Back in 1995, The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) established Assisted Living Week as a way to recognize the role assisted living communities play in caring for seniors and those with disabilities throughout the United States. The goal was not only to educate society about what assisted living is, but also to encourage assisted living communities to celebrate their residents through a variety of activities and events.
As part of the American Health Care Association (AHCA), the NCAL is dedicated to serving the needs of the assisted living community through national advocacy and education, as well as networking, professional development and quality initiatives. Their vision is to promote “high-quality, principle-driven assisted living care and services with a steadfast commitment to excellence, innovation and the advancement of person-centered care.”
National Assisted Living Week 2016: Keep Connected
We are in the middle of National Assisted Living Week right now, as it runs in 2016 from September 11th through the 17th. The theme this year is “Keep Connected”, which not only recognizes the new ways technology can impact the lives of seniors, but also to remind us that staying in touch and maintaining relationships is key to healthy aging.
Innovations in technology help keep residents safe, healthy and connected to those they care about most. Sometimes, seniors might fear learning new technology, but the Keep Connected campaign encourages assisted living communities to use the latest communication tools to help residents stay engaged in the world around them.
Technology for Seniors: The Benefits
The use of technology is increasing for those age 65 and older. In fact, research reveals that seniors are going online more and more these days to reconnect with people from their past and to build relationships with their grandchildren. In 2005, for example, only 2% of older adults were using social media, but by 2015 that number rose to 35%. Seniors are also going online to read news, send email, play games, and much more.
Older adults can benefit from technology in numerous ways. First of all, the social connection technology provides, especially when loved ones are not geographically nearby, is extremely important. While technology cannot replace in-person interaction, social media, email and video chat services can help supplement some of that interaction when it is needed most.
Secondly, physical and mental well-being can be enhanced by taking in part in activities like playing video games, especially on a Nintendo Wii system. The body gets moving and the brain is engaged, plus seniors can enjoy extra social interaction with their peers when the games are enjoyed in a group setting. Playing online brain games also can help boost memory and cognition.
Technology also plays a large role in the safety of assisted living residents. Assisted living communities utilize technology to provide higher quality care, whether through health monitoring, medication management, being able to communicate more efficiently with health providers, and offering emergency response systems to keep residents safe 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
American Senior Communities offers innovative assisted living with services that are tailored to the needs of the individual. Find a location near you today.