Making Time for Thoughtful Gestures of Caring
“There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the sparkle in the eyes of the seniors whom we have a privilege to serve – what we call ‘sparking lives,’” stresses Joel Theisen, RN, CEO & Founder of Lifesprk, based in Edina, Minnesota. And that is one of the reasons the entire Lifesprk team got behind Wish of a Lifetime’s annual Cupid Crew event for the Twin Cities.
This Valentine’s Day, more than 100 volunteers will spread across the Twin Cities metro giving out roses and smiles to elders as a result of Lifesprk’s partnership with the national wish-granting organization. These volunteer “Cupid Crews” comprised of area students and Lifesprk and SilverCrest Properties team members will visit four senior living communities where Lifesprk and SilverCrest Properties work together to bring whole person senior care as in-home care to seniors and their families.
The goal: To share smiles and conversations with those who may feel left out or lonely on Valentine’s Day.
As seniors age, many lose spouses and loved ones, and the joy of Valentine’s Day can diminish. Research from Rutgers University shows that the receipt of flowers decreases depression and encourages companionship in senior citizens. The study also shows that seniors perform higher on everyday memory tasks and experience enriched personal memories in the presence of flowers.
“Most people think of Valentine’s Day as a day for couples,” says Sally Webster, Director of Community Outreach at Wish of a Lifetime. “But we want to show that it can be a day of celebrating kindness and love in all forms.”
Joel adds that providing wishes has been an integral aspect of the Lifesprk model since its founding in 2004. “We know from experience the importance of focusing on people’s purpose and passion and ask our Life Care Managers (registered nurses) to provide at least two Lifesprk wishes a month to their clients,” he stresses. “That’s why our team got so excited about this opportunity with Wish of a Lifetime – here is another group who believes what we believe and sees the value in helping people in the second half of life to ignite their passions and recognizes how even small acts of kindness can make an incalculable difference in someone’s day.”
The annual Cupid Crew event started in Denver four years ago and has now spread to cities in California, Minnesota, Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, and New York. This year the event expanded nationally thanks to the organization Random Acts, a volunteer-led nonprofit dedicated to inspiring people of all ages to perform acts of kindness around the world. To learn more about getting involved, visit Wish of Lifetime’s website at www.wishofalifetime.org or signup via Random Acts, www.randomacts.org.
“We need more people investing in what can seem like minor acts of kindness and caring because we see the huge value of these efforts – not only in bringing a smile to the eyes of a senior but also in contributing to measurable results such as fewer ER visits and hospitalizations,” adds Joel.
We encourage you to follow the smiles on social media with the hashtag #CupidCrew and #Lifesprk. Spark on!