Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, a day often dedicated to love. For people with and without disabilities, healthy, loving relationships between partners, family, and friends can be an important part to living independently and fully participating in the community. These relationships offer support and opportunities to share interests and activities and build memories to last a lifetime. Whether you’re spending the day with a significant other, making heart-shaped cupcakes with the kids, or planning a night out with your best friend, here are some resources from the NIDILRR community and elsewhere for your Valentine’s Day planning.
Hanging with Bae
If you’re spending time with your spouse or partner, check out Date Night: Things to Do with the Ones You Love from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Community Living and Participation of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities (TU Collaborative). Consider preparing a romantic (but healthy) meal, with recipes from the FEAST cookbook from the NEW DOOR project at the World Institute on Disability, with help from assistive technology for cooking and eating suggested by AbleData.
V-Day with the Family
Your Valentine’s Day plans could include spending quality time with your family. According to the TU Collaborative, “increasing positive family relationships can lead to healthy communication patterns, which can develop into a resource for families or individual members to draw upon when they experience stress.” Check out their Family Leisure Toolkit for ideas for activities. You might also contact your local Center for Independent Living for accessible family activities in your area.
Pal-entine’s Day with your BFFs
Spending time with your Best Friends Forever (BFFs) might be in your Valentine’s Day agenda. Our friends can help us get through some of the most difficult times in our lives. Learn how a special friendship between two teenagers helped one woman adjust to life after spinal cord injury (SCI) in Two Halves Make a Whole from the University of Michigan Model SCI System Center’s book Stories of Life with Spinal Cord Injury. You can also check out the Power of Friendship Toolkit from the Institute for Community Inclusion Tools for Inclusion series and share what your friendships mean to you.
These are just a few resources to help you and your loved ones build healthy relationships. We also recommend our article Flowers, Chocolate, Romance… and Disability for more resources and research on developing and maintaining healthy intimate relationships.
Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at NARIC!