‘Ask Jan’ – New Year’s Eve

“Dear Jan,

What is the standard procedure for celebrating New Year’s Eve in a care home, please?

Dear Kathryn,

Thank you for writing in to me.

As with most aspects of care home life, there isn’t really a standard procedure for New Year’s Eve. A lot will depend on your residents, your staffing levels, your budget, etc.

Generally speaking, New Year’s Eve in a care setting needs to be bright and fun. Some residents may feel they have little to look forward to, so may be feeling a little low. Be aware of this and react accordingly.

I always suggest making a yearbook as a group activity. Start a scrapbook and fill it with everything you have planned for the new year. Call it Our Year 2023, or something similar. Encourage residents to think about poems, quotes, pictures or photos to stick in the book for each month. The Garden Year by Sara Coleridge has a verse for each month, if you need some inspiration! Old calendars are great for seasonal images.

Take a group photo, print it off and use it as the cover for January’s chapter.

Each month, add in your monthly activity plan, any posters of upcoming events and any press cuttings that are relevant to your care setting.

You can use the task of maintaining your yearbook as a monthly craft session. It becomes a great reminiscence tool and it is also useful for visitors to look at.

Here are some other general activity ideas and tips for fun, light-hearted New Year’s Eve celebrations…

  • Arrange to have New Year’s Eve activities running throughout the day.
  • Due to rotas and budget, there will only be a select number of carers on a night shift. Ensure you have left things out for the night-time staff to do with the residents who may choose to stay up and watch the new year come in. This could be colouring, crosswords, quizzes, or simple boardgames.
  • Prepare a tipple trolley for the evening, with a selection of favourite drinks for the staff to hand out.
  • Ask your manager for a small budget to purchase party poppers and sparkly table decorations so your communal area looks ‘special’ to residents.
  • Persuade staff and volunteers to put on a short variety show for residents. Can anyone sing, play a musical instrument or tell jokes? They may have children who could come in and perform as well.
  • When it is dark, light some sparklers.
  • Check what is on TV. There may be a good variety show on for everyone to enjoy.
  • Make and hang wishes on a wish tree of things people would like to be involved in next year.
  • Lastly, make sure that you all sing Auld Lang Syne!

Best wishes,


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