National Assisted Living Week – Sept. 7-13, 2014

national assisted living week

September 7th through the 13th is National Assisted Living Week. This event was established by the National Center for Assisted Living in 1995 as a way for families of assisted living residents, their caregivers and the staff to come together and show our aging loved ones how much we care for them.

Making the transition to an assisted living facility can be difficult for both the senior citizen and the caregiver. It’s a time of change for everyone involved, and your loved one may fear losing the independence he or she is used to, or might be worried about being neglected by friends and family members once settled into their new living situation.

To ease your loved one’s fears, you should be sure to make frequent visits as they are getting adjusted to their new home.  You can still encourage their independence, but help them get involved socially.

National Assisted Living Week was created as a reminder that we should make our aging loved ones a priority in our lives every day. The NCAL wanted to establish an opportunity for residents and their families, the assisted living facility staff and volunteers and the surrounding community to come together to share a variety of activities and events with the residents.

The theme of National Assisted Living Week for 2014 is “The Magic of Music.” Music spans across the generations and can bring joy to those of all ages. It touches our lives, comforts us, and can fill our heart with love and memories. Music has that magical power to remind us of the best times of our lives, and its ability to stay with us through the aging process is something that has been long studied and recognized.

It’s also been proven that for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, music can have a soothing effect and even trigger long dormant memories. Studies have shown that music can reduce agitation and improve cognitive function and behavioral function. Even those with more severe symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, those who have lost their memories of their loved ones or their surroundings, when played a favorite song they were able to recite it word for word!

During National Assisted Living Week, take a moment to reach out to your aging loved one through the magic of music. Ask them about songs from their past; discuss music that was popular during their lives, what they used to dance to, what their wedding song was, etc. Encourage your loved one to share their memories of their favorite song.  Listen to it with them and watch how they are transported back in time.

As Plato said: “Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.”  Enjoy connecting with your loved one this week through the power of music.

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