Activity Ideas

January Activity Ideas for Senior Living Communities

November 21, 2023

Welcome to our blog on January Activity Ideas for Senior Living! As we embrace the new year, we've curated a list of nine engaging activities designed for activity directors and life enrichment managers. This January, we focus on the Physical dimension of wellness, aligning activities with New Year's resolutions. From SMART Goal Workshops to a Hawaiian Luau, each event is crafted to foster well-being and enjoyment. Let's kick off the year with a proactive approach to resident engagement and fulfillment.

  1. Host a SMART Goal Workshop

In January, the tradition of New Year's Resolutions takes center stage, but let's face it, resolutions often fizzle out. Prepare residents for success by facilitating a SMART Goal Workshop. SMART goals—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound—are more than resolutions; they're a practical roadmap for personal growth. Guide residents in crafting their SMART goals, and, if they feel comfortable, encourage them to share these goals with the group. This communal support enhances accountability, boosts motivation, and improves the chance of success. Encourage residents to align their goals with the dimensions of wellness, kickstarting the New Year with a foundation for personal well-being and achievement

Image via
  1. Coordinate a 30 Days of Fitness Challenge

Encourage residents to stay active throughout January with a 30-day fitness challenge. Launch the initiative with a meeting on January 1st to explain the program. Distribute simple paper calendars and instruct participants to check off each day, starting January 2, after completing a minimum of 10 minutes of purposeful physical activity. This could involve joining a group fitness program, taking a walk, or doing exercises in their rooms, the choice is theirs. At the end of the month, reward those who successfully mark off all 30 days with a small prize.

Image via Organicers
  1. Rejuvenate with Restorative Yoga

Did you know that January 3rd is International Mind-Body Wellness Day? On this day, invite a local yoga instructor to guide a restorative yoga class for residents. This event offers a practical opportunity for participants to engage in gentle movements and calming breaths, providing a rejuvenating escape from the winter blues. Create a serene atmosphere with soft lighting and soothing music, fostering an environment of relaxation and mindfulness. This session aims to enhance residents' mental and physical well-being, making it a valuable addition to your January calendar. So, roll out those yoga mats and join in for a session focused on serenity and inner balance!

Image via Yoga Santosha
  1. Warm Up with a Hawaiian Luau

Who isn't dreaming of a tropical escape in the middle of a snowy January? Beat the winter chill by transforming your community into a sun-soaked paradise this January with a Hawaiian Luau. Decorate with vibrant colors, serve tropical fruits, and play lively Hawaiian music to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Residents can escape to the islands as they learn simple hula dances—consider inviting a professional dancer or following online tutorials. Distribute colorful leis to enhance the laid-back Hawaiian vibe. As residents sway to the rhythm, they're not just enjoying the festivities; they're also engaging in a fun form of physical activity. So, dust off those grass skirts and get ready for a memorable Luau experience!

Image via Gulf Live

  1. Serve up Fun with a Table Tennis Tournament

Mark the dates of the Australian Open, which takes place from January 14-28th this year, and get ready to serve up fun with a Table Tennis Tournament. Get inspired by the exciting tennis event and organize a fun table tennis competition in your community. You can create a lively competition by organizing singles or doubles matches, depending on the number of participants. Don't worry if you don't have a dedicated table tennis table; improvise with a regular table. Gather residents, set up a makeshift net, and let the games begin! Provide paddles and balls, and encourage friendly competition, camaraderie, and maybe even a small prize for the winner. It's a fantastic way to physically engage residents in an enjoyable and accessible activity.

Image via CBC

  1. Make Soup Together for National Soup Month

An important element of our physical health is derived from the nourishment we choose for our bodies. In January, which is also National Soup Month, encourage healthy habits by exploring the nutritional benefits of homemade soups and fostering communal cooking. Gather your residents for a soup-making session that nourishes not only their bodies but also fosters a sense of togetherness. Let everyone contribute to preparing this comforting meal, sharing favorite soup recipes, and creating communal memories. The activity builds connections and well-being through the joy of cooking together. Enjoy the warmth and nurturance of this shared experience!

Image via Where You Get Your Protein

  1. Unleash Playfulness with an Indoor Snowball Fight

Liven things up with childlike fun on January 21st for World Snow Day. Bring winter inside with a lively Indoor Snowball Fight for your residents. Get creative with large white pom-poms, white balloons, or crumpled pieces of paper as your "snowballs." Transform your communal space into a winter wonderland, inviting residents to join in a spirited indoor snowball fight. Enhance the fun with games like snowball cornhole or other target activities, providing various ways for residents to engage in the festivities. Get ready for some tossing, laughter, and joy with this indoor snowball extravaganza!

Image via MediLodge of Tawas City

  1. Step In Time with a Scottish Country Dance Workshop

Embrace the cultural festivities on January 25th for Robbie Burns Day with a Scottish Country Dancing workshop. Invite a local expert to lead residents in learning the steps of this traditional dance, celebrating the occasion with a touch of cultural richness. Scottish Country Dancing offers a blend of movement and social interaction, making it an enjoyable and accessible activity for residents. The structured nature of the dance encourages physical coordination, mental agility, and a sense of camaraderie. Residents can relish the lively tunes and elegant steps, creating a memorable experience that resonates with the spirit of Robbie Burns Day. Encourage residents to participate and join in the celebration through this culturally enriching and physically engaging activity.

Image via Gibsons Seniors

  1. Piece Together Joy by Completing a Communal Puzzle 

Finally, as January draws to a close, engage residents in activities that hone fine motor skills. Consider hosting a National Puzzle Day event on January 29, collaborating on a large puzzle to enhance dexterity and foster teamwork. Here's a simple guide:

Preparation for the event:

  • Choose a puzzle size appropriate for your group (e.g., a 500-piece puzzle for 25 residents) and complete it beforehand.
  • Divide the completed puzzle into 25 sections of 20 pieces each. Ensure each section is grouped appropriately.
  • Undo each section and place the pieces into individual bags. Make sure you have as many bags as there are participants.

On the Day of the Event:

  • Hand out one bag of puzzle pieces to each resident.
  • Explain that these pieces represent one section of the larger puzzle.
  • Instruct residents to assemble the puzzle pieces in their bags.
  • Once all sections are completed, residents can collaborate to assemble the entire puzzle.

Ensure success by selecting a puzzle aligned with residents' interests, offering an engaging challenge. Encourage storytelling during the activity, and savor the collective satisfaction of completing the puzzle together.

Source: Silverts 

Did these activity ideas spark your creativity? Don’t miss our previous blogs (like this one!) with other ideas! 

Katie Stewart

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 Mathias

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 Riopelle

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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