ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance that commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in military operations.
Commemorating ANZAC Day provides an opportunity for older Australians to:
reflect on the past
take part in cultural customs
be recognised for sacrifices they may have made
express their appreciation for the lives they have had due to the sacrifices many have made
All of this can improve social skills, community engagement, communication skills, self-esteem, and stimulate cognition.
But sometimes it can be challenging to think of easy activities for seniors, or people living with disabilities, to participate in for ANZAC Day; that is why we have created our Top 6 List!
Whether you're running a residential aged care facility or caring for someone at home, these engaging ideas make participating in this year's ANZAC Day as easy as baking an ANZAC biscuit.
Top 6 Activities for ANZAC DAY
1. Engage Residents in a service
Ask if any residents wish to read a poem at the service about the war, recite the Ode or participate with other parts of the service. Many residents will not respond to open calls, so be sure to approach Veterans individually. They may be more comfortable with a personalised approach.
2. Wreaths for a crafts activity
Craft activities can be a fantastic way to engage all residents and share stories in a welcoming environment. Wreaths are flowers and leaves woven into a circle. They are traditionally laid on graves and memorials in memory of the dead. However, they are used as a symbol of bravery, strength, and triumph - and are staples of ANZAC Day commemorations each ear.
3. Baking ANZAC Biscuits
ANZAC biscuits are made using rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter (or margarine). ANZAC Biscuits were sent by civilians and women's groups to soldiers abroad during World War I, because the ingredients were all non-perishable when combined, the biscuits kept-well during naval transportation. Though sold at supermarkets to raise money for the RSL, they can be made easily at Residential Aged Care Facilities and are very enjoyable when freshly baked.
4. Reminiscing sessions
Reminiscing can be an extremely important way of managing emotions and milestones for those living in Aged Care. Many residents are veterans, war widows, or widowers, and ANZAC day particularly can reignite many memories or emotions. Reminiscing can really help aged care workers get to know their residents better, while it also helps the person telling the stories to feel listened to, valued and important.
5. ANZAC Day themed Paintings
When people think of ANZAC Day, they have many images on their mind. Using paintings to share one's understanding, experience and history with ANZAC Day is a great way to get to know residents better, and allow them to share what they see when they think of ANZAC Day. Painting is a skill more accessible to many residents than crafts, so the quality of outcomes will likely lead to some fascinating artwork to demonstrate throughout a facility.
6. Bring a guest speaker in
Inviting an active military guest speaker to share current stories relating to the military can be an extremely unique and enlightening experience for residents. With many residents being veterans or married to a veteran, their understanding of what a military person experiences in 2022 may be very different to the reality. Ongoing education has been shown to be extremely important in healthy ageing, and what better way to engage your residents than sharing experiences and creating an open dialogue around their different experiences.
If you enjoyed our list of ANZAC Day activities then be sure to check out our Top 6 Easter Activities for People Living with Dementia.