Affordable Prizes Your Seniors Will Love

By |2018-07-25T18:51:00+00:00February 20, 2018|

What’s a game without prizes? Activity directors lead many games multiple times a week in senior living communities. Games are crucial to a senior’s daily life as they encourage socialization, exercise mental abilities, and are great relationship builders.

Most activity professionals are stuck with minimal budgets, so it’s up to them to be creative with the prizes they offer their residents.

Here are a few prize ideas that might work for your community.

Tangible Items

Everyone loves instant gratification. And winning prizes is certainly exciting, no matter what your age.

When you’re shopping for prizes, get a mix of fun and practical products.

Fun Products: candy, chocolate, chips, greeting cards, books, stuffed animals
Practical Products: toothpaste, toothbrushes, water bottles, lotion, scarves

Sometimes the cost of prizes can add up quickly, so do some research on bargains and coupons at local stores or online, and find value stores that will give you a bang for your buck.

Get Your Money’s Worth: The Dollar Store, the $1 section and deals on the Cartwheel App at Target, Good Will, Housing Works, etc.

Bingo Bucks

Bingo Bucks are pretty standard in the senior living industry. It’s basically play money to use as motivation to win any game – it doesn’t have to be Bingo. They can be used for card games, Connect Four, completing puzzles, you name it.

Let your seniors use their Bingo Bucks to choose their own prizes. Set up a fake prize store for the seniors to purchase prizes with their winnings.

Here’s how:

  1. Decorate an existing storage cart.
  2. Designate a day of the week for when the cart is open for business. “Friday is Bingo Cart Day!”
  3. Play music from the cart to stir up some excitement. Hopefully, this will help prompt seniors’ memories that the “store” is associated with game prizes.
  4. Fill your cart with the tangible items we discussed above: Candy, chips, greeting cards, toiletries, tchotchkes
  5. If you’re feeling extra creative, come up with prize themes. Olympics, the beach, seasonal or holiday themes, etc.

Most of all, have fun with it.


Let’s be honest, everyone loves a little extra cash. Give away nickels, dimes, or quarters as prize money.

If your community takes outings, schedule an outing to the Dollar Store so your seniors can spend their prize money as they wish. For seniors who like to practice their faith, they can also use the prize money to donate at mass.