Leap year – an extra ‘bonus’ day to show your love


2024 is a leap year. Which means we get an extra day in February. Twenty-four bonus hours to make a difference in our own life and the lives of others. How will you make your extra day count?

Since it falls in February, the month of love (and who couldn’t use a little more love?) why not spend one of those extra hours practicing these ‘love languages’ – and use this concept to enrich someone else’s life?

Love languages

The concept of love languages was popularised by Dr Gary Chapman, a Baptist minister. In his book, The Five Love Languages, he describes the distinct ways individuals express and receive love. These include:

  • words of affirmation and appreciation
  • offering help (acts of service)
  • gifts
  • spending quality time
  • physical touch

Just as these languages play a crucial role in personal relationships, they can also be applied to our connection with the broader community, especially older people who often feel a sense of loneliness and isolation.

Think about how you could put one or more of these concepts into practice on the 29th of February, within your own family and in your community.

Words of affirmation

Often, we underestimate the power of a sincere compliment. Yet it costs nothing to acknowledge someone else’s achievements, appearance, actions or personal qualities.

Complimenting someone can leave them with a warm glow that brightens the entire day. And sometimes, a compliment will be remembered and treasured for years. Let’s use our extra day this February to spread more of these good feels!

Start with the people closest to you – your spouse, children and parents. What do you admire or appreciate about each individual? Then find an appropriate moment to tell them. Or write it down in a card or letter and give it to them.

But don’t stop there. Compliment a business colleague on a job well done … admire a smart outfit … tell a friend how much you value them … compliment a business or an organisation like Tafta on their exemplary service, through their social media platforms.

Acts of service

Something as mundane as taking out the garbage or cooking your spouse’s favourite meal are all expressions of love. Think of something you can do for your loved ones that relieves them of the necessity of doing it for themselves. Go the extra mile to make life easier for someone else.

Volunteer your time at an organisation like Tafta. Offer to help with events or day-to-day operations. Can you share a special skill or talent with our elders? For example, teaching them dancing, chair pilates, painting or sketching, handcrafts or how to play chess or bridge. Your contribution can greatly enrich the lives of others.

If you are unable to physically express your compassion, consider sponsoring an essential service like Home Based Care or Meal Delivery.


Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a gift? Especially when it’s unexpected. Don’t wait for birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas to spoil your spouse or children. Even small, inexpensive gifts come with the unspoken message, “I was thinking of you, and I love you.”

Donations to worthy causes are also an affirmation of the work they do, and your commitment to making our world a better place.

If the well-being of older people matters to you, please consider a donation to Tafta. Knowing you’re helping elders enjoy a life worth living is good for your own heart too.

Quality Time

Spend quality time with your loved ones. Turn up to watch your kids’ soccer match, swimming gala or judo competition. Colour in with pre-schoolers, or read them stories. Set aside an hour every evening to chat to your spouse, instead of slumping in front of the TV.

Pop in and visit an elderly neighbour for a chat and a cuppa. You will make their day! Or spend some time engaging with residents at one of our Tafta Homes. Share stories, play games, or simply offer companionship. Your presence can bring joy and warmth to their lives. Find out about our recently launched ‘Conversation Cards’ by emailing idpr@tafta.org.za.

Physical Touch

Physical contact is a basic human need with emotional, mental, and physical benefits. Touch triggers the release of the hormone, oxytocin, which helps us bond with one another emotionally, and creates a sense of well-being and happiness.

When you hug or kiss someone – or even just clasp their hand – their levels of dopamine and serotonin also increase. These neurotransmitters help regulate mood and relieve stress and anxiety.

Many older people are deprived of human touch. When you interact with elders, reach out and touch their hand. Or if you are comfortable doing so, give them a friendly hug. It could quite possibly be the only human contact they have felt in years.

While physical touch may not always be appropriate in a charitable context, think of other ways you could promote a sense of connection and compassion. Extend your support through gestures that convey empathy and understanding.

Culture of compassion

Together, we can create a community that not only understands the diverse ways love can be expressed but also actively practices them, fostering a culture of compassion and support for our aging population.

For more information about how you can connect with elders at Tafta, please contact Kemmy-Leigh Moodley on 031 332 3721 or idpr@tafta.org.za.

Why do we have leap years, anyway?

If you’re wondering why 2024 is a leap year, it’s because it takes the Earth around 365 ¼ days to circle the Sun, which means our calendar is out by a quarter of a day per year. So every four years, we add another day to make up for the discrepancy.