Celebrating Senior Living & Caring – National Nursing Home Week

Each year, care communities celebrate long term care facilities and professionals who provide care to older adults with week long activities in their facilities.

This is a great opportunity to learn that the many advances in person-centered care have made caring for seniors different than we may believe — they are not our grandma’s nursing homes anymore!

Nursing homes are places where seniors not only get hands on, around the clock care from skilled healthcare professionals, but are also places where friendships develop, activities are shared and memories are made.

More and more, they are a real home away from home for seniors and welcoming to family caregivers.

Facilities try to include family members in the treatment plan as part of the care team but also the fun times.

National Nursing Home Week

National Nursing Home Week is celebrated annually around Mother’s Day in May, each year with a different theme to honor seniors and the professionals who care for them.

The American Health Care Association (AHCA), which advocates quality care in nursing homes across the nation, promotes events in nursing homes and rehab facilities to thank the caring professionals who make a difference in the life of seniors every day of the year through this annual national observance.

According to the AHCA, the annual theme is designed to be a rallying cry to bring caregivers, seniors and staff together in a positive way to highlight achievements and promote a positive image for nursing homes and other long term facilities.

It affords senior facilities the opportunity to spread the message of the improvements and good care that these local facilities give in the community.

Seniors and the Team Caring For & About Them

Residents, family members, employees and volunteers are included in the honors. The activities during this week are meant to bring everyone together to share experiences and fun!

It takes a team to provide a caring, nurturing, learning and growing environment that enriches the lives of our seniors.

Facilities across the nation have planned special activities for residents, families, and staff during Nursing Home Week. You may read about some of the activities in your local newspaper.

Events planned in line with the annual theme include cookouts, ice cream parties, writing to pen pals, poetry readings, reminiscing, sharing life stories, marking history with a veteran, music, senior prom, sharing family photos, quilting, prayer groups, mother’s day activities, staff appreciation, and much more fun.

“It takes being there—seeing and hearing life around you—to appreciate how ‘enriching’ occurs in a long term care setting, from nursing homes to post-acute care to assisted living facilities. Caregivers help enrich everyday with small acts of kindness and help residents  overcome the many obstacles and infirmities of age and disability”~AHCA.

Caregivers’ Role in Long Term Care

Family caregivers continue to have an important role when their senior loved ones live in a long term care facility.

Your role doesn’t end when they enter a facility.

You are part of the care team, even though you no longer provide hands on care and need to be an advocate for your loved one.

Your continued presence in the life of your senior loved one is very important to their quality of life and peace of mind.

What can you do?

  • Visit your senior often, sit with them, hold hands, and reminisce about family memories
  • Offer help when needed with activities of daily living like grooming, tooth brushing or putting on shoes
  • Participate in care team meetings and be an advocate for quality care
  • Support the care plan, don’t do things that would undermine your senior’s health such as bring in foods not on the diet plan or allow your loved one to do something that might be unsafe while you visit
  • Stay involved
  • Support the staff, tell them about your senior including their likes, dislikes and habits so they can give the best individual care
  • Attend events in the facility such as the activities of National Nursing Home Week
  • Bring donations as able when asked such as holiday needs
  • Volunteer to help activities and fundraising when needed
  • Remember to thank your healthcare staff for their caring
  • Spread the good word through your community about your loved one’s facility and the care they give

So, the time is here to thank all those special individuals who help our seniors stay independent of mind and body.

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If you would like to add your thanks here, please feel free to comment.