5 Ways to Celebrate the Winter Holidays in Your Senior Living Community

Winter is upon us and it’s a great time to incorporate some seasonal festivities into your activity calendar.

While the holidays usually bring positivity and cheer, it may be a particularly hard time for some of your residents. Especially with changing COVID-19 regulations, your residents may be looking for creative and safe ways to celebrate this month.

Give residents the opportunity to reconnect with their faith, friends, and loved ones this season. Here are five holiday activities for older adults to host in-person or virtually.

1. Help Residents Connect Through Faith This Winter

This time of year can be busy and overwhelming. Provide opportunities for your residents to connect or reconnect with their faith.

Host in-person or virtual services for the winter holidays your residents celebrate. If possible, bring in religious leaders to lead prayer services or reflection groups. Although Hanukkah fell early this year, it’s not too late to organize celebrations for other winter holidays. 

  • For Christmas, host a traditional dinner for residents to share. Stream a Christmas Eve mass, exchange gifts, and play Christmas-themed games.
  • To celebrate Kwanzaa, prepare a meal complete with jerk chicken or cajun catfish. Light the candles each night, discuss the seven principles, and stream musical events to bring the celebration to life.

Religious or not, your residents may enjoy celebrating the Winter Solstice on December 21. You can plan a special menu for residents to share, create a warm ambiance, and set intentions for the new season. For many, marking the day with the fewest hours of sunlight provides a needed reminder that brighter days are ahead.

2. Decorate Your Community for the Holidays Together

Decorating for the holidays is a beloved wintertime tradition. Your residents may be spending a bit more time indoors, so a festive space helps create an extra cheerful atmosphere.

Include your residents and throw a decorating party to prepare your senior living community for the holidays. If residents have decorated their own rooms, consider hosting an in-person or virtual tour so residents can show off their festive spaces.

Make sure to include decorations for all celebrations, including seasonal decorations that can be hung all winter long. No matter the religious belief of your residents, string lights and fresh pine add warmth to any communal or living space.

3. Include Winter and Holiday-Themed Games in Your Senior Living Programming

While reconnecting with the meaning behind each winter celebration is important, it’s a great time to have fun with your residents. Organize holiday activities for older adults to enjoy all season long.

Plan seasonal festivities like…

  • Winter bingo.
  • Ornament decorating.
  • Holiday trivia.
  • Wreath assembly (paper or evergreen).

You could also create a bulletin board with residents’ holiday memories and traditions. Residents can share their favorite things about the season and bond over family recipes or shared stories.

4. Brings Your Community Together Through Holiday Card and Gift Exchanges

The winter season is the perfect time to remind those you care about how much they mean to you, and there are many ways to do this:

  • Organize a gift swap for your residents, perhaps following a crafting activity series.
  • Set up a series of craft tables where residents can create homemade holiday cards for family and friends.
  • Throw a holiday card exchange to give residents a chance to spread kindness and build community.

If gathering in-person is off the table, encourage your residents to send e-cards. They’re a meaningful yet simple way for residents to spread holiday cheer to those they care about without having to leave the safety of their rooms. All you need to do is bring around tablets and walk them through the process.

However makes the most sense this year, encourage your residents to send a thoughtful message to their friends and families. You may even want to create an online platform for residents to share their appreciation for their neighbors and care staff, like Caremerge Community Engagement.

5. Ring in the New Year Looking Forward to the Future

The pandemic has been especially hard on older adults, so the New Year is an opportune time to reflect and reset.

Organize reflection groups for your residents to discuss goals or hobbies they’d like to take up in the next year. This way you can gauge what activities your residents enjoy and what they are looking forward to.

It’s also a great time for residents to hear from their loved ones outside of your community. Ask residents’ friends and families to send a picture or message wishing them well in the New Year, via Family Engagement.

Brighten This Winter for Your Residents with Holiday Programming

Especially during this time of year, it’s a good idea to create extra opportunities for genuine connection in your senior living community. Holiday activities for older adults are a sure way to jazz up your residents’ activity calendar this month and keep them engaged as the days shorten.

Caremerge senior living technology solutions help you plan activities, track attendance, and communicate with residents’ families. To learn more,

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