
National Chocolate Covered Nut Day – Nuts are delicious by themselves but when they are covered in chocolate, they become a delicious treat!
Outdoor Activity – Some candy stores and fudge shops have demonstrations on how their candies are made. If you live near one today may be a good day to visit one and watch them make their treats.
Indoor Activity – If your senior loved one can tolerate eating nuts and chocolate, it may be fun to make your very own today. Here’s a recipe on how to make chocolate covered almonds.
National Tell A Fairy Tale Day – Most everyone loves a fairy tale! They are filled with life lessons, happiness, sadness and can tug on just about any emotion you have.
Outdoor Activity – Visit a friend or relative with children and bring them a book or two of fairy tales. Spend some time reading to them (and to your senior loved one). If you can give the characters different voices and/or act out the adventures, that would be even better for everyone!
Indoor Activity – Reading to someone can be a soothing and relaxing activity. Try spending an hour today reading to your senior loved one. It can be a fairy tale or any other type of book you prefer.
International Polar Bear Day – As climate change continues to march on, I fear there will come a day when Polar Bears will only be seen in Zoos. Their habitat is slowly eroding away and hopefully, we will be able to save them from becoming extinct.
Outdoor Activity – A day to the local zoo is warranted today, especially if they have an area for Polar bears!
Indoor Activity – Making a donation to the World Wildlife Fund to help save the polar bears is an excellent way to honor these great animals!
National Floral Design Day – If you love flowers and are craving for Springtime to start, then today may be a great day for you to begin thinking about all the flowers that will soon be blooming.
Outdoor Activity – Contact your local flower shops and ask if they give any floral design classes. Craft stores like Michael’s may also give these classes.
Indoor Activity – Whether you use real flowers or silk ones, there are many books that can teach you how to make a floral arrangement. But if that’s too difficult for your senior loved one with dementia, consider flower themed coloring books!
February 29 (on Leap Years)
International Underlings Day – Many caregivers of seniors can certainly consider themselves as Underlings! They are the folks that do all the work but usually get very little credit.
Outdoor Activity – Make today a day to pamper and treat yourself, the caregiver. Get some respite care for your senior loved one, head off to a restaurant or spend time with friends, or a spa day, etc. Whatever you need to do to get away physically and mentally to recharge!
Indoor Activity – If you can’t get away physically, at least spend some time today getting away mentally. Ask someone to come in and spend time with your senior loved one while you take a calming and soothing bubble bath. Meditate, read a book, watch a movie. Anything that you can do to get away from the heavy and exhausting duties of caring for your senior loved one. You deserve it.