This is National Assisted Living Week®, an annual celebration highlighting the critical role senior living care teams play every day in the lives of older adults. The theme, “Caring is Essential,” celebrates how healthcare heroes are keeping older adults safe and working hard to keep them socially and physically engaged during a global pandemic.
This year, abundant living looks a little different at United Church Homes. Our teams are getting creative to engage residents while maintaining safe social distancing. Chief among their goals is warding off loneliness and keeping family connections strong through care conferences, virtual and outdoor visits at a time when family and friends must remain at a safe distance.
Because they can’t visit daily, family members may not know the extraordinary measures staff members are taking to care for residents’ physical and emotional needs. Below are a few ways that UCH assisted living staff is making life better for older adults in today’s uncertain world.
Staff throughout United Church Homes communities has stepped up to meet residents’ needs on a higher level this year. When community beauty salons were forced to close, dedicated staff members volunteered on their days off to wash and set residents’ hair and do manicures to keep them looking and feeling their best.
Knowing that music feeds the soul, team members performed solo concerts and sing-a-longs, visiting residents in doorways to keep music and social activity in their lives. They continue to play small group games every week and plan special celebrations and craft projects.
Keeping people moving is one way to stay healthy. While assisted living residents are encouraged to stay at their home communities, staff members have been leading walks and exercise classes in the fresh air. They have moved spiritual services online but increased chaplain visits and one-on-one devotional meetings.
Staff members are even using their extensive Comfort Matters® training to help residents living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related conditions find new ways to connect with family and stay engaged.
Every day is one to celebrate as staff has created musical ice cream trucks to deliver sweet treats and helped families plan socially distanced birthday parties for residents. They’ve brought in local car clubs and musicians to entertain residents outdoors along with family drive-by parades to bring families and residents safely face to face.
Communities have also added meal delivery, transportation and shopping duties to their already long list of care tasks, as they work to keep residents at home and safe this year.
While in-person visits are everyone’s preference, staff ensures residents stay virtually connected to friends and family with dedicated personnel who coordinate virtual and outdoor visits. UCH has been working together to ensure no resident feels alone or isolated and has the emotional support they need during these challenging times. That is a key benefit of choosing an assisted living community when you can no longer manage on your own and may need a little help.
Please join us in celebrating our communities’ assisted living team members and residents. They truly embody the spirit that creates abundant life for older adults everywhere.
Learn more about what life holds at a United Church Homes community.