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Celebrating the Holidays

By Heather Brown
December 23, 2016

The Christmas holiday is a time for family, giving, and celebration. Some residents find it difficult to embrace the holiday season in an adult residential care home. One recent study found that more than half of residents spend the holiday in the adult residential care home instead of at home with family. Administrators and staff can help residents reclaim their holiday spirit by creating a festive and entertaining environment.


  1. Decorate. Get residents thinking about Christmas by hanging lights and decorating a Christmas tree for the adult residential care home. Trees and lights are the two main decorations that most residents can connect with. Include residents in the decorating process by asking where to hang lights and having them put the ornaments on the tree.
  2. Make a special menu. Plan a special menu for the residents that include their favorite family recipes. Preparing a meal residents will look forward to helps create excitement and minimize sadness or depression.
  3. Plan events. Make the holiday season memorable by planning various activities and events around the Holiday theme. Organize a Secret Santa event where residents can make presents for one another. Host a tree decorating party where residents can make ornaments, garland, and paper chains to display. Or schedule a share and tell night where residents can share their favorite Christmas memories and wishes.
  4. Invite families in to visit. Have the residents send special invitations to family and friends to come and visit for an event or on the holiday. Visits from loved ones make the time in an adult residential care home more enjoyable for residents.
  5. Invite local schools or organizations to perform. Schedule performances for the residents to enjoy by contacting schools and performing arts group. Concerts, plays, and dance recitals are all enjoyable events for residents to watch during the Season.


  1. Clutter the hallways. Decorations are nice but it is critical you keep in mind how the residents navigate halls, rooms, and entry ways. Take measurements to assure there is enough room for walkers and wheelchair residents to move freely without harm.
  2. Forget other holidays. Make sure you help all of your residents celebrate important Holidays like Hanukkah. Educate residents on various holidays, traditions, and celebrations to increase community engagement and conversations.
  3. Ignore diet restrictions. Account for individuals with special diet restrictions during your planning this season. Have alternative options for diabetics or low-cholesterol diet residents so they can still participate.
  4. Force participation. You cannot force your residents to participate in the festivities. Invite residents and if certain individuals are resistive, don’t push. You can take the time to speak with them privately later on. They might just need a few words of encouragement or time to see others participating before they join in the fun.

Help the residents find comfort with spending the holidays in an adult residential care home. Create a festive and high-spirited environment to lift their spirits and make them smile this year.

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