Despite the pandemic and the various reasons to stay forlorn, you should always find that one bright spot to make every day a cheerful one—and this September, you will have a week-long reason to be happy.
Aside from Grandparent’s Day, September also bears another festivity that needs to be celebrated—the National Assisted Living Week 2020.
September 13 to 19 is this year’s week to honor the essential role of assisted living communities in the lives of senior American citizens.
An assisted living facility is a living option for seniors who need assistance, support and care to continue their everyday lives. It is a safe space for the older generation who does not have the option to age in place. Most facilities offer:
- Living spaces and accommodations
- Assistance in basic needs
- Medical care and services (additional)
- Physical, social, and mental activities
Assisted living facilities have been giving service and care to almost 70% of the older adult population for the past decades.
Although the celebration had been officially started in 1995, assisted living facilities had long been operating even before that.
Now, it is time to give back to the tremendous help that assisted facilities offer and to the people and their families.
Gather everyone—the residents, their families, facility staff, and caregivers—and commemorate this week by hosting a week-long event filled with fun and happiness.
Here are some quarantine and social distancing-friendly ideas to celebrate the assisted living week 2020.
Fun and Games
Start the week by planning a day of fun games and activities for senior residents, staff, and caregivers. Your facility can host:
- An afternoon of arts and crafts by partnering staff members with senior residents.
- Make greeting cards for your partner (a staff and a resident), and each will share what they like about each other the most.
- Prepare games wherein teams should consist of a mixture of both staff and residents.
- Solve puzzles, play charades, and or host a community bingo.
- Karaoke night
These activities will help residents and staff connect with each other. It is a way to strengthen their bond and make them know that both roles are equally important to one another.
Enjoy a Picnic
Another exciting activity for everyone to enjoy is an outdoor community picnic. Set up blankets and picnic tables in a spacious outdoor location within the facility’s premises.
Invite residents and staff’s families and loved ones to this event. You can all practice social distancing while still enjoying the picnic and each other’s company.
For foods and drinks, your facility can employ a catering service so that everyone, even the cooking staff, can enjoy the day without responsibilities to attend to.
You can also set up a video presentation to reminisce about community memories and notable moments.
Watching movies or live theater performances together can help build a stronger relationship and provide everyone with a mental time-out.
Throw a movie night for the entire senior community and staff. To give them the whole movie theater experience, you can print out movie tickets, hand out popcorns, and play the movie using a widescreen projector.
Pick a light movie that everyone can relate to. You can screen a rom-com, comedy, or an animated film like “Up.”
Have a group discussion right after the movie so everyone can share their thoughts and insights about what transcended in the film.
Health and Wellness Event
Everyone is in quarantine and might need a little bit of blood-pumping activity. So why not throw a health and wellness event for both residents and staff?
You can hire a Zumba instructor or a fitness expert that can offer a live workout session for everyone. Let the experts structure a senior-friendly workout routine.
You can also host sports activities and invite professional coaches to help seniors be familiar with the sport of their choice. The kinds of sports you can include are:
- Swimming (if the community has a pool)
- Table Tennis
Make sure that everyone gets to pick a sport that they want to participate in, even the elderly with mobility issues.
Another way to kick off the assisted living week 2020 event is to throw a cooking festival. Every resident can partner up with staff or caregivers and help each other make a healthy dish of their choice.
Then after everyone is done baking and cooking their favorite dish, you can surprise the residents by having their family come over to enjoy each dish they made.
Of course, everyone should practice social distancing, especially those guests that came from other places.
If visitors and guests are not allowed, then you can organize a virtual event where residents can meet with their families online and show them the dish they prepared.
Most people have limited knowledge, if any, about the importance of assisted living communities. In fact, not everyone is aware of its role in the community, much less its existence.
To spread awareness, you can:
- Create an online blog post detailing the basics and role of assisted living facilities in the community.
- Tell family, friends, and co-workers about it so everyone can share it on different social networking sites.
- Make a fun video featuring the residents in your community, the staff members, and caregivers.
- Organize an online outreach program where anyone can sign up and be a volunteer for a day in your facility. Those who cannot volunteer can also donate in cash or kind.
Bake Sale for a Cause
Organize a bake sale outside your assisted living facility and sell pastries and cakes baked by residents and staff.
Make it safe by having customers stand six or seven feet apart from each other while wearing face masks and face shields.
Have some of the resident’s family volunteer in helping out in the bake sale. You can also create and give out brochures to customers to raise awareness about the significance of senior living facilities.
The money earned in the bake sale can be used to better the facility or to fund its other needs.