This month, we’re celebrating the beginning of 2022 with party ideas, reminiscing, reflecting, and more! The start of a new year is a great time for you and your residents to look back and reflect and look ahead to resolutions, goals, and fresh starts.
Get your residents together to set resolutions for the New Year. These could be personal, such as reading a book a week. Or they could involve your community’s life enrichment program, such as attending one program a week, exercising twice a week, or striking up a conversation with someone new at a program every month. Resolution setting is a great way to get motivated, connect with others, and look forward to the future!
What is the first word you think of when you hear “New Year’s”? Many people would say “Resolution”. So why not use New Year’s Resolution to create a fun, active program that helps residents meet one another. For The Resolution Shuffle, each resident prints their New Year’s resolution on a recipe card. You can then shuffle them all together and pass them out. Each person must then match the resolution to the correct resident by asking questions until they find out the owner of the resolution. This activity creates an occasion for ongoing dialogue between residents as they check in with one another to see how a resolution is going.
Want to celebrate the countdown to 12, but 12pm? Help residents countdown to 12 o’clock noon in your communities dining room during a champagne brunch. Serve a nice brunch with champagne and provide hats and horns for residents to wear and do the countdown and celebration to ring at 12pm.
Pass out bags of confetti or silly string and toss around small balloons during a fun confetti throwing party game. To play the game, seat residents in two rows of chairs facing one another. Countdown from 10 and have residents toss as much confetti and as many balloons to the other side for about a minute. Encourage residents to throw back any confetti or balloons that land on them or on their side. The object of the game is to have the least amount of confetti on your side when time is up.
Have you ever wanted to be a detective? Are you that person that always solves the crime before the end of the show? In a nutshell, residents receive individual character dossiers and are encouraged to mingle and spread out in order to bribe, blackmail, and, in general, be sneaky in obtaining as many secrets about the other characters as possible. At some point during the event, someone dies. Yes, one of the participants dies and one of them did it! An investigation ensues with lots of finger-pointing as the secrets become revealed. There are lots of website and businesses that offer support to run a murder mystery party within your community.
Choose a time-period from your past and use that as the basis for your New Year's Eve party. Let's just use the 50's for an example. Your residents can expect a sock hop with a little Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Jerry Lee Lewis playing on the radio, maybe cheeseburger sliders with root beer floats, poodle skirts, and perfectly greased hair.
When you have been through 60 or more New Year's Eve parties, the memories are endless. Hosting a party that embraces those memories can be a refreshing twist to the normal hoop-la typically associated with this night. For a walk down memory lane, your guests will bring items from their past to display around your community. Some item ideas include:
Throughout the evening, guests can browse through each other's displays and get a glimpse into each other's lives.
There is no telling the conversations that will take place once everyone begins to look at all the memorabilia. What a fun way to spend the evening – not only reminiscing but also getting to know each other.
As a kid, you probably dreamed of what you wanted to be when you grew up. Most every kid does, but did that dream come true?
A unique twist on that childhood dream is to dress up as what you hoped to be. Maybe you dreamed of being a professional baseball player, but you ended up taking over your dad's septic business instead, or perhaps you wanted to be a pilot, but you became a nurse.
While there is nothing wrong with whatever it is you do (or did) for a living, it just might not have been what you dreamed of as a child. Pull from those long-ago memories of childhood. What did you want to do? Rescue gorillas in the rainforest, track the dolphins with Jacque Cousteau, or did you just want to stay home and have a dozen children?
Whatever it was, dress the part, even if it is for just one night.
A vision board is a collage of images, pictures, and affirmations representing your dreams and desires. It's designed to help give you inspiration and motivation in various stages of your life. For older adults, it can help look for meaning at this stage in their lives, give them clarity, help them stay positive, encourage motivation, and promote creativity. Use a vision board program to help your residents celebrate the past and look forward to the future.
Have you ever said, "I've got to go get the mail!"? Going to a mailbox has been a customary routine for many residents. A mailbox triggers memories and anticipation of receiving a letter or card and for this program, you use a regular mailbox that has been modified to "roll" through hallways. It is used to deliver special wishes, cards, or invitations to the residents. It can be decorated, much like a cart, for special occasions and holidays.
Construct a "mailbox on wheels" by securing the base to a rolling platform and move the mailbox throughout the community for special occasions such as delivering notes from kids, letters from volunteers, or holiday cards.
When not in use, the mailbox can be placed in the activity department office or reception office to collect outgoing mail from residents.
We hope you found some inspiring activity ideas to try out with residents in your senior living community! If this list sparked your creativity, sign up for our newsletter to get even more fun activity ideas sent to your inbox. Every resident’s well-being is at the heart of what we do.
Wendy studies English Language and Literature at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.
Katie is a member of Welbi’s Customer Experience team! She has a background in communications and recreation and is passionate about older adults, exercise, coffee and people.
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