October 2013 Senior Activity Calendar
This calendar provides unique and fun activity ideas that can be easily added to your October activity calendar. Each day consists of an idea for an afternoon social, as well as three other activities that provide fun entertainment. In addition, find easy crafts for seniors on both Sundays and Thursdays. All of the activities listed are inspired by holidays, events or observances from the month of October. Below the October calendar, you will find detailed explanations for each of the calendar's activities. Further, when more information is needed to complete the activities, you will find third-party links to websites that will provide even more information.
October is ...
- American Magazine Month
- Billiards Awareness Month
- Computer Learning Month
- Country Music Month
- German-American Heritage Month
- Healthy Lung Month
- National Bake and Decorate Month
- National Book Month
- National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
- National Caramel Month
- National Chili Month
- National Cookbook Month
- National Dental Hygiene Month
- National Dessert Month
- National Field Trip Month
- National Kitchen and Bath Month
- National Physical Therapy Month
- National Pizza Month
- National Popcorn Poppin' Month
- National Reading Group Month
- National Roller Skating Month
- National Stamp Collecting Month
- National Work and Family Month
- Photographer Appreciation Month
- Polish-American Heritage Month
- Spinach Lovers Month
- Squirrel Awareness Month
- Talk About Prescriptions Month
- Birthday: Jimmy Carter, U.S. President (1924)
- International Day of Older Persons
- National Day in China
- World Vegetarian Day
Recognize this World Vegetarian Day by serving residents a delicious vegetarian option for lunch.
Peanut Farmer Social
On this birthday of peanut farmer and President Jimmy Carter, encourage residents to socialize over shelled peanuts. Provide residents with nut crackers for those who need more help with getting the shells off the peanuts.
Dim Sum Happy Hour
Celebrate this National Day in China by serving Chinese egg rolls with dipping sauce at this evening's happy hour. Chit chat with residents about any visits they have made to Asia.
65 & Over Party
Host a fun party for your residents on this International Day of Older Persons. Hire an entertainer and encourage residents to dance.
- World Farm Animals Day
Invite a local petting farm to your facility on this World Farm Animals Day.
Reminiscence & Tea
During this National Roller Skating Month, invite residents to reminisce about roller skating as kids. Ask the residents if any of them had skate keys. Serve hot tea and cookies.
Fall Wine Picnic
Break open the wine and invite residents for a fun fall picnic indoors. Serve sandwiches, cheese, fruit and wine. If weather permits, host the event outdoors.
Ladies' Home Journal Social
For this American Magazine Month, download articles from the Ladies' Home Journal magazine and discuss how the magazine has changed over the years. Ask residents whether they still read the magazine. Serve veggies and dip as a snack.
Crafts: Autumn Pinwheels
Encourage residents to make easy autumn pinwheels for the season.
Encourage residents to join in a harvest discussion. Have residents tell stories of what harvest time was like for them as children. Ask residents if their school was closed during harvest so that kids could help out on their family's farm.
Baking Club: Autumn Harvest Cookies
Invite residents to bake delicious autumn harvest cookies for this afternoon's social.
Fresh Air Social
Recognize this month as Healthy Lung Month by encouraging residents to briefly step outdoors for some fresh air. Serve the autumn harvest cookies made by the Baking Club earlier today.
- Detective comic strip Dick Tracy debuted (1931)
- World Smile Day
How Did You Do It?
For this National Work and Family Month, discuss how residents were able to have a career and a family at home. Ask residents if they think that it is harder today to have both a career and a family.
Spot the Differences
Invite residents to play detective on this day that the detective comic strip Dick Tracy debuted, by spotting the differences between two Halloween pictures.
On this World Smile Day, invite residents to say "cheese" as you snap their annual photos for your nursing home records.
Coffee Klatch Social
Encourage residents to socialize as they are served an array of delicious hot coffee on this cool afternoon. Serve butter cookies as a snack.
Teach residents how to use a computer during this Computer Learning Month. Show them how to set up a Facebook page in which they can communicate with friends and family.
On this fall day, invite the grandkids and great-grandkids of residents to make caramel apples with residents.
Get your residents ready for the Neighborhood Walk for a Cure on October 7, by encouraging residents to go for a walk around your facility after lunch.
Warm Apple Cider Social
Serve residents warm apple cider and ginger snaps on this autumn day. Ask residents if they have ever made apple cider.
- National German-American Day
Crafts: German Edelweiss Hats
Encourage residents to make German edelweiss hats for tonight's Oktoberfest Party.
Teach your residents some clean German words on this National German-American Day.
German Beer Sample Social
Serve residents a variety of German beer, as well as nonalcoholic beer, to sample on this National German-American Day. Ask residents to discuss their travels to Germany.
Hire an entertainer to stop by and play fun German music as your facility celebrates Oktoberfest. Teach residents how to do a German dance, like the Waltz.
- World Rainforest Week (October 7-13)
Encourage residents to partake in a fun photography session during this Photographer Appreciation Month. Allow residents to borrow your facility's camera to take snapshots of the changing leaves outdoors.
Neighborhood Walk for a Cure
For this National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, encourage residents to put on a jacket and take a quick walk through the neighborhood. Ask friends and family to donate fifty cents for each lap down the driveway. Donate the money to a local charity supporting breast cancer awareness, or to a national charity like Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Armchair Travel: Rainforest
Take your residents for a trip to the rainforest during this World Rainforest Week. Borrow the video Tropical Rainforest: IMAX (1992) from your local library or video store.
Book Club Social
During this National Book Month, encourage residents to talk about some of their favorite books. Serve a literary snack, like tea and cookies.
Chili & Cornbread Lunch
During this National Chili Month, serve residents a home-made chili and cornbread lunch. Consider turning the lunch into a special Harvest Hoe-Down meal by using plastic utensils along with plastic red and white checkered table cloths.
Invite residents to make a fun doll house featuring rooms decorated by them, during this National Kitchen and Bath Month. Supply residents with empty boxes and samples from wallpaper and upholstery books that can be donated by your local kitchen and bath store.
Betty Crocker School
For this National Cookbook Month, invite a staff member from Dining Services to host a cooking demonstration for residents.
Falling Leaves Social
Set up your afternoon social near a big picture window and invite residents to look outside at the falling leaves. Ask residents if they remember raking leaves or playing in them as children. Serve warm cookies as a snack.
- The Gashouse Gang (St. Louis Cardinals) won the World Series by beating the Detroit Tigers (1934)
Encourage your seniors to make their own stationery by doing an easy leaf stamping craft using colorful fall leaves. Supply residents with writing paper for stamping.
Invite a pharmacist to come to your facility to talk to residents about their prescriptions during this Talk About Prescriptions Month.
Dessert of the Month Club
During this National Dessert Month, have residents gather and vote for a particular dessert to be served at a special dinner this month. Give residents a list of choices from which they can choose. Take a tally and serve the chosen dessert at the designated time.
Gashouse Gang Social
On this day that the Gashouse Gang won major league baseball's World Series, have residents talk about baseball and who they think will win the World Series this year. Serve Cracker Jack as a snack.
- Fire Prevention Week (October 6-12)
- Opera Porgy & Bess premiered on Broadway (1935)
- U.S. Naval Academy established in Annapolis, Maryland (1845)
Crafts: Squirrel Treats
For this Squirrel Awareness Month, encourage your seniors to make fun and easy squirrel treats for your neighborhood squirrels.
Invite your facility's Maintenance Coordinator to share fire safety information with residents during this Fire Prevention Week.
Go Navy! Social
On this day that the United States Naval Academy was established, give residents some fun facts about the Navy. Serve peanuts and ginger ale as a snack.
Night at the Opera
On this day that the opera Porgy & Bess premiered on Broadway, show the DVD Opera Hits (1999) featuring Plácido Domingo. Borrow the DVD from your local video store.
- Apollo 7, the first manned U.S. Apollo mission, was launched (1968)
- Television comedy show "Saturday Night Live" premiered (1975)
Red Hat Ladies Volunteer Project
For this American Magazine Month, encourage your red hatters to collect old magazines and recycle them with your local recycling center. Encourage the red hatters to set up a recycling program at your facility, if your facility does not currently recycle.
Play funny comedy skits on this day that the comedy show "Saturday Night Live" debuted on television. Borrow the DVD Abbott and Costello Funniest Routines: Volume 1 (1950), featuring the "Who's on First?" comedy sketch, from your local video store.
For National Reading Group Month, encourage residents to volunteer to read to other residents in your facility.
Space Race Social
On this day that the first manned Apollo mission was launched, reminisce with residents about the space race between the United States and Russia. Ask residents where they were when the United States first landed on the moon. Serve popcorn as a snack.
- Columbus Day
Columbus Day Parade
Seat residents in your Activity Room and supply them with coffee and doughnuts. Create your own parade by having the residents who are marching in the parade tell the others what country their family is originally from. Invite the resident to tell a brief story of how their family came to the New World.
To honor Christopher Columbus on this day, coordinate with Dining Services to create a festive and delicious Italian feast for residents.
Play the fun Italian bowling game of bocce ball on this Columbus Day. Purchase an inexpensive bocce ball set at your local activity supply store.
Columbus Day Social
Celebrate Columbus Day by sharing interesting facts about Christopher Columbus' journey to the New World. Serve wine and cheese as a snack.
Encourage your seniors to help you make a fun and easy scarecrow to place outside your facility for decoration.
Cookies for Kids
Invite the grandkids for another fun baking project. Have the kids help residents bake pumpkin cookies.
Play in the Leaves
Host an intergenerational activity by inviting the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of residents to come by and play in the leaves outdoors. Set up an area indoors where residents can sit, near a large picture window, so that they can witness the fun.
Harvest Carnival Social
Have fun with residents by hosting a festive carnival. Encourage residents to play games like bobbing for apples (substitute mini doughnuts for the apples by placing the doughnuts on a string, and have residents try to eat the hanging doughnuts without using their hands) and pumpkin toss (toss rings over small pumpkins).
- Birthday: Dwight D. Eisenhower, United States president (1890)
- Birthday: Ralph Lauren, fashion designer (1939)
- Birthday: William Penn, Quaker and founder of Pennsylvania (1644)
Serve residents a hearty bowl of Quaker Oats oatmeal on this birthday of Quaker leader William Penn. Supply various toppings for residents to add to their oatmeal, including fruit, cinnamon and honey.
Recognize the birthday today of one of the fashion industry's premiere designers, Ralph Lauren, by treating your residents to an afternoon of glamour. Invite a make-up consultant to stop by to make over the ladies of your facility.
Women's Day Memories
For this American Magazine Month, download articles from Woman's Day magazine and reminisce with residents about the types of magazines they used to read.
On this birthday of overachiever Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was a United States president, president of Columbia University and a United States General, encourage residents to discuss some of the careers they had considered as a child. Serve salsa and chips as a snack.
- First draft card burned in protest of Vietnam War (1965)
Baking Club: Pizza
Encourage residents to make easy pizzas during this National Pizza Month.
Assist residents with doing fall tasks indoors on this autumn day. Make a list of "volunteer opportunities" throughout your facility for residents to do, like helping decorate for the season or tending to fall plants.
War Protest Social
On this day that the first draft card was burned, talk to residents about being drafted for war and whether they knew anyone who protested the war. Serve fresh fruit as a snack.
Celebrate this Polish-American Heritage Month by hosting a polka party. Hire an accordionist to play music while the residents dance.
- Birthday: Angela Lansbury, actress (1925)
- French queen Marie-Antoinette was beheaded for treason (1793)
Spinach Omelet Breakfast
For this Spinach Lovers Month, coordinate with Dining Services to provide a special spinach omelet breakfast for residents.
Ooh La La
In recognition of this day that Queen Marie-Antoinette of France was beheaded, share some interesting facts about the woman who was punished for treason.
Popcorn Party Social
For this National Popcorn Poppin' Month, invite residents to help you make caramel popcorn.
Movie Night: Angela Lansbury
On this day that actress Angela Lansbury was born, show her movie The Manchurian Candidate (1962) featuring Frank Sinatra and Janet Leigh.
- Gangster Al Capone went to jail after being sentenced for tax evasion (1931)
- National Food Bank Week (October 13-19)
Crafts: Papier-Mâché Pumpkins
Encourage residents to make fun papier-mâché pumpkins for Halloween.
Encourage residents to set up shop in your facility to collect canned food to be donated to a local food bank during this National Food Bank Week. Send out flyers to family members to remind them to bring a canned food when they stop by to visit their loved ones.
On this day that Al Capone went to jail for tax evasion, share fun and interesting facts about the gangster.
Country Music Social
For this Country Music Month, play country music and encourage residents to sing along to country song lyrics. Serve root beer and pretzels as a snack.
- Hunter's (Full) Moon
- National Chocolate Cupcake Day
Baking Club: Chocolate Cupcakes
Have residents bake delicious chocolate cupcakes on this National Chocolate Cupcake Day.
Enjoy the autumn weather by taking residents for a hayride. Contact a local vendor that provides hayrides for seniors.
Apple Cider Taste Testing Social
Get different apple ciders for residents to sample and taste test. Serve the chocolate cupcakes made earlier today by the Baking Club.
Hunter's Moon Nightcap
Set up your facility's telescope and encourage residents to view the full moon, called the Hunter's Moon by Native Americans because of the abundance of moonlight that helped hunters who were searching for food for the winter.
Trip to Football Game
For this National Field Trip Month, take residents to a local middle school or high school football game.
During this Photographer Appreciation Month, encourage residents to take pictures at the football game. Have the "photographers" pass around the digital camera so that everyone can view the photos.
Halloween Taste Tester Social
Supply residents with an array of Halloween candy for them to taste test. Spark a discussion about the type of candy they received when they were young. Provide sugar-free candy for diabetic residents.
Pizza & A Movie
For dinner, serve pizza during this National Pizza Month as residents watch The African Queen (1951) featuring Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart.
- National Brandied Fruit Day
- Sydney Opera House opened (1973)
Crafts: Ghostie Pops
As an intergenerational activity, invite kids to make fun treats for Halloween with your seniors.
Fall Garden Tea Party
Host a fun garden tea party in your Activity Room this fall. Decorate the room and tables with fall decorations. Serve hot tea with pastries as a snack.
On this day that the beautiful Sydney Opera House opened, encourage residents to build an architectural masterpiece using toothpicks and clay.
Fruity Tooty Social
On this National Brandied Fruit Day, supply residents with a variety of brandied fruit. Serve the fruit over ice cream.
- Birthday: Dizzy Gillespie, jazz musician (1917)
- The Guggenheim Museum, known for its contemporary art, opened in New York City (1959)
Show & Tell
For this National Stamp Collecting Month, encourage residents to "show off" and tell others about the items that they collect. Set up several tables for residents to display their collections, and invite other residents and staff members to stop by to check out the collections.
Yesteryear & Tea
Invite residents to a fun reminiscing tea. Borrow antiques from a local antiques store and show them off at the tea. Have residents guess what the antiques were used for.
In recognition of this day that the famous contemporary art museum, the Guggenheim Museum, opened in New York City, show residents a DVD about famous museums, like Great Museums: In Our Time: The Museum of Modern Art (2008).
All That Jazz Social
Play jazz music in honor of jazz great Dizzy Gillespie's birthday today. Serve wine and cheese as a snack.
- First parachute descent, jumping off of a hot air balloon in Paris (1797)
- National Chemistry Week (October 20-26)
- Outlaw Pretty Boy Floyd killed by FBI agents (1934)
During this National Chemistry Week, encourage residents to make slime that they can give to their grandkids as a Halloween gift.
Encourage residents to pick leaves from outdoors and make a fun collage out of them. Make fun shapes or even animal pictures with the leaves.
Invite residents to partake in a parachute contest on this day that the first parachutist jumped from a balloon in Paris. Encourage residents to make their own toy parachutes and attach them to an object. Once done, have residents drop their object at the same time to see whose parachute drops the slowest.
Protect & Serve Social
On this day that the FBI killed outlaw Pretty Boy Floyd, invite residents to discuss how important the police department has been in protecting the community. Serve coffee and doughnuts as a snack.
- First Unknown Soldier was selected to be honored among 77,000 men killed in World War I (1921)
Dental Hygiene Seminar
Invite your local dentist to talk to residents during this National Dental Hygiene Month. Check for a mobile dentist in your area, which would bring the dentist office to your facility.
During this American Magazine Month, consider starting a magazine or newsletter for your facility. Invite residents to meet and discuss the idea, and hand out assignments. Use the photos taken at the football game on October 19, for inclusion in your facility's first newsletter.
On this day that the first Unknown Soldier was selected to be honored, encourage residents to discuss what they heard growing up from their parents about World War I and the soldiers who fought in the War. Serve popcorn as a snack.
Caramel Dessert Bar
After dinner, invite residents to make tasty desserts with a fun caramel bar during this National Caramel Month. Set up a dessert bar featuring ice cream with toppings including caramel sauce, caramel cookies and caramel candies.
- First barrel ride over Niagara Falls by a 63-year-old dance teacher, Annie Taylor (1901)
- United Nations created (1945)
- Western Union completed its first transcontinental telegraph line between San Francisco and Washington, DC (1861)
Crafts: Pumpkin Decorating
Supply your seniors with felt, yarn and construction paper as you encourage them to decorate pumpkins by creating faces. Have a contest to see who can decorate the scariest pumpkin.
Coordinate with Dining Services on this day that the United Nations was created to host a global lunch in which residents are served a variety of foods from around the world.
Over the Falls
Start a discussion about Niagara Falls on this day of the first barrel ride over the falls. Share interesting facts about Niagara Falls with residents.
Western Union Social
Discuss Western Union and the use of telegrams. Have residents speak about the type of news they received when they were given a telegram from Western Union. Serve veggies and dip as a snack.
- Birthday: Pablo Picasso, artist (1881)
In recognition of Pablo Picasso's birthday today, encourage residents to tap into their inner Picasso by painting a harvest scene.
Baking Club: Birthday Cake
Have residents bake and decorate a birthday cake for this National Bake and Decorate Month.
Create a billiards table and have residents play against one another during this Billiards Awareness Month.
Birthday Party Social
Serve the birthday cake baked earlier today by the Baking Club as you celebrate all of the October birthdays in your facility.
- Birthday: Pat Sajak, TV game host (1946)
- Shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona (1881)
Fall Sweater Day
Encourage residents and staff to wear their favorite fall sweaters on this day. Give a prize to the resident wearing the most seasonal sweater.
Wheel of Fortune
Have fun imitating Pat Sajak on this day that he was born as you encourage residents to guess letters that are found in a Wheel of Fortune puzzle. Print out a small wheel for the residents to spin as they try to solve the puzzle. Secure a paperclip to the wheel using a push pin. Have the residents flick the paperclip to spin the wheel.
Host a fun western social on this day of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral. Serve buffalo wings and dip as a snack.
Jack O' Lantern Party
Have a fun Halloween party with music and dancing.
- Birthday: Theodore Roosevelt, United States president (1858)
Crafts: Masks for Ball
Encourage your seniors to make fun and easy masks for the upcoming Masquerade Ball on October 30.
Name That Author
For this National Book Month, quiz residents about famous authors and their books.
Raking Leaves Contest
Have residents compete in a friendly competition to see who can rake their leaves into a pile the fastest. Invite the staff to help the residents with their piles.
Better Homes & Gardens Social
For this American Magazine Month, download articles from a recent edition of Better Homes & Gardens and discuss how different the magazine appears today versus how it used to be when the residents read it. Serve tea and cookies as a snack.
- Gateway Arch in St. Louis was completed (1965)
For this Photographer Appreciation Month, fill photo albums with pictures of residents and staff, and place the albums throughout your facility.
In recognition of the man known for preserving national parks, President Teddy Roosevelt, take residents for a scenic drive through a local park or through the countryside on this day that he was born.
Meet Me at the Fair Social
Host a fun fair at your facility like the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis on this day that the Gateway Arch was completed in St. Louis. Blow up balloons, serve cotton candy and set up ring toss, bowling and putt putt games for residents to play. Give prizes to residents as they complete each of the games. Serve popcorn as a snack.
Create a haunted house in your Activity Room with fun Halloween crafts. Invite residents into your haunted house to watch the suspenseful Alfred Hitchcock classic movie Strangers on a Train (1951) featuring Robert Walker and Farley Granger.
- United States Stock Market crashed (1929)
Invite one of your facility's physical therapists to talk to residents about exercise and the benefits of physical therapy during this National Physical Therapy Month.
Gather residents around to play a fun game of Pictionary, in which residents draw pictures to get their teammates to guess a specific Halloween word or phrase.
Get residents into the Halloween mood by showing the famous movie Frankenstein (1931) featuring Mae Clark and Colin Clive.
Stock Market Crash Social
On this day that the Stock Market crashed, reminisce with residents about what changes were made in their households during the Great Depression. Serve cheese and crackers as a snack.
Baking Club: Caramel Pecan Pie
For this National Caramel Month, have residents bake a delicious caramel pecan pie.
Halloween Letters to Family
Encourage residents to send Halloween greetings to loved ones by writing letters to family and friends. Supply residents with paper and pens.
Candy Corn Social
For this National Candy Corn Day, serve tasty Halloween candy, including candy corn.
Invite residents to dress up with the masks they created on October 27. Hire an entertainer and encourage residents to dance and have fun.
- National Knock-Knock Day
Crafts: Haunted Gingerbread House
Encourage residents to create a haunted gingerbread house with candy on this Halloween.
For this National Knock-Knock Day, tell residents funny knock-knock jokes.
Invite kids to come by in costume to parade in front of residents before they go out trick-or-treating. Give residents candy to distribute to the kids.
Magic Show Social
Host a magic show and show off a few easy-to-learn magic tricks. Recruit a brave resident as your assistant. Serve popcorn as a snack.