Prior to working in Assisted Living, I was of the mindset that most people in their golden years just sit around crocheting and rocking in chairs. While both of these activities are wonderful in their own right…I have come to find that this is not even close to the way that senior citizens pass the time. Quite the contrary, I have found that many members of our communities have yet to slow down. Their vigor and zest for life is inspiring to those around them.
Take for example one of our precious ladies that currently moved to our property from Florida. She has the sweetest smile and loves to sew. But she’s not just your typical lady that can thread a needle a run a stitch or two. No, this philanthropy driven woman makes blankets practically every day for the organization Project Linus. The organization’s mission is to “provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer blanketeers.” Such an amazing inspiration to see individuals using their talents for the greater good and not letting age be a barrier or an excuse.
This giving attitude is what set the tone for our communities as we decided how we wanted to celebrate National Assisted Living Week 2016. So many churches, clubs and individuals donate their time and energies to our residents throughout the year. So when asked what they wanted to do for National Assisted Living Week…many residents stated that they wanted to give back! So as you peruse our Facebook pages, checkout our residents reading to local school children or having lunches with our First Responders. Let their dynamic attitudes and giving spirits be an encouragement and inspiration for us all.
Check out www.projectlinus.org
Naturally we all want to keep connected with our loved ones. That is one way we stay rooted in who we are and where we came from. This year the theme for National Assisted Living Week 2016 is Keep Connected. I think the original context that they planned the theme to represent was to explain how exciting it is to see our senior communities making such great use of the new technologies that are available to be connected on multiple levels. But being connected to an Assisted Living community can be that…and so much more!
Social Media and Beyond
I have had multiple family members of residents in our communities tell me how wonderful it is to see their loved ones smiling faces on social media. Some of these family members live across the country and it means so much to them to see their loved one engaged in an activity with a smile on their face. While it is important to remember that communities must follow certain protocols when taking and posting photographs including permission forms, etc. It still can be a wonderful resource of CONNECTION! I had to laugh recently when I had a resident ask me, “How many likes did my picture get on the computer?” I seriously almost fell out of my chair when he told me that he thought his picture might blow up Facebook! The “senior set” really like the idea of their picture reaching out to their loved ones and are thrilled when I share with them the comments they receive on the posts from friends and family near and far.
Another wonderful thing about working in this industry is that you have wonderful volunteers and people that want to show love to those that live in our communities. I am constantly asked “what can we do” or “what can we bring” that the residents’ might like? So with National Assisted Living Week right around the corner…here are some suggestions for you to KEEP CONNECTED.
Food items are always nice. Everyone loves a treat right?? But remember that there will be folks in the communities that may be diabetics so if possible, bring a sugar free option. Fruit is always an easy choice. If you have a group or club that wants to do something, consider coming onsite to do a project WITH the residents. We have seen everything from sewing clubs, dominoes and Skip-Bo card groups to painting door hangers. A popular activity that residents typically love is changing out seasonal flowers in containers outside the building. Sure some may want to just observe. But trust me…you will probably have some that will want to get their hands dirty with you.
The best way to connect is by giving the thing that doesn’t cost a dime…TIME! Sharing a cup of coffee or talking and traveling down memory lane is a fabulous way to connect with the folks in a community. Never underestimate the value of sharing a laugh. Taking the time to share and listen to memories will result in the CONNECTION and creation of your own.