← Back to Blog

Tips and Tricks to Increase Resident Participation in Assisted Living Activities

Tips and Tricks to Increase Resident Participation in Assisted Living Activities

After moving to an assisted living facility, residents can easily get overwhelmed with the changes in their lifestyle and surroundings. They may want to isolate themselves and adjust slowly. But if residents are frequently encouraged to get involved in activities it can ease anxiety and ensure a smooth transition.

Activities are extremely important for seniors because inactivity can adversely affect their mental and physical well-being. The perceived loss of independence can be difficult for assisted living residents, but a robust activity schedule can help them reclaim a sense of independence and lift their spirits. Stress levels may also decrease as they engage in activities they enjoy.
Start by creating an activities calendar and select activities that have mass appeal and that motivate residents to get involved.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you create a winning activity strategy that is sure to increase participation and engagement.

Get Creative with Activity Names
If you use boring or generic names like “Quiz night,” your activity will not get a lot of attention. Use attention-grabbing names like "Jeopardy," "Frank Sinatra Sing-Along," or "Name That Movie Trivia” to pique curiosity and encourage participation.
Use specific descriptions for activities so residents know exactly what to expect. Instead of "Learn How to Bake," consider "Birthday Cake Decorating Seminar." Get creative when naming activities, especially unpopular ones. No one will look forward to an exercise program titled "Exercise." Call it "Get Fit Outdoors" or "Pool Volleyball."

Highlight Special Events
When you highlight special events on the calendar, they easily get noticed. For example, you can highlight Easter week. Make your activity schedule more interesting by creating activities that specifically focus on Easter. Think about creating a "World Easter Traditions Week," and building activities featuring Easter traditions from around the world.

Spark Healthy Competition
Competition is physically and psychologically healthy because it motivates people to perform at their highest level. Residents should not stop competing just because of their age. In fact, it is important for residents to test their boundaries to see what they are able to do.

Most seniors enjoy competitions so add fun, competitive activities to your calendar. You can have a "Gift Making Contest" during the holiday season or a "Ground Floor vs. 1st Floor Trivia Challenge."

Acknowledge Residents' Birthdays on Your Activities Calendar
Birthday celebrations provide an opportunity to honor residents and let them know they are appreciated. Add birthdays to your activities calendar so everyone can celebrate the special day. Take it one step further and send birthday greetings from your organization to residents.

Sample Activities for Inspiration


  • Floor exercises like bowling or balloon volleyball
  • Tournaments like bocce ball or badminton
  • Nature walks
  • Golf Club
  • Bowling Team
  • Yoga


  • Arts and crafts
  • Gardening
  • Making objects they can keep–like scarfs or jewelry
  • Making gifts for loved ones


  • Learning something new–a new language or a skill
  • Doing something different–like learning to play poker differently

  • Book Club
  • Movie Nights
  • Guest Lectures


  • Opening and managing a social media account
  • Learning how to use new technology–like a new app
  • Using technology to stay connected to family members

Promote Your Activities Calendar

Plan Ahead
The further in advance you plan the more time you will have to promote activities. This will give you plenty of time to remind residents to participate.

Take Timing into Account
To increase activity attendance, share the calendar a week in advance. Include family members in your promotion, so they can encourage their loved ones to participate. And send frequent reminders. Repetition can improve participation.

Implement Communication Software
To streamline your communication and track activity attendance consider adopting communication software. VoiceFriend is the leading communications and engagement platform for organizations that care for seniors. With VoiceFriend, you can create and send messages to residents, families, and staff using the method they prefer—phone, text, email, secure on-demand dial-in, or Alexa devices. Messages can be translated in eighteen languages. VoiceFriend’s best-in-breed communication platform makes it easy for you to get the right information to the right people at the right time.

Use VoiceFriend to track which activities are the most popular, identify residents who are not engaging, and implement communications programs within the VoiceFriend communication platform to maximize participation and engagement.

Visit our website to learn more about VoiceFriend and how it can help your organization increase participation in activities and drive resident engagement.