Valentines for Nantucket nursing home residents

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Will you be my Valentine? That was the question of the day last Friday at Our Island Home in Nantucket, MA, during the annual Valentine's Ball.

During the event, members of the U.S. Coast Guard from Station Brant Point on the island visit the residents of the 45-bed skilled nursing facility. It's been a tradition at the facility going back five years.

“We feel like we should be giving back to the community because the community does so much for us,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrill Malvesti, in a video from the event.

He noted that people from the island (which is only 3.5 miles by 14 miles) greet the Coast Guard officers when they report aboard and when they disembark from the ferry. It's possible to see the lighthouse and Coast Guard station from the nursing home, noted Administrator Pam Meriam.

This year the men and women in uniform stayed with the residents an hour and 15 minutes, dancing with them and sharing stories, Meriam said. For the residents, the young handsome people in uniform remind them of their grandchildren—and bring a burst of energy into the facility.

“People were saying secondary to Christmas it's the most exciting thing we do,” Meriam said.

It's certainly not a bad way to celebrate Valentine's Day. Dancing to Mitch Miller and other oldies music, residents inevitably were taken back to the days that they spent with their significant others.

“Just the physical touching, they're being held,” Meriam explained. “They're dancing. It's certainly reminiscent of what they've done in the their past, I would think, of having sweethearts on Valentine's Day.”

Sounds sweet to me.

To see the video of the event, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvxQB4rJ_8I.
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McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Emily Mongan.

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