The day-to-day responsibilities of operating an assisted living facility can sometimes feel more burdensome than rewarding – particularly if the facility is understaffed. As a staff member, it’s easy to get dragged into an unstimulating routine of caring for your patients. Now that the holiday season is here, though, our traditions of decoration and celebration could give facility staff the perfect opportunity to recharge – all while benefiting their residents!
Not only do holiday decorations brighten up a facility – but organizing fun activities for assisted living residents can also be a simple way to breathe some excitement back into the job. Plus, by bringing a bit of holiday cheer into the facility, staff can create a happier environment for residents, and therefore provide better quality care!
Even better, holiday decorating doesn’t need to rob too much time from the schedule. Here are a few seasonal suggestions for great activities you can put together for your residents:
- Start A Baking Club. Gathering residents who can safely work in the kitchen and allowing them to try their hands on a fun recipe or two is a great way to empower them. Depending on your facility, you can organize and have a baking day weekly, biweekly, or monthly – whatever will suit your staff and residents best. Some great ideas to make around the holidays could be eggnog cookies, a classic fruitcake, or even gingerbread cutout cookies that residents can personalize.
- Throw A Hot Toddy Social. Invite residents to gather in a common area and serve up delicious hot toddies. You could even make it a themed event and celebrate December as the month Prohibition ended. Play some Sinatra records, or some tunes by the Andrews Sisters, to complete the perfect afternoon in your facility.
- Plan A Holiday Trivia night. Put on a trivia night this month and invite residents to play as teams. Be sure to ask holiday themed questions (and don’t forget to include Hanukkah, Kwanzaa,and New Year’s!) that will not only fit the theme of the season, but which will have residents using their noodles!
- Organize An Afternoon to Record Memoirs. Giving residents the opportunity to sit down and tell some of their favorite – and maybe even secret! – stories is an excellent way to engage their minds and to help them build relationships and friendships among their community members. By recording these tales, you can also provide a wonderful gift for their families.
- Start A Walking Club. Keeping your residents fit can certainly be a challenge. If you don’t already have one in place, a Walking Club could be an easy way to encourage people to start healthy habits by making it a social event. The benefit to this idea is that you can continue it year-round (and while it won’t necessarily help to prevent a fall, it will certainly help to keep your residents a little healthier!).
- Put On A Reading Series. Another great way to engage residents without having to resort to the television is by reading aloud to them. Have one of your staff members choose a seasonal book to read from and start a series – read a couple chapters every day, or every few days. Encourage this staff member(s) to be lively and interactive with the residents and turn it into a fun event.
As you can see, while it’s tempting to make the holidays a momentous celebration, organizing facility events doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. They can even serve as a way to avoid burnout in staff and idleness in residents; because of this, we recommend thinking of of holiday ideas as a way of providing quality care, rather than as an annoyance. So go ahead, use these ideas or brainstorm your own, and make this holiday season at your assisted living facility the best one yet!