The senior guide to Valentines Day

When you are young, Valentine's Day plans tend to be elaborate affairs that cross international borders and involve huge expressions of love - as you get older, you realise that a more homey experience can work too.

Take nothing away from the young scamps booking hotels in European cities or preparing bizarre expressions of their devotion - it is wonderful for the recipient to know how much their partner loves them, but this can be shown in different ways.

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In some respects, the most elaborate Valentine's Day plans almost make you wonder whether the organiser is only doing it for their partner, it can feel like they have organised something over-the-top to impress friends and family too.

For those in the later stages of life, it may not be possible to go on a major trip with your partner - but worry not, for a Valentine's Day spent indoors can be special too. If you know your loved one well and you have time to prepare your house or assisted living apartment, then you can bring the magic of the occasion home.

Prepare - Preparation is the key here - you want the house to be clean and tidy. However, do not stop at cleaning the area that you want to celebrate in; think about what sort of extra little touches you can put in to make your partner realise that you have made the effort. Simple things like putting a bunch of flowers in a vase on the table can work, but think about what your partner might want to do on the day too - perhaps rent a film or find a fun game to play.

Eat - You will no doubt know your partner's favourite meals, so make sure that you use this information as a guide - but do not settle for something you know they like. Instead, give the meal a new twist, or serve it up in a different way. For example, if they love a good spaghetti bolognese, then find a new recipe to try out that uses more authentic Italian ingredients.

Drink - It is not necessary to drink alcohol on Valentine's Day, but if your partner has a favourite drink then make sure you have this in stock. If there is any preparation required (crushing ice, cooling bottles, etc.) then ensure that you have done this. Just like with the food, you can make the day special by finding a new twist on their favourite drink - they may like it or they may not, but it will at least surprise them with something different.

Be merry - Whatever you do, make sure you are in the right frame of mind to celebrate your love for each other. You will always have problems and issues to discuss, but just try to get into the spirit of things for this one day - you have the rest of the year to talk about things that upset you or anger you, yet only one day is devoted to celebrating the love that you feel for the man or woman you have chosen to spend your time with.