Written by Active Minds on Tuesday the 10th of December 2019.
The festive period is all about spending time together and taking part in a variety of fun activities. For those living in care homes over Christmas time it may feel like they are removed from the festivities and may not enjoy the season as much as they should. It’s important for those living in care homes to still feel included in Christmas, whether that is taking part in care home activities with carers or with visiting family members. We have included ten amazing festive care home activities which can be excellent for those living in care homes below.
1. Decorating Stockings
Decorating stockings can be a fun care home activity for all, especially for those living with dementia. Why not buy a stocking along with lots of arts and crafts items such as pipe cleaners, pompoms and glitter and have a go at decorating the stockings together? These can then be used to put gifts in at Christmas.
The tactile nature of the activity, along with the creative aspect makes this a really relaxing and fun activity for someone living with dementia and can be suitable for those at varying stages of the dementia journey.
2.Decorate the Care Home
Decorating the care home and putting up the Christmas tree is a great Christmas tradition to have and it can be a fantastic way to get everyone involved in different care home activities. For some this can be making the decorations whilst others hang them; it’s important to ensure that these are done under supervision and are suitable for the persons physical abilities.
3.Sing Holiday Songs
Singing holiday songs and carols is a great way to spread the festive cheer and an opportunity to socialise; why not put on or host a show where the residents sing holiday songs with a local choir or singing group; they could even put on a show for family and friends.
Familiar Christmas songs can also be excellent for aiding in reminiscence and encouraging socialisation, whilst evoking positive emotions.
4.Play Board Games
Playing board games is a brilliant festive tradition for many families, especially those from an older generation. Gathering round and playing a board game or perhaps even completing a jigsaw together may be the perfect thing to spark memories in those living with dementia and can be highly relaxing. There are plenty of care home activities and games which are tailored to different ability levels and can be played in a group or individually.
5.Festive Arts and Crafts
We’ve already mentioned a few different ways to include arts and crafts in festive care home activities, but there are so many different creative activities for someone living with dementia to get involved in. From making decorations to hang, to making a wreath or perhaps painting or colouring in a festive scene.
A pomander is a piece of fruit, usually an orange, studded with cloves. Traditionally they are used to perfume wardrobes or drawers, but at Christmas time they can make great decorations with the bonus of smelling festive! They are super easy to make as all you need to do is stud an orange with cloves; they can be decorative with different patterns or perhaps made using different fruits. Making pomanders is a great sensory, yet simple care home activity, for the festive season.
7.Watch Classic Festive Films
Watching films can be a great way to not only relax but also spark conversation. Choosing classic films to watch in the care home over the Christmas period will help to spark memories and encourage conversations. Why not bring the residents together for a film watching afternoon, and ask the residents gentle questions surrounding the film to spark further memories of the time?
If you’re looking to get outside this Christmas, going on a winter walk can be a great idea. Make sure everyone is wrapped up warm enough and that the ground isn’t icy as this will cause slip hazards. The fresh air and Christmas feeling outdoors will help improve mood and boost wellbeing.
The festive period is a great time to encourage reminiscence as there is so much going on which can help spark memories; whether that be the smell of favourite foods, hearing traditional songs or watching a favourite film. Try encouraging conversations surrounding Christmas’ of the past by asking questions about favourite traditions to help bring back those memories.
10.Make a Gingerbread House
This is another amazing care home activity which is great for those living with dementia as it can be adapted for varying ability levels. For those who enjoy baking and still like to bake, perhaps involve them in baking process of the gingerbread; the kneading and stirring actions can be highly relaxing for someone living with dementia. Others however may be more suited to decorating or helping to build the house. For those with dexterity challenges, simply being involved and talking with those who are decorating can help them feel included. Plus, the eating can be an excellent activity for all.