Demonstrate Compassion, Community & Caring During National Assisted Living Week®

Author: Debbie Humphrey

It seems rather appropriate that I publish this blog discussing National Assisted Living Week® (NALW), observed beginning September 12-18, 2021, in the middle of this special week of celebration, because Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) and nursing homes have been the center of attention from the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, they have managed to successfully navigate the uncertainties surrounding this deadly virus by doing everything possible to protect their patients, families, staff and volunteers. They are all a special breed of heroes!

The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) established NALW in 1995. This year’s theme is Compassion, Community, Caring , and it specifically “honors the resilient individuals in assisted living communities across the country who worked so hard, went above and beyond, and never gave up during the COVID-19 pandemic,” a media release from the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the NCAL stated.

“This has been an enormous, unprecedented challenge that brought together residents, staff, and everyone in these communities in a way unlike before. Assisted living staff have continued to provide high-quality care to residents in senior living and should be celebrated for the incredible work they do every day,“ the release continued.

“Caregivers in assisted living communities play a critical role in the lives of residents,” said Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of the AHCA and NCAL. “This National Assisted Living Week®, we celebrate and honor the hundreds of thousands of heroes working in assisted living today. They are like family for our residents and have developed deep bonds that enrich everyone’s lives. They truly are the definition of Compassion, Community, and Caring.”

A NALW Facebook post reads, “This #NALW, we thank the more than 450,000 individuals who work in assisted living. They provide Compassion, Community, and Caring to millions of lives every day. Everyone in assisted living is key in helping residents receive the care they need while enjoying life to its fullest.”

One online resource I receive, Golden Carers, has the following 11 suggestions for how we can recognize and celebrate NALW safely:

  • Make Care Packages for Staff
    Create care packages for staff members, packed with a sweet treat and a handwritten note from a resident.
  • Write Handwritten Notes
    Invite family members to write notes or emails about what staff members have meant to them during this difficult time; print these out to post throughout your community as well as read a few during your next (socially distanced) event.
  • Make Homemade Buttons
    Pass out homemade “I Am EssentiAL” buttons to staff members.
  • Create Tie-Dye Masks
    Host a mask tie-dying party where residents and staff members can create a colorful pattern on a cotton mask.
  • Hide Kindness Rocks
    Paint Kindness Rocks with residents that have encouraging or thankful sayings. Then, hide them throughout the community, grounds, and parking lot.
  • Invite Everyone for Lunch
    Order lunch in for your activity team from a favorite restaurant.
  • Eat Ice Cream Together
    Call a community ice cream truck, shaved ice truck, or food truck for staff members to enjoy in the parking lot.
  • Write Gratitude Messages
    Have residents write down statements of gratitude for staff members and hang them throughout the staff lounge or nursing station.
  • Contact Your Local Paper
    Call your local paper and offer to write a story about your community’s celebrations in honor of the week.
  • Feature Staff on Social Media
    Highlight a few staff members each day of the week on social media.
  • Invite an Entertainer
    Coordinate a safe event featuring a favorite entertainer in person (outside) or via teleconference app.

After such a grueling year, I want to emphasize the importance of doing something to recognize and celebrate ALFs in our communities and all of the special people associated with them. In consideration of the Delta variant, though, I think it is just as important to maintain public health measures and specific precautions for the safety and well-being of ALF residents, staff and volunteers. In so doing, we will certainly be demonstrating Compassion, Community, and Caring to them.

If you or a special senior loved one resides in an ALF, but they have no family to visit them or offer personal care, I offer a FREE Consultation to discuss how a Home Helpers® compassionate caregiver can safely visit them or provide to monitor and address specific needs. A personalized, comprehensive care plan will help make their life a little easier, as well as the lives of overworked ALF staff.

Home Helpers® proudly provides assistance to male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Contact me today to learn more about the many services offered through Home Helpers® We are Making Life Easier. 727.942.2539


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