Fund Raising Activities To Help Support Loved Ones In Nursing Homes
By Bob Singer, BS, NHA, PCHA

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Elderly residents of nursing homes are people just like you and me. They like to have fun and enjoy all of the social activities that we enjoy. Many people only see the handicapped and demented elderly as society's leftovers with no place to go but into the nursing homes to wait for the inevitable.

I write this article to suggest that nursing home residents are not there to die, but are there to live, to learn new ways to deal with their lives, their handicaps, and to participate in as many social activities as they can become actively involved. These senior citizens do require a great deal of help. Social activities tend to be expensive. Residents of nursing homes require special assistance and special transportation to attend many events. They need constant supervision and care giving. This means that attendants must escort them from place to place. Baseball games, theater presentations, and a nice lunch out in a fine restaurant all cost a considerable amount of money. Despite the expense, residents need these and other outside social activities just like a young mother needs some time away from the kids. Many residents in homes are reliant upon Medicare, Medical Assistance, supplemental insurance, and other government programs. What that means is that there isn't any extra money available for anything more than room and board.

So, what can families, friends, and nursing home staff do to help create funding for activities that make the residents feel good about themselves, give them something to focus, and cheer about? Below I list some suggestions for fund raising events. These events, while proposed for the sake of donating profits to help general resident activity funds, are also a great source for having some fun.

Let's Look At Intergenerational Dances:

One way to get old and young together in a fun way is to produce an intergenerational dance. High schools and middle schools can assemble groups of students to interact with the elderly in nursing homes. A dance or prom can be held in the evening, usually in between 7 and 9:00 p.m., where the elderly and students can dance and interact. This helps to make the residents feel young again. The students get to learn from resident's past and present experiences. Families and friends can donate dresses, suits, and decorations for the residents to use. The nursing home staff usually arranges entertainment and food. This kind of event makes for great public relations. A simple phone call to a local newspaper or local television station can be a first step towards getting the public exposed to the wonderful interactions between nursing home resident and neighborhood student.

How About Picnics And Fairs In The Facility's Courtyard:

Many facilities have enough outside property or inside meeting room space to accommodate a picnic or community fair. Some local media will advertise these types of events for free or for a nominal fee. Local fire companies like to use this type of event to show off their fire equipment and promote home fire safety. The nursing home's dietary manager at very reduced prices can purchase a variety of food, snacks, ice-cream bars, and other goodies in volume. These items can be sold to the public at routine market prices in order that a profit is made. Residents can also use this opportunity to sell crafts made from their own personal activities. Arrangements can be made with local pony owners and traveling children's zoos to provide entertainment for young children. With proper promotion, residents, families, and neighborhood can all mingle while generating profit for resident funds. Local media love to report on these kinds of community events.

Family Nights Featuring A Special Restaurant Style Meal And Desert:

Family members and close friends of residents can be charged a small fee to enjoy a restaurant style meal with their loved ones. Facility staff can usually provide waiters, waitresses, and usually a speaker. Profits can benefit residents. Nursing home administration can use this opportunity to introduce new programs, new employees, or just address some current concerns.

Easter Egg Hunts Are Very Successful For Attracting Young Visitors:

Easter holiday time is excellent for attracting young children to the nursing home. Utilizing a meeting room or large dining room to assemble an Easter egg hunt is a great way for residents to watch their young grandchildren scrambling about looking for eggs. Each egg can be marked differently so that each child can win a different prize or different craft, such as things made by the nursing home residents. Opening this event up to the local neighborhood children for a small fee provides a safe social event for parents to take their youngsters. For the elderly it provides a way to get to know their neighbors, feel as though they are contributing to the event, and make them feel good about socializing again.

Holiday Breakfasts And Luncheons Complete With All Traditional Trimmings:

Holiday meals designed as an extra family style event provide an excellent opportunity to put a little profit into the resident's funds. It is perfectly reasonable to charge a small fee for a traditional family holiday style meal. Restaurants do it all the time. Since food is purchased at a discount by nursing home administration, costs to provide this entertainment can be kept to a minimum. Families will gladly pay a small fee for a good quality meal. They tend to appreciate the fact that holiday traditions can be honored with their loved ones and that there is no cooking and no cleanup for them to worry about.

Everyone Likes To Take Their Chances On Raffles:

Raffles tend to be a lot of fun. They are usually inexpensive, about a dollar or two per chance. Prizes can be worth up to several hundred times the chance money, justifying the expense. Prizes can range from basket of cheer to a fifty / fifty drawing for cash. All profits can go directly to resident activities, while initial investment can purchase more materials for the very next round. As a monthly event, with new and different prizes being offered each time, this can add up quite nicely.

Dress Down Day Donations By Nursing Home Staff:

Staff love to dress down, to spend a day out of their uniforms, to wear normal casual clothing. Many nursing homes designate a special day each week, most commonly on Fridays, where staff can dress down. This also has some favor with residents for they tend to feel less institutionalized when dealing with staffs that are not dressed special. For those whom choose to do so, staff is asked to donate one dollar which gets deposited into the general resident's activities fund. Depending on staff participation, this can add up very quickly.

Other Revenue Producing Sales Events:

The best way to make revenue is to find something to sell. Some suggestions for easy sale with highly profitable returns include hot dogs and soda sales, candy sales, baked goods sales, soft pretzels sales, and small crafts sales. Residents or staff can take turns manning tables form which items are sold. Again profits can go directly to resident activities. For best results, it is best to sell different products each month and position each event in a way that both staff and visitors have been recently paid. This is so that everyone has money to spend on novelties. In summary, it is important to remember that while the nursing home staff plays the primary role of caregiver, a little extra financial support from family and friends can go a long way to improve emotional well being.

Copyright 1998, 2001, By Bob Singer, BS, NHA, PCHA, Author.


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