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September 13-19: National Assisted Living Week (NALW)

The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) has declared September 13 – 19 National Assisted Living Week. The week-long observance recognizes the important role that assisted living centers play in the lives of seniors. The week is also an opportunity for assisted living centers to engage residents with a variety of activities and events. The theme for 2015 is “Nourishing Life: Mind, Body, and Spirit”, which seeks to keep residents active and healthy in all three areas.

Nourishing the Mind

According to the NCAL, nearly 40% of assisted living residents are living with some form of dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s disease. As such, it is important to stimulate residents’ minds with some form of activity. Playing a simple game of chess, putting together a jigsaw puzzle, or holding a poker tournament are all simple and fun ways in which residents can keep their brains functioning at a high level. Seniors have encountered life experiences than younger generations have not. The NCAL suggests inviting residents to share these experiences with students and even caretakers. Residents will enjoy reminiscing about their younger days and sharing their wisdom.

Nourishing the Body

“Nourishing the Body” entails showing residents the importance of healthy eating and active living. The NCAL suggests hosting events for residents that are centered around nutrition. This can include cooking classes offering healthy alternatives to typically unhealthy foods.

The NCAL also suggests events that celebrate cuisines from different cultures. Although food is a basic necessity, combining it with music and entertainment can help keep residents entertained and properly educated on healthy eating habits.

“Nourishing the Body” also incorporates proper exercise and staying active. The NCAL encourages centers to communicate the value of regular exercise to its residents. There are plenty of ways for residents with disabilities to participate too, such as chair yoga and Tai Chi.

Nourishing the Spirit

Nourishing the Spirit is all about boosting the morale and mood of residents on a regular basis. From musical performances to comedy shows, there are countless ways in which centers can keep their residents positive. Many seniors have lost their spouse and have distant or few family members to visit them. Thus, there is a need for centers to keep residents optimistic and in tune with their creative self. Keeping residents engaged through activities such as knitting, arts and crafts and gardening can go a long way towards “Nourishing the Spirit.”

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