The festive season is here again!
Have you been tasked with planning your office Christmas party, your friend group’s end-of-year get-together or the annual family celebration? From small backyard gatherings to grand affairs, it’s important to ensure that your plans are inclusive and accessible, by taking into account guests with disabilities, and specific needs, as well as those who are older.
Accessibility should never be an afterthought.
Our Focused Health Care team understands the importance of thoughtful planning when it comes to disability accessibility. With years of experience in providing care, we’ve put together this 5 step guide to help you make your Christmas party an accessible, inclusive and enjoyable experience for everyone.
Step 1: Choose your venue
Arguably, one of the most important considerations when talking about accessibility is choosing your venue carefully.
It doesn’t matter if you’re planning a grand affair at a beautiful venue or a cozy gathering at home, the first step in creating an inclusive environment for all, is choosing an accessible space.
When you’re searching for the perfect venue, look for venues with ramps or elevators rather than stairs. Depending on the needs of your guests you might also need to check the suitability of bathrooms for wheelchair access and ensure there are power points available for charging motorised wheelchairs or assistive devices if required.
It’s also important to consider proximity to public transport and parking options. Alternatively, you might choose to arrange accessible transport for guests with mobility challenges so that your party is easy for all to attend.
If you’re hosting your party at home, remember to reserve a parking space that is close to the entrance and safe for guests with accessibility needs.
Step 2: Send out your invitations
Sending out your invitations is your opportunity to make thoughtful inquiries about accessibility requirements. This proactive approach to inclusivity allows your guests to communicate their specific needs, whether they may be disability accessibility, dietary requirements, sensory sensitivities or other.
Now you have the chance to make the necessary adjustments and role model your commitment to providing an inclusive event for all.
Step 3: Arrange a flexible seating plan
It’s important to accommodate your guests who have specific needs by providing flexibility in your seating arrangements.
This may involve ensuring there is enough space between tables and chairs to allow for easy navigation, providing a space for support animals or remembering to seat hearing or vision-impaired guests towards the front if you’re planning a presentation.
Step 4: Plan your menu
Of course, no holiday celebration would be complete without a festive feast, and planning an inclusive and accessible celebration involves preparing for diverse dietary requirements.
Whether you’re hiring a fancy caterer or baking your own Christmas treats it’s important to keep everyone’s needs in mind.
It’s a good idea to offer a variety of food options with a choice of soft diet, vegan, vegetarian, as well as options that are gluten, nut and dairy free.
You might find it helpful to label dishes with clear indications of the ingredients included, so that guests with allergies or dietary restrictions can navigate the food choices confidently.
Step 5: Make sensory considerations
While the bright lights and loud noise of a big gathering might be fun for some of us, others may find it a little overwhelming. It’s important to watch out for sensory overload.
It may be useful to set up a quiet space for guests with sensory sensitivities, or anyone who just needs to take a break from the festivities. Providing a balance between lively entertainment with a peaceful retreat ensures everyone can participate in the celebration at their own pace.
It’s also important to remember accessibility and inclusivity when planning activities. While you might be keen to bust a move on the dance floor, some may prefer a slower pace.
Planning activities that everyone can enjoy together is a great way to ensure everyone feels comfortable and included. Some fun options could include bingo, karaoke or trivia.
How can Focused Health Care help?
As you finalise your Christmas plans, remember that Focused Health Care is here to offer transportation or support to those who might need a hand to attend functions.
Give us a call to connect with the support needed to ensure every guest can join in on the Christmas cheer. With a little thoughtful planning, let’s make this holiday season a time of joy and inclusivity for all.
*All information is general and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Focused Health Care can consult with you regarding your individual health needs.