November is the month to be thankful. Really we should be thankful all year round, but because thanksgiving is in November it gets more emphasis. It also marks the beginning of the holiday season. For facilities that provide care for the elderly and adults this time of year can get a little busy.
If you are looking for an easy and fun activity to do, we recommend trying out a Thankful Tree. This activity not only is a great experience for residents, it is also great for staff to learn a little more about each resident. As an added side benefit you can use this to showcase your facility. Let’s see how.
How to do it
First, think about where you want to put it and what size you want it to be. You are going to want to create the “tree” by cutting out the trunk and branches. You’ll want to draw it out first. Do your best to make it look like a tree with branches. Have staff, or if residents are able, cut out the tree. Now, go and put it up where you decided.
Next, you need to cut out some leaves. We recommend using some sort of template or you can draw them freehand too. It’s not important that they are perfect but rather that they look like a leaf the best you can. We recommend using different colors of paper. This will make your thankful tree colorful and beautiful when it’s done.
Each leaf is going to represent what someone is thankful for. You and your staff can participate as well. Now, this can be done all in one sitting or it can be drawn out over the entire month of November. The choice is yours. Each person is going to take a leaf and write on it what they are thankful for. The possibilities are endless.
After the leaf or leaves are filled out, you place them on the tree that you’ve created. Again if you are doing this all in one shot then you’ll have a beautiful tree filled with leaves. If you decide to do this activity over the month of November then your tree will slowly be growing and getting more and more beautiful by the day. If you do this daily in November you could do it during breakfast, lunch, or dinner. While everyone is gathered around each person could take a leaf, write what they are thankful for and then talk about it with the group. You could also have a specific color for each resident. This way families who visit can easily see what mom or dad wrote.
Showcase your facility.
We recommend putting your Thankful Tree in a prominent place in the facility. If you have space for it, a wall where families, medical professionals, and guests enter would be the most ideal. When they first walk in they will be able to see what the residents have written. Some of the leaves will be touching to families members, others will make them laugh. It will a great conversation starter.
When you have tours, this will be the first thing they see. Not only will they see a great activity, but it will also show them that your facility does activities with their loved ones. You make a great first impression as soon as they walk in the door. If the entryway is not the ideal location, look for another spot in the facility that makes sense. It could be in the kitchen, dining room, living room, or activities room. What matters is that it can be seen and shared.
Talking about sharing, this is a great activity that can be shared on social media. First, make sure you have already received written permission from the family or power of attorney, but if you already have that share away. You could share this in a single post or you could use this as an opportunity to share multiple posts throughout the month.
Depending on the size of your facility, you could create posts that highlight each resident and what they are grateful for. Families who do not live close, or who do not visit as often as they would like, will enjoy seeing these posts and will have fun sharing them with their friends and family, not to mention that they will feel peace of mind knowing that mom or dad is having a great time.
What are some of the other great activities that you have heard of or done in your facilities during the month of November? Please share in the comments below.
If you felt this was helpful in any way. Please feel free to share and or tag other facilities.