Get an idea - retirement home and assisted living communities

  

When you’re thinking of ideas for your event or activity, obviously you will need to consider various factors such as possible physical or cognitive limitations.

You might have to adapt or personalise an activity for different abilities or preferences. Think about how to get as many residents involved as possible within their comfort zones.

  • Host a game of bingo in aid of a local rescue centre. You could include a round using animal pictures or textures instead of numbers.
  • Some residents might miss having an animal around. Why not invite their family and friends to visit with their own friendly dogs? Some centres allow staff to bring their dogs to work.
  • Organise an art session based on animals – residents probably enjoy painting and drawing, but you could also try something a little different like sculpture or decoupage. The results could be displayed at reception and possibly auctioned off to visitors.
  • Make or buy some blank greetings cards, with envelopes to fit. Ask residents to create Christmas cards to sell in aid of an animal welfare organisation - perhaps a charity with a local shop that could sell the cards? The cards could be on sale from October until December. Your residents don't need to be great artists - the unique, and possibly abstract, style of their work will add charm.
  • Buy some jigsaw puzzles with an animal theme, with various numbers of pieces so that they have a choice – check in charity shops rather than buying new ones.
  • As an alternative, you could provide blank jigsaw puzzles and ask residents to decorate them with animals, covering every part of the puzzle. These puzzles can then be swapped with other residents, or used to entertain grandchildren when they visit.
  • Organise a singalong of songs with an animal in the title, including…
    • Running Bear by Johnny Preston
    • The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens
    • A Horse With No Name by America
    • Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell
    • Hound Dog by Elvis Presley
    • Pony Time by Chubby Checker (there's a dance that goes with this one, but it's quite energetic!)
  • These songs could be alternated with more general songs. Alternatively, some retirement homes invite classes of school children or youth groups to socialise with the residents. If this is the case with your facility, ask a childcare provider to bring their class for a singalong with child-friendly songs and nursery rhymes about animals. These could include…
    • Never Smile at a Crocodile
    • Five Little Speckled Frogs
    • Alice the Camel
    • Talk to the Animals (Dr. Dolittle)
    • Nellie the Elephant
    • I Wan’na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)
    • Mary had a Little Lamb
    • Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • The singalong could be combined with other activities to create a World Animal Day party!
  • Bake some cookies or cupcakes and ask residents to decorate them with an animal theme.
  • Arrange an old-fashioned tea dance and sell the above cookies and cakes in aid of animals. Perhaps you could invite residents from another local retirement home, or one of your other branches, so that there are some new faces to mingle with.
  • Prepare an ‘animal trail’ around your facility. Base clues on various animals and locations around the building, with each clue leading to the next. For residents less able to read clues due to restricted vision etc., you could have printed or textured animal footprints leading to the next clue.
  • Write the names of animals on small pieces of card (or you could use pictures). Stick a card on each person’s back. They should then ask the rest of the group ‘yes or no’ questions until they guess the animal on their back. Questions could include…
    • ‘Am I wild?’
    • ‘Do I live in a house?’
    • ‘Do I have stripes?’
    • ‘Do I have four legs?’ etc.
  • Go on a short nature walk around the grounds, identifying insects, birds etc. To make it more interesting, ask participants to take photos with cameras or phones, then hold a photography contest.
  • If you don’t have one already, set up a bird-feeding station. Invest in some binoculars and a bird-watching book so that residents can watch and identify any feathered visitors to the garden.
  • Dedicate a corner of your grounds to wildlife. Some of your more active residents might be keen gardeners and would be happy to help! Some ideas to get you started...
    • Leave the grass long
    • Fill a border with flowering shrubs and plants
    • Add some climbing plants, such as ivy or clematis
    • Plant some flowers and don’t worry about weeds… buttercups and daisies might usually be unwanted but they look beautiful and insects love them!
    • Provide cover from bad weather and predators
    • Add a bird box on a post, tree or fence, high up and sheltered
    • Don’t forget the insects! They’d appreciate some rocks, rotting wood and twigs
    • If you have room, a small pond would be a wonderful addition to the area! You’ll find instructions on the best way to do this online
    • Make some gaps at the bottom of your fences to allow hedgehogs and frogs access to the area
    • Add small water receptacles, especially in hot climates. Fill them on a regular basis if you haven’t had much rain
  • Some animal welfare organisations produce films highlighting the plight of animals in various situations. Many of them are happy to share their work. Show a film, then encourage a discussion afterwards. If you think these films might be too distressing for your residents, invite an expert to give a presentation about their work in animal welfare, and follow it with ‘question time’. Not all residents will want to ask questions, but they might enjoy hearing the answers to others’ queries.
  • Find a book with a positive animal theme, and read it to your residents during the week of October 4, ending with a discussion on the actual day. You could also borrow some extra books from the local library, for residents to browse through at their leisure.
  • If anyone enjoys croquet, knitting or quiltmaking, ask them to create blankets for a local rescue centre. Check with the shelter first regarding their needs and specifications. Ask the manager to provide a short ‘thank you’ note to pass on to participants.
  • Ask all of your colleagues and residents to sign the World Animal Day pledge board and make a personal promise for the animals! For residents without internet access, add a pledge area to your notice board and then upload them to the website on their behalf. Pledge forms are available on the Resources page if you would like to display them.
  • Also see: ‘Other ways to participate in World Animal Day’ – if you’re online, there are several quick ideas for spreading awareness via social media.

If you have any other ideas, please let us know and we’ll consider including them on this page! Just email info@worldanimalday.org.uk with your suggestions!

Decided on your event already? Before you can add it to the website, you’ll need to sign up – it only takes a few minutes!