Festive Autumn Activities for Your Seniors

Fall is here, and it provides a great opportunity to offer your residents engaging activities for the changing season. During this challenging time, with a little creativity and adaptation for current health concerns, these ideas can help inspire and entertain your seniors.

For the American, fall is a special season. Harvest for starters, then comes football, tailgating and buffalo wings. It gets better as the season progresses.

Halloween and Thanksgiving are holidays that make the season even more American.

Fall represents so many great things in this country, and our seniors in residential assisted living know it quite well.

Seniors can still celebrate the autumn season in style, during their golden years. Here are some engaging and fun activities for celebrating autumn.


1. Enjoy Fall-Themed Coloring Pages

It’s not just for kids. Everyone loves to color. There is just something about bringing illumination to a blank page that brings out the creativity in each of us.

Coloring is ageless therefore let’s enjoy it with our seniors. There’s an additional benefit. Coloring has the added benefit of being a stress reliever. Maybe everyone needs to get a box of crayons and some paper. According to psychologists, coloring has benefits similar to meditating.

In case a trip to the local craft store is not possible, the internet sheds the fall coloring love abroad. Download a few sheets and everyone can color together.

2. Make Decorations

Fall has a way of making each of us interior designers. Maybe not really good ones, but we take a fair run at it.

Making fun festive decorations to commemorate the season is a great way to improve mood in any setting. A residential assisted living home is the perfect setting for these designs. Imagine a Funny Flag waving outside, adding a touch of humor and charm to the autumn atmosphere.

Be sure to include the very fine coloring artwork of your seniors. It needs to be on display for all to appreciate, but you might want to bolster the environment with a few DIY items:

  • Fall leaf garland brings some gorgeous autumn color inside with unique leaf templates or simply go outside to collect fallen leaves
  • Clove-studded orange pomander create a delicious smell and beautiful appearance
  • Ribboned pumpkins can transform your residential assisted living home with lovely décor

3. Work on A Fall-Themed Jigsaw Puzzle

When it’s cool outside, there is nothing like a cup of warm apple cider and a jigsaw puzzle amid the fresh fall air.

Find one or two with beautiful scenes from American landscape that are fall inspired. Sit at the table and have a go at it. Better yet, arrange a nice table on the back porch and begin assembly. Feel the cool brisk air as you sip on warm cider and simply enjoy the season.

This is the life.

Below are a few easy-to-find online examples that will add to your fall decor for seniors of all levels of creativity.

  • 36-piece beautiful birds puzzle with extra-large pieces designed for seniors with dementia
  • 100-piece peaceful fall country farm scene puzzle
  • 300-piece lighthouse puzzle surrounded by the sea and autumn trees
  • 500-piece fall scene in New York’s Central Park puzzle with an array of autumn details

After assembly, you can even glue the masterpiece on thin cardboard for an undisturbed display. Seniors and their family members will love what they’ve created. Caregivers can even frame these assembled puzzles. Others have them sealed and used as table toppers.

Let your mind run free with the fall decor.

4. Prepare Festive Homemade Treats

Fall is synonymous with a lot of things, but more than anything is the demand for baked goodies.

If you can bake it, then make it. Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, apple muffins, apple pie, cranberry cookies and the list is endless.

Allow your residents to share their baked goods recipes from the good ole’ days. Here are a few easy to bake autumn delights that your assisted living home chef or cook can prepare:

  • Baked apple roses
  • Healthy baked apples with oatmeal streusel topping
  • No bake pumpkin cheesecake
  • Soft glazed pumpkin sugar cookies

5. Prepare for Halloween Trick-or-Treaters

During Halloween, seniors can share in a contact-free trick or treat experience with neighborhood kids. That’s right – you heard it here first.

Residential assisted living homes can entertain the trick or treaters in a variety of ways:

  • Pre-Package some goody bags
  • Decorate the door and yard with fun autumn decor
  • For seniors experiencing memory loss, lay candy out by type and color and allow them to help with bag filling.

6. Enjoy the Natural Scenery and Fresh Air

What makes fall so special? What makes our faces glow in the autumn sunshine?

The heat has lifted, and the storms have blown away, hopefully. The simplest, most cost effective and most engaging festivity is time spent with loved ones outside.

Put on a cozy jacket or sweater, your favorite sweatshirt, some jeans, festive socks and comfortable sneakers or light weight boots and get in nature. Take in that fresh crisp air and let your eyes dance upon the colorful canvas the trees have provided. The reds, yellows, burgundy, browns, bronze and oranges promise a pleasing view every year.

Remember, safety and health must remain a priority during this season.

If your residents have mobility challenges, there are several options you can try:

  • Window sitting with the window open and a good book
  • Sitting on the back porch with some warm cider and some family stories
  • A short stroll as opposed to a long trek.


Your residential assisted living home should boast the glory of autumn. We all love it, so let your residents take over the decor.

Allow them to determine what the house will look like from now until after Thanksgiving. Adopting a theme is best.

This way the decor has a message of unity, not chaos.

  1. Door Decor – Provide residents with a plethora of crafts and allow them to create their own door decoration.
  2. Jigsaw Puzzle Competition – set up several jigsaw puzzles throughout the home. Place residents on small teams of (1-3) and allow them to assemble their puzzle.
  3. Picnic & Wine – Be sure to coordinate with dining, but tasty fall foods paired with appropriate wines is an absolute favorite. This can be done during lunch or dinner and can be conducted inside or outside.
  4. Fall Social – Of course you’ve got to host a social. It should happen in the evening, and warm apple cider is an absolute favorite of many residential assisted living homes. Take pictures, have games, and invite family members to join virtually. The residents love it, and everyone seems to rest very well on these evenings.
  5. Oktoberfest Theme – An Oktoberfest celebration is always fun, too. Enjoy all of the fun and dancing we can muster.


The Residential Assisted Living National Association is making sure that the industry is providing quality care for seniors despite the difficulties of COVID-19.

It is important to remember one thing. This fall is unlike any autumn season residents have ever experienced, due to the pandemic. So, make it fun and memorable. Normally, the fall brings a multitude of visitors, but that won’t be the case this year.

The pandemic has slowed in-person visitations to a screeching halt. Therefore, make sure the residents in your residential assisted living home know that they are one another’s family.

Get more professional tips about quality senior care, operating a successful assisted living home, group discounts and legal support by becoming a member of RALNA.

Let all traditions come together this autumn to create something new for everyone in residential assisted living nationwide.

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