Fittingly, Grandparents’ Day marks the beginning of Assisted Living Week, which beings this year on September 8th and runs through the 14th. It is a wonderful time to celebrate the employees and residents that make up your community. But “community” also extends beyond the front door–your community-at-large may include volunteers from an area school, local businesses and service providers which support your residents, and family members near and far. This year, we’re encouraging California Assisted Living providers to Connect with Your Community by celebrating all the people which make Assisted Living an enriching and supportive place to live. Here are some ideas to help you brainstorm your own Assisted Living Week celebrations:
Connect with Your Community through Art
Art can be transformative, cathartic, and collaborative. It can spur conversation, inspire emotion, and be a cause of celebration for both artist and viewer. What’s more: the appreciation or creation of art is an ageless activity. Here are some ways that the creativity of your residents can be celebrated during Assisted Living Week:
- Organize an intergenerational art workshop like the one involving Eskaton residents and elementary students, then host an exhibition for friends and family members.
- Residents can also submit one piece of art to CALA’s art show, California Inspires!, which will be exhibited at the State Capitol during Assisted Living Week.
- For those that would rather view art than create it, you can put together a museum day similar to those organized by ARTZ: Artists for Alzheimer’s.
Connect with Your Community Leaders
During this week, the nation will also be observing the anniversary of 9/11. What better way to observe both than by hosting those that protect your community and keep your residents safe? Here are some great ideas for celebrating community leadership during Assisted Living Week:
- Invite fire and emergency personnel to a meal at your community, like Lakeside Park’s omelet breakfast for Oakland-area first responders.
- Connect with your policymakers…host your legislator at your community during Assisted Living Week.
- Go where the community leaders are and give a Voice of Assisted Living speech at a local meeting or event.
Connect with Your Community’s Volunteers & Employees
Do you have a special event planned for residents and their grandchildren? Why not invite the children of employees and volunteers to join in the fun? Assisted Living Week is a great time to honor those who interact with residents each day. Here are some other ideas to celebrate what makes your community great:
- Host a silly competition for employees and volunteers, like Sunrise of Fair Oaks’ “Crazy Hat Contest.”
- Take advantage of this special week to honor volunteers and employees with a symbol of appreciation, and invite family members to attend the ceremony.
- If you partner with a local school on a volunteer program, organize a resident trip to the campus, where residents can share oral histories with students.
Connect with Your Community through Social Media
According to Pew Research, 67% of adults are active on social media. Why not get your residents in on the action during Assisted Living Week? Social media can help promote positive views of aging and keep residents connected to a global community. Here are some great ways to get social:
- Hold a technology workshop to teach residents about video formats like Skype and Google Hangout which can help them stay connected with family members who live far away.
- Get employees and residents involved in ALFA’s #DEFINEOLDER Facebook campaign.
- Feeling bold? Create a viral video for YouTube like this Assisted Living community’s version of the Harlem Shake.
If you are planning a special event for Assisted Living week, we want to know! Tell us what you’ve got planned in the comments below, and email details and pictures to Katie Cappello.