Start 2023 off by trying some new programs with your residents, including creating community cookbooks or playlists, finding ways to cheer on hockey teams, and making the most of winter activities without braving the cold outdoors.
There is most likely a wealth of amazing recipes all of your residents have. Invite them to contribute to a Winter Recipes book for your community. Get residents together and encourage them to bring any written recipes or ones that they can share verbally. Use a tablet or computer to document the recipes and include any stories about the recipe that residents share.
Compile them all together and print them off in a book format. You could sell the recipe book as a fundraiser for charity or for something for the recreation department that your residents could benefit from!
Gardening doesn’t need to stop just because it’s winter. Gardening has been proven to have therapeutic benefits, and there are lots of plants that can be grown indoors.
Indoor gardening has been proven to be therapeutic for adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia since it gives them a sense of purpose. Amaryllis is easy to grow indoors and can last for weeks, as well as low-light plants, herbs, and flowers that could live in indoor window boxes. Bring Spring indoors this winter season!
Do you have residents in your community who love to act and play? Get them together to recreate a favourite film or TV moment. The possibilities are endless: recreating musical numbers, famous plot twists, or TV openers (here’s some inspiration). If you do this activity, please share it with us! We would love to see it!
As a fun group or 1:1 program, create a community playlist on Apple Music or Spotify that contains a favourite song for each of your residents. You can bring everyone together or go room-to-room and collect a favourite song from each person. You can use this playlist in music trivia, background music in the dining room, or as a guessing game program guessing which song was chosen by which resident.
Baby, it may be cold outside, but you can bring the winter indoors where your residents won’t need to bundle up. Turn your activity room into a cozy picnic spot to enjoy some winter comfort food. Decorate the room with flannel, some pretty lights, and some winter centerpieces. Get your dining team to serve winter favourites like tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Want a way to beat winter blues? Hot chocolate! Host a Hot Chocolate Happy Hour where you’re the bartender who creates customized hot cocoa for your residents to sip on. Bring in some extras like marshmellows, chocolate chips, caramel sauce, whipped cream, crumbled cookies and more! You can use candy canes or cinnamon sticks as stirrers. This might be a great opportunity to invite grandkids and great-grandkids to enjoy a cup with their grandparents as well.
Host a friendly competition to see who can build the best snowman using fake snow. To make fake snow, mix together an 8:1 ratio of flour to oil, which will create moldable “snow” for residents to build their snowmen. Get some snowman supplies, such as buttons, ribbons, construction paper, glue and let your residents’ creative juices flow!
Get those binoculars out and gather together near a big window in your community. There are over 900 bird species in North America, and the types of birds your residents can see in the winter will be different from the ones in the spring or summer. This is an activity that could also be done as a 1:1 activity with a resident or self-directed.
Turn on your local hockey game or NHL game and get your sports-loving residents together for a tailgate party. You can serve those typical sports snacks, such as nachos and cheese, chicken wings, chips, and popcorn for them to snack on during the game. You could also serve beer or ginger-ale. If you have residents who used to play hockey, set up a hockey net for them to show off their puck-hitting skills.
Give your residents a chance to get creative and write a story together. Give a pen and paper to a resident for a set time period (2-3 minutes), and then pass it on to the next person to continue the story. You could give a theme (like mystery or romance) or just let their imaginations run wild and see what happens.
Did these activity ideas spark your creativity? Plan ahead for next month with these February Activity Ideas for Senior Living Communities and 10 Senior Community Activity Ideas: Valentine's Day Edition!
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.
Holly is a member of Welbi’s Marketing team! She has a background in communications and marketing, and is a compassionate individual who loves team work, story telling, and wellness.
Wendy is a student in the Honours BA in English program at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.
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