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How Can I Spread Holiday Joy in a Nursing Home During Xmas?

5599 Askcrh DEC

Dear Crossroads,

I work in a nursing home. As you might expect, the past couple of years have been tremendously difficult for many of our residents – with the challenges of the pandemic and being isolated from their families. 

The last holiday season was especially difficult, being the first year in many of their long lives that their annual traditions changed. But this year, with better preparation and the vast majority of our residents vaccinated, I’m really hoping that we can make this time of year special again for them.

So with that in mind, I ask: What are some ways that we can celebrate the holidays in a nursing home and bring back the holiday cheer in 2021? Can Crossroads help in any way?

Thanks for your help,
Searching for Joy 


Dear Searching for Joy,

Thanks for reaching out. The past two years have been difficult for many nursing home residents and their families. Many folks went from having their family come visit every week in person to having to visit with them on phone screens. It’s impacted everyone’s well being differently and I know it’s been hard for many of our nurses, aides, and volunteers, too.

Luckily, the holidays can be a great time to boost everyone’s spirits with some simple activities.

One activity I have found helpful during my time as a volunteer manager with Crossroads is craft night. It’s an activity that most residents can do, and the finished result is something they can bring back to their room and be proud of. If the nursing home resident has people visiting them this holiday season, they can give the craft away as a gift.

This time of year, ornaments can be a great option to craft. You can paint them or decorate them with beads and sequins. Another benefit is that crafting can be very calming. It gives folks something to do with their hands and can help with dexterity. Plus, it’s a great way to spend the afternoon and be a part of a group activity. The best part is that when the residents are done, they will be able to say, “I made this.”

One other activity that nursing home residents love this time of year is holiday-themed bingo, which we didn’t get to play much last year. All of the bingo prizes can be holiday themed and wrapped in wrapping paper. You could also play a holiday-themed game show, like Jeopardy. Anything that is different from their day to day, the residents will love. Something that our hospice teams and volunteers at Crossroads often get a kick out of during the holidays is dressing up like Santa and visiting with our patients!

If your facility doesn’t have the extra means to host these activities, give us a call! Crossroads’ volunteer program will be happy to partner with your facility. Together we can host any kind of holiday party. In the past, we’ve hosted hot chocolate bars and cookie decorating nights. We’ll work with your nurses and aides to follow dietary restrictions and guidelines that will keep everyone safe and engaged.

Our team members love going to these annual parties and participating in whatever you have planned. Even if that means sitting and talking with your residents, we are here for you and your facility. During the holiday season, we want to make sure your residents feel loved and taken care of. 

A few years ago, I remember taking part in a craft night where the patients were making things for their families. We had a couple different things they could make. One resident was so excited because they hadn’t been able to celebrate Christmas with their family because they didn’t have any money. But they were able to make this craft for their family. It really touched them and they were excited to give something to their loved ones and say, “I made this for you. Here’s your Christmas present!” 

Whatever your team decides to do, sometimes it’s the simplest things that can help make the holiday season one to remember.

In good cheer,

Olivia Courtney
Volunteer Manager

For more senior hospice care resources, give us a call at 888-564-3405.


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