Winter Activities For The Elderly

by Ann
(Iowa)

We developed a few nice winter activities for the elderly based around a faux fireplace! (And it was a donation). We actually got the idea from visiting another campus who had one. Then came up with some ideas.

We were so impressed with the "fake" electric fireplace that we saw at another facility that we made a point of fund raising for it with staff, and a business in town really pitched in. It has a wooden mantle and is constructed just like a real fireplace. We put it near our lobby and dining area where residents like to meet and chat.

We also pulled up several chairs, including 2 rocking chairs, along with a couple side tables with books and magazines. An old fashioned rag rug was put in front of the fireplace. And last but not least, one of those sleeping pet cats in a cat bed that are battery operated so it looks like it's breathing. It was all a really big hit. People gather in this spot continually, and visitors love it.

During the holiday season we decorate the mantle just like one would in a home. People actually bring out some of their own decorations to share there. We got some of the tall battery-operated candles for the mantle top also. And We put a small artificial tree in the corner next to the fireplace, and some wrapped "gifts" for under the tree. It looks fantastic.

So we created some winter activities for the elderly in our building around the fireplace. We have bible readings, a book club, a song fest where someone brings a guitar, sing-alongs to CD music also, and various games. We also wheel over a coffee and tea cart. We do have to re-configure the seating when we have larger groups. Some folks have used it for little parties when they have visitors. We keep a chart to show when it is being used for particular groups. The receptionist at the desk nearby also helps keep track of it. But we try to keep reserving it to a minimum so that all can enjoy the area most of the time.

One of the nice things about it is since it is electric and portable, we can move it to another area that's larger if we want to. And no matter what the season, it makes our place look homey and friendly, even when the "fire" is not in use. And it's a good excuse to get people involved in decorating the area for holidays throughout the year. They come up with some really good ideas, including craft projects to make for when we decorate.

It's been a great way to have additional winter activities at our campus.

EDITOR'S NOTE: -- Thanks very much for this idea! Readers can also see more winter ideas on this page: Winter Holiday Activities For Seniors.

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