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National Assisted Living Week® 2022

Discover National Assisted Living Week. Seniorly celebrates with gifts and appreciation for this week established by the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL).

By Lydia Bruno · Updated Jan 20, 2023
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What is National Assisted Living Week?

National Assisted Living Week® (NALW) is an annual event that was established in 1995 by the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL). This event, which starts on Grandparent’s Day, provides residents, their loved ones, and staff members of assisted living communities across America a unique opportunity to celebrate what assisted living means for seniors and those with disabilities. This year the week starts on September 11th and goes through the 17th. The main goal of this special week is to educate members of the public about assisted living and long-term care as well as celebrate those who serve in the assisted living communities. During this period a variety of events and activities will take place. ​

This year’s theme “Joyful Moments” honors the families, residents, assisted living staff, and the assisted living communities and allows them to come together and make memorable times and joyful memories together with both the big and small moments in life. 

How assisted living started

Assisted living seems like it has been around for a long time now, but it is a relatively new concept. In today’s society, a senior living facility is unlike the institutionalized setting that once came to mind when you heard the term “nursing home.” Assisted living has come a long way over the years. 

The 1970s were a time when senior care had not yet evolved, and there were only two options for seniors who needed assistance: hire medical professionals like visiting nurses or rely on family caregivers to provide them with home-based help. 

In the mid-1970s Dr. Keren Brown was finding ways to take care of her elderly mother as she was aging. Dr. Brown is known as the founder of assisted living as she worked to examine the negatives of nursing homes and find ways to improve them with things such as private bathrooms and more privacy. Realizing that seniors still need their independence while receiving the level of care they require, she created assisted living to help seniors remain independent and receive the care they need.

In 1981 Park Place in Portland, Oregon opened up. It is known to be the first modern assisted living facility. It offered private rooms, private bathrooms, 24-hour staffing for medical issues, and common areas for social gatherings all thanks to Dr. Brown. 

How to observe #AssistedLivingWeek

Whether you visit an assisted living community or celebrate with a loved one, there are so many ways to celebrate National Assisted Living Week®. 

Each year there is a theme that makes it easy to incorporate into activities with an assisted living community and their residents. If you are volunteering or visiting, find out what makes the residents happy and plan events around their ideas. Make sure to get the residents involved so they can get excited about the scheduled events. 

If you are doing something in your community make sure to use #AssistedLivingWeek to share on social media. 

National Assisted Living Week activity ideas

There’s no shortage of fun activities you can do to keep your loved one busy and engaged in an assisted living community. It can often feel isolating living apart from friends and family but these ideas will help them feel connected, recognized, and gives them an opportunity to enjoy themselves. Here are a few ideas for some fun activities for the residents and the staff.

Plan an outing. A picnic would be a great way to kick off the NALW week. Invite friends and family to your loved one’s assisted living community. If your loved one is more mobile make sure that you choose a place that is easy for them to navigate. 

Cook dinner. Either before the picnic or in lieu of a picnic, sit down with your loved one and see if they have a favorite recipe they like to make. Taking the time to cook together and learn a new recipe is both beneficial for both of you and a great way to spend quality time together. 

Adopt a resident. If you don’t have any elderly family members go adopt one for the week. Get in contact with a local assisted living community and have them connect you with a resident. This will not only make them feel special but it allows you to give back to your community as well. 

Make a care package for the staff. Let the staff know how much they are appreciated by putting together a care package with sweet treats and a handwritten note from the residents. 

Invite everyone for lunch. Order lunch in for the residents and their favorite staff members to enjoy a meal together. 

Write thank you notes to the staff. Have the residents write down what they are thankful for and give them to staff members to hang around the staff lounge or nursing stations. 

Host entertainment. Hire an entertainer to come in person or via Zoom and delight everyone with a performance. 

Contact your local paper. Submit your story about your community’s celebration in honor of National Assisted Living Week®. 

National Assisted Living Week gift ideas

The best gifts are those which show how much you care. Show your appreciation for your parent, grandparent, or other loved one that is in assisted living. You can also show the staff your appreciation for their hard work with a gift. Here are some thoughtful ways to say thank you. 

  • Your time. The best gift you can give someone is being present in the moment and spending time with your loved one. 
  • Photo albums. Photo albums to share photos of your life and experiences with your loved ones or even maybe a photo album dedicated to them.
  • Plan a date. Spending time together is so important no matter if it is National Assisted Living Week® or not. If your loved one is mobile then take them out to dinner and a movie. If they need to stay in then have dinner with them and watch a movie on TV. 
  • Frame a photo. Print out a photo of your loved one and their favorite caregiver to show appreciation and thanks to the caregiver. Bonds are often formed with residents, so this would be a lovely gift. 
  • Gift certificates. Give the staff the gift of energy by sending them a coffee gift certificate. They are sure to love this gift. 

It is possible that some communities may not allow gifts or if they do they have to be under a certain amount. Make sure to check first. There are plenty of other ways like baking a favorite dish or ordering lunch that can be done for the caregivers. 

Check out our article on tips and ideas for care packages for seniors for more gift ideas.

Discover assisted living options

NALW is an opportunity to celebrate the great work these communities do. These groups are often underappreciated, and it's important that we recognize them and the people who make the communities work. 

It may be hard to understand the importance of assisted living if you or your loved ones have not needed special care. But at some point, we will all need the help. NAWL provides opportunities to start discussions about long-term care options for you and your loved ones.

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written by:
Lydia Bruno

Lydia Bruno

Copywriter for Seniorly, with 5+ years experience in professional caregiving and senior housing

To learn more about Seniorly's editorial guidelines, click here.

View other articles written by Lydia

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