As Autumn arrives, it can be all too easy to lament the end of summer and its warm weather and holiday vibe. However, there is plenty to enjoy over the coming weeks, as the leaves turn gold, harvest festival arrives and thoughts start to turn towards Halloween fun and making a start on Christmas preparations.
Autumn offers a great deal of inspiration when it comes to planning events, activities and entertainments for care home residents. From the vibrant colours of nature to the spooky fun of Hallowe’en, there is a lot going on during this most atmospheric of seasons. Here are six ideas to celebrate the most colourful season of all over the coming weeks.
Autumnal arts and crafts
The vibrant colours of Autumn can inspire several different types of arts and crafts that residents can enjoy in the comfort of their own care home. Painting pumpkins, pressing leaves, sitting by the window to draw or paint the trees or garden outside are all excellent options around the theme of nature. Other autumn arts and crafts could involve making models or collages out of pine cones, twigs, acorns, seed heads etc. Or set up a sewing (knitting, crochet etc…) circle to make or decorate some warm mittens or a lap blanket to keep out the chill, come winter.
Autumn means lots of warming soups, stews and spiced cakes and biscuits to help keep out the cold. Choose some simple recipes that your residents can enjoy making together and spend an afternoon whipping up something delicious for afternoon tea or supper. If this does not appeal, or might be too difficult for some residents to join in with, try decorating biscuits, making fruit or vegetable smoothies or planning and designing paper menus for future autumn mealtimes.
The end of October is when everything turns spooky and sinister as Hallowe’en takes over. Plenty can be done to mark this fun time of year. Carve or paint pumpkins and add candles (real or battery-operated) to add atmosphere to the home. Other ideas could be making decorations, creating Halloween music playlists, playing themed games and watching horror films with popcorn or snacks. Or taking turn to tell or read ghost stories!
Planning an autumnal walk needn’t involve a hearty hike out into the countryside. Encourage residents to warp up warm and stroll around the garden to look for signs of Autumn in the grounds. These could include changing colours in the leaves of trees or shrubs, fungi hidden in the undergrowth and berries and nuts in the hedges. Try to see which birds you can spot – or identify through their song. If residents do not wish to walk, or the weather is too inclement, other ideas to incorporate autumnal wildlife into your activities could include watching nature TV programmes together or invite a local wildlife expert to come and talk to you about the local flora and fauna.
Use the sights, sounds and fragrances of Autumn to set the tone for a seasonal creative writing session. Encourage people to express their thoughts on paper, or using a computer or tablet. Find examples of autumnal poems, short stories, paintings etc. to help provide some ideas and styles to copy or adapt. You could compile the work afterwards into a book to leave at reception for visitors to the care home to read and enjoy. Or use short excerpts, placed alongside residents’ artwork or photographs, to design and print your own calendar. You could then sell copies of the calendar, just in time for Christmas, to raise funds for the care home to spend on activities in 2023.
Preparing for Christmas
Finally, Christmas is not all that far away now. Spend some time helping your residents get ready for the giving season by holding craft sessions to make gifts, decorations or cards. You could make a start on the Christmas baking too by making fruit cakes, mincemeat and other food items that can be prepared ahead of time. Other ideas include practising making festive floral arrangements, planning a Christmas party or concert or even simply reminiscing over Christmases gone by with a cup of tea and mince pie.