How to Run a Mock Auction for a Nursing Home Activity

Run a Mock Auction for a Nursing Home Activity
Gifts by Rachel Doyle, Top Photo by Laura Ammons,

If you visit loved ones in a nursing home or volunteer at one, if you run out of ideas for special activities, try this mock auction. It's especially nice to do this right before Christmas so that the residents have a chance to bid for gifts which they can keep or give as gifts.

Visit your local dollar store and purchase items to be auctioned. Some examples of items would be things like hand lotion. hairbrushes, nail kits, powder, picture frames, socks, figurines, pictures, and some simple jewelry.

Put up colorful posters around the home advertising the auction. Tell people the date, time, and location. Also mention that it's free to all residents and that if families are able to donate new items they should contact the activity department.

Wrap all the gifts in wrapping paper with a tag saying whether the gift is for a male, female, or either gender.

Hand each resident at the auction a set amount of play money. You could give each one a thousand dollars and start the bidding low on each gift, or a much larger amount of play money and start the bidding higher. Make sure when you show the wrapped gift you let the residents know the gender for which it's intended.

The auctioneer should act loud and excited and give clear directions to the residents. Explain how they can indicate a bid and what the gavel means when the last bid is given.

If a resident wins a gift and doesn't want the item, suggest giving it to a family member as a present. Also suggest that they can trade gifts with other residents or take it back and give them a different wrapped gift.


Make sure the residents understand that it's play money and they are free to bid as much as they want.

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