Spreading joy to nursing home residents

5 Tips for Spreading Joy to Nursing Home Residents During the Holidays

The holidays are meant to be a time of happiness and high spirits, and for many of us, they are. But we oftentimes take for granted the love and festivities that we experience come December. For residents in a nursing home, finding that joy and festive spirit can be a lot harder. They are more cut off from the world and not living with family anymore can make the holidays an especially dreary time. But you don’t need to be family to help.

Here are some ideas to help you to spread joy around your local nursing home and nursing homes across the country:

Contact Your Local Nursing Home

It can be hard to come up with an effective idea to help brighten up nursing home resident’s days by yourself. For that reason, it is a good idea to get in contact with the faculty at your local nursing home. They can tell you what is really effective at boosting spirits and give you ideas that are not only allowed but needed. Maybe it is collecting some small gifts for everyone. Maybe it is just coming over to help out and spend time with the residents. If what will spread joy is something such as a performance,  see if you can organize a group of kids to put on a play or sing Christmas carols. You can even try to organize a field trip to a local production of a holiday performance.

Gift Campaigns

See if your community does a charity organization tailored for the seniors living in the area. They may be put on at churches, town halls, or rec centers and often the gift ideas they provide are tailored to a specific individual. Pick up a personalized list and compile a collection of items that will help to brighten up someone’s day. If your community does not participate in a charity, there are dozens of online communities that help to deliver gifts to seniors nationwide such as Mercy Housing or Project Just Because.

Throw a Party

Whether it is a celebration with music and food, a holiday movie night, or a card decorating get together, a party is a great way to lift everyone’s spirits. Contact your local nursing home to see what is allowed and when the best time would be and start organizing. Maybe you can put on an organic cookie making and decorating party or create a festive music playlist and buffet style meal. Holiday card decorating is a great way to bring everyone together. It is also a good chance to make their loved ones happy. You can do something as simple as making a small collection of holiday movies and have a showing. This will allow everyone to just spend time with one another and get into the holiday mood. If possible invite the residents family to anyone of these events and make sure that everyone knows about it. While a party itself will help to boost spirits, it is guaranteed that a visit from family will boost them even more.

Bring in a Gift

It doesn’t have to be big. In fact, it’s better that it isn’t. Oftentimes the most simple things will make people the happiest during the holidays. Buy a collection of lotions or gloves and hand them out around your nursing home. Put together a large collection of fresh fruit to bring some color and sweetness to their palette. Even just a collection of personalized holiday cards are enough to bring a smile to someone’s face. Work together with some of the faculty to make a collection of cards for each of the residents. The size of your gift doesn’t matter. All that matters is that the residents feel remembered and just a little bit happier when they receive them.

Make a New Friend

Nothing you do has to be tangible. Talking is one of the best gifts you can give anyone around the holidays. Start coming by once or twice a week and make friends with the seniors living there. Spend an hour or two talking to them and really engage in what they’re saying. You may come to value them as much as you value any one of your friends and it is likely that they will feel the same about you.

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