ACR Homes provides residential group home care for people with disabilities in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area of Minnesota. For the residents in our group homes, providing the highest quality medical care is of utmost importance, but so is supporting the emotional, social, and relational aspects of each resident’s personality. Direct Care Professional, Anna Lalande shares about how celebrating holidays with the residents at ACR Homes is a vital part of providing great care. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a list of Valentine’s Day themed activities that we’ve tried, and you can enjoy at home as well!
Written by: Anna Lalande
Edited by: Brianna Palkki
Celebrating holidays with my residents is one of my favorite parts about being a Direct Care Professional at ACR Homes. Holidays fill our group homes with endless excitement, positivity, love, laughter, and treasured memories. It’s so fun to be part of that. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to touch on the importance of holidays for the people with disabilities that we support. I’ll also share some of the special activities that my residents and I have been doing throughout February to gear up for Valentine’s Day.
Holidays carry such significance for the residents at ACR Homes. Not only do they provide the respite from the monotony of daily routines, but they and they offer an opportunity to reflect on relationships that are important. Residents will connect with family members, friends, guardians, or former Direct Care Professionals during each holiday season. Many residents will send or receive cards, call a friend to wish them a happy birthday, text their guardian a picture of a special outfit they wore to celebrate (like a Halloween costume), and talk on the phone to hear about how their loved ones are celebrating. These social connections are so important for our residents to have the best quality of life. This week, some of my residents will send videos or pictures to their family members to wish them a Happy Valentine’s Day and ask what they are doing to celebrate.
Over the past two weeks, my residents and I have been celebrating Valentine’s Day by doing fun activities. I have one resident that loves to bake and one resident that loves to eat! We had a blast baking Valentine’s Day cupcakes while a “Disney Love Songs” playlist serenaded us in the background. We also spent some time cutting out paper hearts and coloring valentines for friends. In the evenings, we enjoyed watching our favorite romantic comedies.
At ACR Homes, the caregivers and group home managers strive to provide our residents with the best quality of life possible. This includes helping our residents partake in their favorite holiday traditions, regardless of any disabilities they may have. Holiday’s are about joining together in inclusive celebration, not about excluding, and nothing makes me happier as a caregiver than to see the joy of a resident when they feel included in the holiday festivities that we all love. Holidays are a time of social connection, excitement, and fun for our residents, and I love that as a direct care professional at ACR Homes, I have the opportunity to celebrate with them.
Valentine's Day Activities To Enjoy
- Bake Valentine's Day treats
- Enjoy special craft projects
- Go on a fun holiday themed outing (Like paint your own pottery for Valentine's Day)
- Have a dance party at the house
- Do an indoor picnic
- Decorate the house
- Write a letter to someone special
- Enjoy a holiday themed movie night
Of course Valentine’s day isn’t the only highlight. ACR Homes hosts a company-wide Halloween Dance and our very own "Homecoming week". During Christmas this year for example, many residents enjoyed decorating the tree, building snowmen, assembling gingerbread houses, frosting Christmas cookies, and going on outings to see Christmas lights. It is incredible to see the creative ways that the caregivers adapt these activities to their residents’ needs – some staff even helped their residents enjoy sensory play with snow inside where they make snowmen in the kitchen sink!
For more activity ideas that aren't focused on the holiday season, read our blog.