This month, we’re looking ahead to November with activities to observe Remembrance Day or Veterans Day in your senior living community. Plus, try some fun aerobic exercises, create amazing artwork, and hold a Minute to Win It tournament with your residents!
Pandemic restrictions may make it difficult to attend a Remembrance Day ceremony in person this year, but you can still honour the courage and sacrifice of those who have served. Attending a virtual ceremony, holding a socially distanced service in your community, and observing the two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. are just some of the ways you can safely pay your respects this Remembrance Day.
For suggestions on how to hold a Remembrance Day service of your own, visit these guides from the Canadian War Museum and Veterans Affairs Canada. You can also watch a livestream of the National Remembrance Day service or find a ceremony in your community here.
Chances are, some of the residents in your community are veterans themselves. Here are some ways you can honour their service on Remembrance Day:
Decorating for Remembrance Day is a wonderful way to get your community feeling patriotic. Try making some Remembrance Day wreaths with your residents that you can then display around your community.
You can make a simple wreath shape by cutting out a large circle from cardboard and cutting out a smaller circle in the centre. Wrap the wreath in yarn or ribbon to hide the cardboard. You can make these beautiful felt poppies to decorate your wreath, or, for an easier version, you can make poppies from cupcake liners.
If your community is celebrating Veterans Day, try making this patriotic clothespin wreath!
To make a Remembrance Day lantern, you’ll need jars, LED tea lights, mod podge, and poppies cut from red paper or tissue paper. Simply use the mod podge to glue the poppies to the outside of the jar. Apply a layer of mod podge over the poppies to protect them. Place the tea light in the jar and display your lantern on a porch or windowsill.
Want to help your residents get to know each other better? A game of ‘Toss and Talk’ or ‘Throw and Tell’ is the perfect way to get the conversation going!
For this activity, you’ll need a ball printed with conversation-starters, which you can easily make yourself. Come up with a list of questions that prompt your residents to share a preference or experience. For instance, you can ask questions like “Cats or dogs?” or “What was your favourite subject in school?” Then, write the questions on a beach ball using permanent marker.
Ask your residents to sit in a circle and pass the ball to each other. Whoever catches the ball can answer the question that their right thumb is closest to. Give the group time to comment on the resident’s answer before passing the ball to someone else.
This form of aerobic exercise will have your residents showing off their best dance moves, all while remaining safely seated! There are many chair dancing classes available for free on YouTube that you and your residents can follow along with. Here’s a Zumba beginner’s seated class to get you started. Once you get in the groove, you could even lead a class yourself to your residents’ favourite tunes!
For another fun seated activity, try playing a game of kickball with your residents. Have your residents sit in a large circle. Roll a beach ball into the circle so your residents can kick it back and forth. You can add other lightweight balls of various sizes to make the game more interesting.
You can also play seated kickball as a hallway game like these residents from Senior Suites at St. Claire Commons. Have your residents sit in their doorways and roll the ball down the hallway so they can pass it to each other!
In the mood to paint but need some inspiration? A step-by-step painting tutorial is just what you need. This website provides easy-to-follow instructions to create amazing acrylic paintings. There are paintings for every season and occasion! Just select one of the free tutorials to get a list of materials and a YouTube video to follow along with. If you want to learn how to make the “Fall Lantern” painting below, click here!
You don’t need paint to create beautiful artwork! I’m sure you’ve heard of paint by numbers, but did you know there are sticker by number kits, too? Check out this list of sticker by number books for adults with links for purchasing. They come in all kinds of themes and levels of difficulty. For each design, you’ll find the right sticker, peel it, and stick it in place. Keep your brain engaged while creating fun, colourful art!
Minute to Win It games ask contestants to complete a challenge in under a minute. There are so many Minute to Win It game ideas out there, so why not pick your favourites and hold a tournament?
The supplies needed will depend on the games you choose, but most Minute to Win It games use common materials. You’ll also need a 60-second timer, a scoreboard, and preferably some prizes! For smaller groups, your residents can go one at a time while the others cheer them on. Award the resident 5 points if they complete the challenge within the time limit or 0 points if they run out of time. For larger groups, have 3-5 players go head-to-head. Award 5 points to the player who completes the challenge first, 3 points to anyone who completes the challenge within the time limit, and 0 points to those who ran out of time. Here are 50 Minute to Win It games to choose from!
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.