How to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Assisted LivingHow to Celebrate New Year's Eve in Assisted Living

Holidays in assisted living can be hard for some residents – if they had their own traditions and preferences for how to spend New Year’s Eve before moving in, they may find having to spend the holiday in their assisted living home to be a letdown. While you can’t supply them with the sort of carefree (and probably booze-filled) celebration they enjoyed in their youth, you can work to make the day a celebration for everyone in your community.

Here are a few ways to make New Year’s Eve more special for your residents this year.

1. Decorate.

Since your residents are spending every day in the same space you’ll be having your celebration, it’s important to do something to visually differentiate the space. You don’t want it to feel like just one more night in the facility.

Buy some sparkly streamers, party hats, table settings and anything else that sets up the space to feel more like a special celebration. You can also enlist the residents that enjoy crafts to help you make some DIY decorations to contribute to the space. Some paint, glitter, and colored paper can go a long way to changing your usual lobby or recreational area into a special celebratory New Year’s Eve space.

2. Have lots of good food.

You probably have some dietary requirements you have to stay on top of among your residents, but try to find some recipes and snacks that fall outside of what residents are usually served at your community. Ask residents to provide recommendations based on some of their favorite traditional recipes for New Year’s Eve and see if any of their families want to get in on the fun and contribute a dish to the party.  

3. Host a story time for residents to share experiences from the past year, and other favorite years from their past.

Most of your residents have lived long lives and have some memorable experiences to share. Start by asking residents to think back on the past year and anything fun, interesting, or strange that happened they’d like to share. Then open up the discussion to favorite memories and stories from past New Year’s celebrations and favorite years from their past.

4. Plan some games for residents to enjoy.

Have some board games and group activities prepared for people to take part in. You want something to keep the night fun and keep everyone engaged for as long as they’re awake and participating.

5. Do the countdown together.

There’s a pretty good chance that you’ll lose some of your partygoers before midnight, but for anyone still awake, do the countdown together when the time comes. Have some sparkling grape juice or ginger ale for everyone to toast to ring in the New Year.

Your assisted living New Year’s Eve party might not be like their celebrations of old, but it can still be a good time and a special night for your residents. They’ve made it to see another year and deserve the celebration that merits.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based copywriter and lifelong student with an ongoing curiousity to learn and explore new things. She turns that interest to researching and exploring subjects helpful to seniors and their families for


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