National Nursing Home Week: A Presidential Playlist

Each year Mother’s Day marks the kickoff to National Nursing Home Week. During the week of May 14-20, 2017, skilled nursing facilities across the country will celebrate under the theme, Spirit of America. National Nursing Home Week was established by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) in 1967 as a way for residents and their loved ones, staff, volunteers, and surrounding communities to recognize the role of skilled nursing care centers in caring for America’s seniors and individuals with disabilities.

This blog post is the first in a seven part series. I have chosen seven different interactive program ideas based around the Spirit of America theme. Each week I will share with you a playlist of songs and some activity ideas for you to use in your facilities or with your loved ones at home to not only celebrate National Nursing Home Week, but to engage with your residents and loved ones. So let’s begin.

mt RushmoreDay One: A Presidential Playlist.

  1. George Washington: George Washington’s Bicentennial March
  2. Thomas Jefferson: Goin’ To Louisiana
  3. James Madison: Battle of New Orleans
  4. Abraham Lincoln: Abraham, Martin and John
  5. Ulysses S. Grant: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
  6. Benjamin Harrison: Goin’ Back to Indiana
  7. William McKinley: White House Blues
  8. Theodore Roosevelt: Teddy Bear
  9. Herbert Hoover: We’d Like to Thank You Herbert Hoover
  10. John Kennedy: The Day John Kennedy Died

Use the following trivia from each song and questions to encourage group discussion:

  1. George Washington’s Bicentennial March: Commissioned for the occasion of George Washington’s bicentennial celebration in 1932, this march was premiered by the combined military bands in Washington, D.C., conducted by Sousa himself.
  2. Goin’ To Louisiana: Thomas Jefferson nearly doubled the size of our country in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase, purchasing 828,000 square miles for $15 million.
  3. Battle of New Orleans: This 1959 country hit recounts the story of the Battle of New Orleans, a key victory for the U.S. in the War of 1812 during Madison’s presidency.
  4. Abraham, Martin and John: In addition to Abraham Lincoln, this song speaks to the deaths of who else?
  5. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down: The final days of the Civil War as told from the Southern perspective.
  6. Goin’ Back to Indiana: Benjamin Harrison is the only president to date to hail from Indiana. After being defeated by Grover Cleveland in 1892, he did in fact “go back to Indiana,” where he retired and became a private citizen.
  7. White House Blues: Recorded in 1926, this banjo-driven track tells the story of the McKinley assassination.
  8. Teddy Bear: Teddy bears get their name from this president. Roosevelt refused to shoot a black bear while on a hunt and became the subject of a famous political cartoon. Inspired by the cartoon, toymaker Morris Mitchtom made a stuffed bear cub and dubbed it “Teddy’s bear”.
  9. We’d Like to Thank You Herbert Hoover: What musical does this song come from? Discuss some of the conditions sung in this song during the depression.
  10. The Day John Kennedy Died: What was the date of his death? Who shot him? Recall where you were when you heard the news that President Kennedy had been shot.


  1. This will be great for our small community, as most of our residents are low functioning, and this is something that they all can do.

  2. Incredible! What important work you do! What a fantastic activity that will connect with both men and women! The memories that will flood back to them or some may simply like the tune. Others will dig deep to bring to the surface things they haven’t thought about in a long time. What a fun and interesting way to engage those we love! Thanks!

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