"Every Lady Should Receive Flowers On Valentines Day"

Submitted by Timothy Cox from Longmont, CO

Good afternoon,

People who live in nursing homes are a forgotten entity in our society today - we basically are warehousing our elderly and infirmed people - often they have nobody in their lives who comes to visit and talk with the residents - which I feel is a shame...

Anyway, for the last 25 years or so for Valentines Day, I've made it a habit if buying 75 roses, or carnations (25 red, 25 white and 25 pink) and I travel to this one nursing home/Alzheimer's care unit on Main Street in Longmont. I've always felt that all women deserve at least one flower on Valentines Day, so I walk around the facility and hand out a flower to all female residents (as well as employee's) - their choice of color.

Some residents are very hesitant to accept a flower, thinking they need to pay for them. When I explain that they are free, you can see a smile cross their face and tears form in their eyes. Some ladies do not want one, and you have to be respectful of their wishes and not make them feel uncomfortable in any way. This simple act of handing out flowers to people who our society have forgotten is so very rewarding to me - I walk out of there an hour or so later on top of a cloud - nothing can ruin the mood and positive emotions that I feel while handing out the flowers.

There is one story that I want to share: Couple of years ago I was handing out flowers, when I came upon one lady who was laying on her bed in a large room, all by herself. I announced myself several times with a "Hello", but there was no recognition or any hint she knew I was there. When I got along side the bed, it was apparant that she had some sort of dementia, as she simply glanced my way and then her gaze moved back to straight ahead. She didn't respond to any words I said, so I picked a red carnation for her and I laid it on top of chest near her hands. She looked down at that flower and the biggest smile you ever saw spread across her face, and she picked up that carnation and smelled it. She was so happy, and she surprised my by saying "I got a red rose" over and over, while smelling and smiling that carnation. As I retreated back to the doorway, I heard over and again, "I got a red rose, I got a red rose"... Somehow that flower was able to penetrate the fog of her dementia and it brought back an obvously pleasant memory for her.

If you want to "pay it forward" and do this very simple thing at a nursing home close to you, I promise you will will not be sorry and that it will be the best $50 to $75 you have ever spent.


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