Leaves are changing and the temperature is dropping. Autumn is in full swing!
And with the change of season comes a host of new autumn activities for care homes that can lift the spirits of their residents.
Since you and your care home residents will start to feel stuck indoors more and more as the temperature drops, (and you may even feel the effects of seasonal affective disorder) here are a few (mostly) indoor autumn activities to keep your residents entertained and in high spirits.
Autumn being one of the more sensorially stimulating of the seasons, there are many ways to make regular activities autumn themed by adding seasonal tastes, smells, sounds and imagery.
1. Pumpkin painting
Painting can be one of the most relaxing and creatively stimulating activities to do with your elderly patients.
A fun way to put an autumnal twist on this activity is to paint on pumpkins or gourds. Residents can paint patterns on the pumpkins or even halloween themed faces.
Painting is a much safer and easier alternative to pumpkin carving, which can be quite hazardous especially if your residents are not so steady of hand.
So pumpkin painting is a perfect way to bring this autumn tradition into the care home.
2. Pressing leaves and flowers
As leaves change colour and fall to the ground, we’ve all have the urge to collect the most colourful ones and take them home with us. This can be one of the easier autumn activities to do in a care home, given that it has access to a garden or other natural areas.
Simply collect some leaves for your residents or take them out to collect their own if they are able to do so. Then gather some books from around the care home (the heavier the better) and press each leaf between the pages of the books.
In about a week or two the leaves should be dried and perfectly flattened.T
hey are now ready to be used as arts and crafts materials (glued into collages for example) or simply admired for their beauty.
3. Leaf rubbing art project
Speaking of leaf based autumn activities, making leaf rubbings is an easy and fun activity for care homes residents.
We all remember this as one of the autumn activities from our childhoods. It’s simple, fun and always gives good results even if your hands are a little shaky. Simply collect a few freshly fallen leaves (ones that are dried out will break up under pressure) with a rough texture for best results.
Then, using simple printer paper and pencil crayons or wax crayons, have the residents lay the paper over the leaves and gently run the crayons over the paper.
Having a light hand is key so that you can see the texture of the leaves come through on the paper.
This is a fool proof craft and an easy way to make autumn themed art to decorate the halls of your care home and entertain your patients.
4. Autumn themed puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles are proven to be a beneficial activity for the mind and for dementia patients in particular.
And so doing an autumn themed puzzle is a very basic way to bring the autumn theme into your care home while offering your residents a beneficial brain exercise as puzzles are proven stimulate the brain and are a great activity for ageing patients.
All you have to do is find a simple puzzle of a colourful autumn scene with a relatively small amount of pieces (depending on the level you think is appropriate for your residents).
Autumn landscapes are a very popular subject for puzzles so you should have no trouble finding one.
After completing the puzzle you can enjoy the scene and restart, or glue it down to a cardboard backing and hang it on the wall.
5. Blindfolded sensory challenge
This is one of the more complicated autumn activities to put together but it can be very fun to do if you have the time and resources to organise it.
What you need is some blindfolds (sleeping masks work well) and some samples of autumn themed foods and scents for a blind taste and smell challenge.
Some examples of smells would be cinnamon sticks, dry leaves, and firewood. And some examples of tastes would be maple syrup, apple pie, and pumpkin pie.
Although this activity is a bit more work to put together, it is a very engaging and stimulating way for the residents to test their senses and reignite their own fond memories of Autumn.
6. Bird song guessing game
Another sensory autumn activity you can do with your residents is to make a bird sound quiz game. Simply look up local bird calls on Youtube and play them for your residents.
Have them guess the bird that each song belongs to.
You may want to offer a list of the birds (or even pictures) for the residents to choose from to make the game a bit easier.
Unless the residents are avid bird watchers this will most likely be a guessing game, but if you play this game multiple times it can act as a memory exercise too!
Get creative this autumn!
As you can see, there are plenty of autumn activities for care homes when you’re finding yourself and your residents indoors more, so there’s no need to feel cooped up.
Get creative and keep morale up in the colder months by adding autumn themes to ordinary activities to make them special and fun for your residents.