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Gamiema 31st Jul 2014 Financial Manager
Happy Hour - does anyone have any experience / suggestions / precautions about setting up a happy hour at a retirement centre for dementia?
Katrina 5th Aug 2014 Lifestyle Co-ordinator
Hi Gamiema , i run a happy hour once a month but i do it with entertainment at the same time
we have light beer , wine and soft drinks
and finger food
but you just gotta make sure it does not effect medications
Talita 11th Aug 2014
Hi Gamiema,

You can find some information about running a happy hour on the form on this page:
Kate 12th Aug 2014 leisure&Lifestyle assistant
Our facility has happy hours as well. - they usually have entertainment eg. Harmonica Band, or play music ie: bing Crosby or something later works well kate
Gamiema 22nd Aug 2014 Financial Manager
Thank you very much!
Marissa 9th Sep 2014 Diversional Therapist
Our Happy Hour was organised by one of our residents who found great pleasure in doing so. She organised entertainment and rallied the residents together into the lounge every Friday. Sadly she has passed on so I put together an informal committee who oversee the running of happy hour. We meet every Monday for about 15 mins and go over ideas for upcoming happy hours and talk about how the last one went and how we can improve. Getting the Residents involved helps keep it interesting for them and gives them a sense of accomplishment.
Karen 9th Sep 2014 Lifestyle assistant
We separate the tables into Café style, 4-6 seats per table, tablecloth and centre candle (battery-operated). A few card games on each table for residents. Finger food, background music, lucky door prizes. We also do themed happy hours, eg. middle-eastern theme with belly-dancers display.
MARYANN 19th Sep 2014
It doesn't have to be a BIG THING Happy Hour - just keep it simple - Invite local Artists/Volunteers to play - have a Theme if you like even just background Music - get Care staff involved time for them to step out of their Care Roles and just enjoy a soft drink and chat with Residents - get to know the other side of the residents and the residents get to know them better ( not just the person that showers them).
Residents who are able can assist to prepare snacks - finger food - with this you can incorporate a cooking session for Resident in the am of that day. This gives the Residents something rewarding to look forward too, as they are assisting with the Happy Hour Catering. KEEP IT SIMPLE.
Cathy 29th Sep 2014 Lifestyle Coordinator/ DT
I use non alcoholic wine which is bubbly and "pops" when uncorked. It looks and tastes like the real thing and lots of fun to open.
Also try mock cocktails, recipes are on the "net".
Sharon 30th Sep 2014 RAO
We have happy half hour just before dinner on a Friday (pre dinner drinks). Our residents get a choice of lite beer, soft drink or a cream sherry served in sherry glasses bought from opp shops. This is very popular, especially the sherry, and not too expensive. I am in a High Care Dementia Unit. the residents love it, and is a nice way to end the week. We do not have entertainment, just a reminisce and a social chat.
Janey 3rd Sep 2017 Human Being
I am just a volunteer working to start a happy hour at a nearby nursing facility. The event has been approved and scheduled for the end of this month. I hope to do it monthly.

My question is.....what snacks do residents prefer?

We hope to have beer and wine and mocktails.

I want to make it nice for everyone. Should we have entertainment for the first one or just play CD's from 50's and 60's?

I realize everyone is different, just want to make it special. Anyone got a "theme" suggestion?
Solange 3rd Sep 2017 Diversional Therapist
Hi Janey, play music from the 50s and 60s to listen to and perhaps to sing-along; informal chatting should be encouraged. If you can get hold of a karaoke player it would be good. Match staff/residents to sing together. Songs from Dean Martin, Perry Como, and Frank Sinatra, or any favorite songs from residents. Regarding food, some dips and water crackers, some fruit, beer and shandy and you will have a great Happy Hour. Good luck!
Susan 12th Oct 2017 Diversional Therapist
Hi Janey, I am in a secure Dementia Unit. Our residents LOVE cheese balls. We also alternate the focus - sometimes it is Bubbles (sparking wine), sometimes different beers, or sherry. We usually hold it on a verandah (however we are in North Queensland). We try to limit the numbers to about 15 as this helps encourage good social interaction. It is very popular and residents attending decide on the next happy hours focus.
Christine 17th Oct 2017 Activity Director
I am from Illinois. I work at a rehabilitation and long term care facility. We offer Happy Hour twice a week. When we have a resident admitted to the facility we make sure to get a Dr.'s order for them if they can have alcohol and we serve wine, beer and soda. One day a week we serve cheese and crackers and the other day we do a special snack like potato skins or saucy meatballs or something along those lines. Our residents love it especial our short term residents. And it is one of the largest attended activities that we have other than bingo or entertainment. We also play some music in the background and I will let the residents pick the choice of music every time this way it is definitely something that they like or want to hear. Our happy hour has grown so much that it has now been moved to the largest room we have to accomodate all of our attendees.
Madalena 13th Jan 2018 Activity Coordinator
Hi everyone i will start our Happy hour soon.Hopefully will be as successful as everyone. My idea was to play music .have pub games and chat.And because we have a mixture of residents that cannot drink alcohol i thought on offering non alcoholic drinks with nibbles.

Nori 17th Jan 2018
Wow, such great ideas and suggestions!
My 2 cents: I alternate between weekly "Tuesday Treats" and "Thirsty Thursdays" (depending on my schedule for the month), and offer wine, beer, Irish Cream (by FAR the most popular drink), and sodas, along with almonds, potato chips, and pretzels. I have trivia and a list of general conversation topics in case we need them, but more often than not, my tenants will just converse on their own. I almost ALWAYS have a computer handy, though, because invariably someone will ask a question that leads to us "googling" the answer (for example, "When did 'I Love Lucy' premiere?"). Music is nice, but it depends on the crowd because some folks can't hear well above background noise.
I agree with the suggestion to "Keep it simple." It's nice to just let people relax and enjoy themselves without too much structure and direction from staff. :)

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