Aged Care Holiday Activities Guide

Friday, November 27, 2020

The festive season is upon us, bringing celebration and quality family time for many. Aged care workers contribute each and every day to improving the lives of ageing individuals and those living with disability, and this may also include sharing in the holiday period with their residents and helping them to get into the spirit of the season.

For older individuals in aged care facilities, the feelings around this time of year can vary. While some have family and/or friends to celebrate with, others may not and can find the festive period to bring about feelings of loneliness or sadness. They may also be reflecting on past celebrations with lost loved ones, or perhaps this time of year makes them feel frustrated by a lack of energy or mobility.

Along with adding festive touches to the aged care environment such as tinsel, baubles or even a Christmas tree, aged care facilities can provide holiday activities to make this end-of-year season feel more enjoyable for those in their care.

Holiday activities in aged care

Inclusive holiday celebration activities

To help you create a fulfilling lifestyle program in your aged care setting over the coming weeks, we’ve compiled a few holiday activities that you might like to try. These activities focus on inclusivity, togetherness and bringing joy to the end of the year.

Festive movie program

Movies are a great way to escape, and there is no shortage of films to conjure up the Christmas spirit. Create a program of weekly movie sessions for residents to attend and sit in the company of others while viewing a festive movie.

To include those who may prefer not to celebrate Christmas, a program of nostalgic classic films is sure to delight. After all, heading to the movies is a well-loved pastime for many and a simple experience that most can partake in comfortably.

To add to the experience, let residents vote on what movies should be included in the program, and consider spending some extra time at the end encouraging discussion about the movie.

Holiday bingo

Any time is a good time for bingo, and why not make it a holiday special edition to get everyone in the mood for a happy Christmas? There are a range of free printable bingo games for you to use. Simply choose, print and distribute to your bingo players and get ready for festive fun!

Prefer traditional bingo events at your aged care facility? Go ahead, but add in some Christmas songs to add an element of festive cheer!

Puzzle teams

Whether you opt for festive-related puzzles or something else entirely, working on puzzles is a great way to work in teams and think strategically. Of course, individual puzzles are fine too for those who work prefer to work independently.

A puzzle can take a few days to complete, so get set up somewhere puzzles can be left and returned to ideally.

Christmas craft time

Who could forget about Christmas craft? Making gifts, decorations and trinkets is a favourite holiday activity that is always popular in aged care and provides a lovely keepsake.

Christmas cards handmade with love, Christmas wreaths, snow globes — when it comes to Christmas craft ideas, the sky is the limit.

Set up craft tables and encourage your residents to make something special. It can tie in perfectly with your facility’s Secret Santa or make presents for loved ones and visitors.

Secret Santa exchanges

Christmas is all about giving, but let’s be honest — receiving is nice too. Encourage residents to create notes, art or craft and send them to their fellow residents.

Residents can put their notes and gestures to one another under the Christmas tree, or deliver to individual rooms if possible.

Not only does this holiday activity bring the magic of Christmas into your aged care setting, but it also fosters a strong sense of community between residents and carers.

To ensure that everyone who wants to be involved feels included, you could consider allocating a recipient to each resident. Some residents may even find themselves making a new friend.

Christmas holiday activities in aged care

Happy celebrating together

As well as decorations and holiday activities, encourage everyone in your community to reach out to the elderly people in their lives during the festive season and ensure no one feels alone at Christmas, especially as we see out this challenging year.

For times when the holidays feel overwhelming, turn to our mindfulness guide for aged care for a variety of benefits for physical and mental wellbeing. Download it free here.

From all of us at Royal College, we wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.


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