St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, which means it’s a good time to plan some fun activities for you and your senior loved one. This coming Friday (and over the weekend), All Seniors Care is embracing St. Patrick’s Day traditions as residences put their best Irish foot forward.
Whether you are an activity director, caregiver, or simply want to do something fun with your loved ones, we have put together a list of fun-filled St. Patrick’s day traditions and activities to help you celebrate the true meaning of the holiday. And you’ll find 10 of our favorites right here!
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Older Adults
Traditionally celebrated on March 17th in honour of the patron saint of Ireland, said to have rid the island of snakes, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t just for the Irish! No matter your age or background, the day is a great way for people right across the world to celebrate the unique culture, language, and music of Ireland. As they say, everyone has a little luck o’ the Irish in them on St. Patrick’s Day.
1. Make Decorations and Crafts
There are several fun and easy craft ideas that you and your elderly loved one can work on in the lead-up to St. Patrick’s Day. With simple materials, you can make creative Irish-themed crafts such as:
- Patrick’s Pot of Gold
- Shamrock boutonnieres
- Decorative Leprechaun Hats
- Four leaf clover wreaths
- Shamrock Hats
2. Wear Green
Break out your green clothing and jewelry, wear four-leaf clover-shaped pins, hats, and glasses. Green isn’t your colour? Try a splash of orange to represent the stripe on the Irish flag. You can also wear some blue, which the colour of St. Patrick himself.
All Seniors Care (ASC) residences like Preston Park II senior living in Saskatoon will be wearing green all day in anticipation of their Green Ice Cream Social – complete with Irish dancers with an optional Irish Whiskey shot.
3. Leprechaun’s Pot of Gold Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is a fun and exciting St. Patrick’s activity for your senior loved ones. It is also the perfect opportunity for them to get up, get moving, and stretch their legs.
Hide riddles and clues around your home that leads residents to the finish line, which contains a pot of gold for them to collect. Follow the fun at River Ridge retirement homes in Winnipeg!
4. Play Truth or Blarney
Take a page out of the McCarthy Place playbook! The Stratford retirement community will start their festivities with a game of Truth or Blarney followed by an afternoon filled with Irish Fiddlers, games, and over the rainbow snacks.
The game involves 30 questions that test your knowledge of all things Irish! How would you do? Take a peek at some questions here.
5. Gaelic Themed Games
Themed games are a popular choice at our senior living centres. The options are endless!
You might want to play Irish Carpet Bowling using turnips and potatoes. Or consider a Golden Coin Toss like the one at Fox Hollow in London, ON. To really challenge their residents, La Gappe senior community in Gatineau will ask “how many snakes are in the jar”? (They are really noodles dyed green!)
Board and social games are a great way to have fun and encourage interaction with others. They even help build memory!
6. Host an Irish Dance or Music Presentation
Take your event to the next level by Inviting traditional Irish dancers for an energetic céilí (pronounced “kay-lee) or step dance demonstration. Or hire Irish musicians to accompany the festivities – it’s guaranteed to please everyone! After all, nothing says Ireland quite like an afternoon of music and dance.
At Sturgeon Creek in Winnipeg, residents are celebrating the Emerald Isle all week. One of their planned highlights, though, is entertainment by the Irish Myst Choir. To spice it up and help older adults at the retirement residence tap into their inner Gaelic, the performance will be accompanied by a sample of Guinness Beer.
7. Plan a St Patrick’s Sing-Along
Singing is a great activity to do with your loved ones. Buy or download well known Irish tunes and playlists for St. Patrick’s and sing them together. People love to sing, but it is an especially powerful activity for those experiencing cognitive decline. Read about how singing can boost brain function and mood here.
8. Bake Irish Themed Treats
Bake Irish-inspired cookies shaped like shamrocks, pint glasses, rainbows, and other shapes associated with the holiday. Everyone can learn how to bring the treats to life with colorful royal icing.
A favourite at ASC are decorated cupcakes like the ones prepared by our Memory Care residents in Ontario and Saskatchewan.
9. Dive into Irish History & Culture
Ireland is full of fantastical fairy tales and folklore that have been passed down through generations. Consider a read-out-loud with ancient Celtic folklore—after all, who wouldn’t enjoy whimsical stories of druids, fey, and nymphs?
You could also learn about Irish and Irish-Canadian history, culture, and customs through a presentation, discussion, or video. These engaging educational activities can also help seniors with Irish ancestry feel closer to their roots.
For example, residents at Sturgeon Creek I in Winnipeg and Summit Heights in Hamilton will enjoy take a virtual cycling tour of Ireland while learning some of the history. Meanwhile, older adults at College Park II’s assisted living in Regina will be entertained during a “Tales of the Irish” read-along, then enjoy a travelogue through the emerald countryside, sip on green beer, and savour green cup-cakes make by Memory Care residents!
10. Host a Happy Hour
From green beer to lime Shamrock Sakes, everyone loves a St. Patrick’s libation!
Fox Hollow’s BLOSSOM Living knows how to throw a party. An inclusive program for those experiencing mild to moderate cognitive decline, they will start their day with Shamrock Shakes before making green cupcakes for the residence’s a “Booze and Tattoos” Happy Hour. During the program – complete with live entertainment – residents in the senior housing in London, ON will choose a temporary tattoo to wear while enjoying a complimentary cocktail. Sláinte!
Happy Hour is popular at all our residences, so be sure to ask your Health & Wellness Director for a full calendar of events for St. Patrick’s Day.
Active Senior Living Is a Hallmark of The Best Retirement Communities
The best senior living communities are also active senior living communities. Their professional staff know that participation in social activities is important to their residents’ well-being and happiness. After all, living in a retirement community should be a positive and energizing experience, with more programs for involvement than one can count. By planning activities for all who wish to participate, we help ensure that older adults in our residences enjoys St. Patrick’s Day and other holidays.
At All Seniors Care, we pride ourselves on bettering lives, which is why we publish a weekly blog offering ideas for older adults to stay healthy and happy. Contact us today for more information about how we can support your loved one while the age-in-place graciously.
Writer – Julianna McLeod
Julianna is a health and wellness expert at All Seniors Care. Her mission is to create content that empowers seniors to form sustainable solutions for lasting health and happiness. She is an experienced writer, editor, and Recreational Therapist living in Toronto.