Holidays are typically a time for friends, family, fun, and lots of food. Many seniors in assisted living facilities often have few opportunities for the kind of fellowship holidays typically represent. This Halloween, try some of these ideas for seniors you know in assisted living facilities.
Fun Ways to Interact with Seniors for Halloween
Often all seniors need is human interaction. We take it for granted every day and sometimes may wish we had a little less of it, but you are guaranteed to make their day with just a little personal attention. Keep that in mind as you plan your Halloween activities for seniors in assisted living using these ideas as a springboard.
- Decorate jack-o-lanterns. It may not be feasible for some seniors to carve pumpkins with knives, but they will enjoy painting or decorating them. Take time to recognize and showcase their creations around the facility grounds. Interact with them as they decorate, giving them positive feedback and encouragement.
- Have a Halloween Costume Parade/Contest. What a way to provide individual attention as you react to each senior’s costume. Those who are able will love to parade around the facility showing off their attire, even if they are assisted in a wheelchair. You may also be able to help them pick a costume and dress themselves for the event. You could consider voting for best costume, or come up with some different awards to give such as, “Scariest”, “Most Creative”, “Silliest”, etc, and make sure everyone gets one.
- Play Halloween Bingo. You can never go wrong with a game of bingo for seniors. Decorate the bingo cards with Halloween items such as cobwebs, jack-o-lanterns, and bats. Have Halloween prizes and make sure to interact with each one individually.
- Play Board Games. Make a set list of classic fun Halloween songs such as “Monster Mash” and mix other songs in. Serve Halloween-themed food, and have some classic board games available such as Yahtzee, Scrabble, Chess, Clue, Cards, Dominoes, etc. As they play, focus on engaging each of them in conversation, encouragement, etc.
- Conduct a Scavenger Hunt. Hide different items around the facility and provide clues to lead them through and discover the hidden treasure. Make sure to have enough people to help and to interact with each of them throughout the event. Praise and encouragement are huge, but so is a simple conversation.
Remember to Have Fun
The best thing you can do no matter what events you plan is to be intentional about interacting with each person individually. Engage them in conversation, but listen more than you talk. Try to get their families involved as much as possible as well. You may be able to provide them a moment of fun and recreation in the middle of the work and stress of long-term care planning. And don’t forget to have fun! If you are having fun, they will have fun.