National Assisted Living Week
According to the National Center for Assisted Living there are more than 28,000 assisted living residences across the country that more than one million people call home. These centers provide housing, medical care, meals, and social activities for their residents.
One a year residents and staff come together to highlight the importance of these facilities across the country in what is known as National Assisted Living Week.
When is National Assisted Living Week?
This year, National Assisted Living Week is from Sunday, September 9 – Saturday, September 15th. The theme is Capture the Moment.
What is an Assisted Living Community?
Before you can recognize National Assisted Living Week you need to first understand what assisted living encompasses.
Assisted living communities are for those seniors who want an independent lifestyle but who may still need assistance for their individual needs. In these communities residents should feel like they’re independent but still have the peace of mind knowing that their specific daily needs are met. These daily needs include things like meals, dressing, bathing, help with medication, transportation and personal mobility.
Most assisted living communities also provide (at extra cost) housekeeping, access to health services, Alzheimer’s care, personal laundry service, and social and recreational activities. Communities typically consist of apartments of 25 to 120 units from single rooms to full apartments. Some are even in subdivided houses with live-in staff. They can be operated by non-profits or for-profit companies.
What is National Assisted Living Week?
In 1995, the National Center for Assisted Living designated one week in September as National Assisted Living Week. Although the dates change each year, it always kicks off on Grandparent’s Day which is always the first Sunday in September after Labor Day.
During that entire week, the role of assisted living communities across the country is highlighted. There are special events planned for staff, volunteers and residents. Assisted living centers also use this time to educate the public about the services they provide and why so many families find them important.
Each year a different theme is chosen for the week. Past themes have included “Family is Forever”, “Homemade Happiness”, and “Keep Connected”. Logos are also created to go along with the words of the theme and merchandise with both the theme and logo is available. Activities planned around each theme are held every year for both staff and residents.
National Assisted Living Week Events
Although the events vary each year with the theme, the fact that it begins on Grandparent’s Day provides an important stepping stone. The importance of family and tradition is often highlighted on this day. Besides the residents’ own family members, an emphasis is also put on the fact that those who live and work in assisted living facility also create their own family.
Caregivers often form bonds with residents that can never be broken. For many residents who either lost family members or whose family members live far away, the assisted living staff becomes even more vital and the only family they truly know. Activities centered on the theme of family include:
- During National Assisted Living Week, staff often works with residents to create a family tree that can be shared.
- Other art projects often include the drawing of family portraits as well as asking residents to bring out old family photos. They often share these with other residents and with family members who may visit.
- Activities to help residents get to know each other better are also planned.
- Assisted living centers also invite family to come in and discuss any ideas they may have to improve services. Some facilities also offer educational events to inform families about diseases their loved ones may be dealing with.
During National Assisted Living Week the hard work and dedication of staff members is also recognized. Many times luncheons or other events will be held to honor staff.
If you have a family member who lives at an assisted living facility be sure to take part in National Assisted Living Week every year. While you may think you know everything about the facility, you may be surprised to learn interesting facts about the services provided and the staff.