The Longest Day: Celebrating Lives Well Lived

Today, many of us will celebrate the longest day of the year – the summer solstice – by spending time outside with our friends and family, soaking up the sun, and reveling in the fact that we’ve made it another year around the sun while twilight slowly settles around us.

But, for many, this Longest Day has an even greater meaning. The Alzheimer’s Association of America has adopted the summer solstice as their Longest Day and they say “The Longest Day is all about love. Love for all those affected by Alzheimer’s disease.” It’s a day to celebrate the vibrancy of the lives of those individuals affected by this disease and to give them and their families an opportunity to raise money while participating in activities and hobbies that they’ve always shared.

My elderly father who suffers from Alzheimer’s was recently admitted to UT Medical Center. We are still here. He was placed on the oncology wing for lack of space elsewhere. Cancer patients who we have hope will beat their disease tend to receive lots of flowers and visitors. Once someone has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a disease we can only hope to manage not cure, friends and even family begin to distance themselves. I had just thought that I should get Pop some flowers myself when a gentle knock came at the door. The sweetest lady came in carrying a bright yellow basket full of carnations, hydrangeas, daffodils and sunflowers. My dad was so excited. He said, “Those flowers brighten up the whole room, don’t they?” They sure do! It is amazing how something as small as a basket of flowers can mean so much. Many, many thanks.” – Joanie H., Knoxville

Here at Random Acts of Flowers, we encounter recipients facing Alzheimer’s disease at the hospitals and assisted living facilities that we visit on a regular basis. For them – and for us – a bouquet delivery is a welcome bright spot in a world that is turned upside down.

Collage of woman receiving flowers and flower bouquetTo all of you at RAF – I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the flower arrangements you brought to Moldaw Residences in Palo Alto. I am especially grateful for the flowers in our Memory Support rooms. My husband has been there since it opened in 2009, and flowers brightened his room until the last petal fell, brightening the days for him, me, and all the caretakers. What pleasure you have given to all of us, and I want you to know how much I appreciate the surprise of RAF.” – Marcia E., Silicon Valley


And, research has shown that a familiar smell can bring back memories from the past (see our recent blogpost Tuesdays with Flowers: Making Memories Blossom with Random Acts of Flowers for more on the subject).

Sunny Biden from The Pat Summitt Foundation (an organization fighting Alzheimer’s disease with a comprehensive approach, awarding grants to organizations that provide research to treat, prevent, cure, and ultimately eradicate this disease; education and awareness of Alzheimer’s, its onset and treatment; and support services to patients, their families and caregivers) says that “with Alzheimer’s the first thing to go is, short-term memory, so bringing flowers to someone… there’s always something nostalgic about a flower that reminds someone of a memory. So, if someone gets a certain flower that they loved, it might bring back a childhood memory that they’re more inclined to remember than a short-term memory.”

Every day of the year, Random Acts of Flowers uses flowers to bring renewed hope and new moments of kindness to recipients battling illness, injury, and the aging process. Today, on The Longest Day, we would like to remind you to take a few of these “extra” minutes to spend time with the people you love – do something special with them, for them, or in their honor.