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Taylorsville Journal

More than 500 area seniors enjoyed a brighter Valentine’s Day thanks to AARP Utah

Mar 04, 2024 12:19PM ● By Carl Fauver

AARP Utah President Pat Thompson (R) presents a Valentine’s Day rose to one of the residents at Legacy House of Taylorsville. (AARP Utah)

For the eleventh year nationally – and the second year here in Utah – AARP joined forces with their charitable affiliate “Wish of a Lifetime” (a registered 501 (c)(3) organization) to distribute Valentine’s Day roses to area retirement living residents.

“Last year, we gave Valentine’s Day roses to seniors at one assisted living center in Utah – and this year we were able to expand it to four,” AARP Utah Communication Director Kristen Tripodi said. “We hope to continue to grow the program throughout the entire state in the years ahead.”

Some 560 red and white roses were gifted to seniors on Feb. 14 at Legacy House and Legacy Village of Taylorsville, along with Legacy House and Legacy Retirement Residence of South Jordan.

“It’s always heartening to witness the happiness delivering roses brings both the volunteers and the recipients as the roses are handed out,” AARP Utah State Director Alan Ormsby said. “Regardless of age, we all need human connection to thrive. But nearly one in four adults aged 65 and above experience social isolation. Delivering roses on Valentine’s Day is just one of the many ways AARP strives to connect with (seniors).”

 Legacy House of Taylorsville (6302 S. Gold Medal Drive, about 3500 West) Director Darren Jacobson says the roses were actually delivered to his facility two days ahead of Valentine’s Day, direct from the nursery. His first challenge was to keep them a secret from nearly 100 curious residents.

“When the roses arrived Monday afternoon, we cut them, put them in water and hid them in our walk-in refrigerator,” Jacobson said. “We succeeded in keeping it a surprise. A team of about eight AARP people came two days later and handed the roses out to our residents in each of their rooms. We’ve not had something like this before. Our seniors were excited. It’s such a nice thing for (AARP and Wish of a Lifetime) to do.”

All four of the retirement living centers AARP visited on Valentine’s Day are operated by Western States Lodging Management and Development, based in South Jordan. They manage hotels, senior living communities, multi-family housing and conference centers throughout Utah and several other states.

“We have 100 mostly part-time employees here at Legacy House of Taylorsville,” Jacobson continued. “All but four of our 93 studio, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom units are now filled. We have 25 dedicated memory care units.”

Raised in Bountiful – and a graduate of Viewmont High School and Weber State University – Jacobson has been Legacy House of Taylorsville Director since December 2022.

“I am, by far, the newcomer on our staff,” he said. “Our receptionist has been here 17 years, our food and beverage director 15 years. My eight managers combined have been serving seniors at this center 65 years. We all enjoy working with our residents. And activities like the AARP Valentine’s rose giveaway make it even more fun.”

Turns out, the flowers weren’t the residents’ only Valentine’s Day treat.

“We served a special holiday meal – a choice of salmon or filet mignon,” the director said. “Our staff prepares 21 hot meals a week, making everything from scratch, including our dinner rolls.”

A week after Valentine’s Day, Legacy House of Taylorsville residents were also treated to a 1960s-themed “sock hop” dance.

“We host at least one larger, special activity for our residents every month,” Jacobson said. “On Easter (March 31), we’ll host a big egg hunt for all of their grandkids and great grandkids. When I accepted the job here, an Easter Bunny costume was awaiting me. So that’s what I’ll be wearing. We had about 100 kids at the egg hunt last Easter.”

Learn more about Legacy House of Taylorsville at or 801-327-8400.

Nationwide, the AARP “Cupid Crew” distributed more than 170,000 roses in its effort to connect with older adults at risk of isolation. For more on the organization’s Utah chapter, visit λ

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