This week, May 12th – May 18th, marks the commencement of National Nursing Home Week. This holiday—more formally known as “National Skilled Nursing Care Week”, or NSNCW—was first established by the American Health Care Association in 1967, the organization’s intent being to inspire recognition for caregivers, families, staff, volunteers, and residents at long-term care and assisted living facilities across the nation.
This weekly observance occurs annually each May. Late last year, The American Health Care Association announced that the theme for this years’ NSNCW would be “Live Soulfully” remarking, “The theme ‘Live Soulfully’ will celebrate skilled nursing centers, their residents, and staff, by showcasing how they achieve happy minds and healthy souls. Whether it’s planting, cooking, reading or listening to music, these centers pay it forward by helping individuals find happiness to improve quality of life.” (source)
Below are a few suggestions of how you can give back in honor of National Nursing Home Week.
- Volunteer Your Services
Care Facilities are almost always looking for more volunteers. To get involved, all you need to do is call an assisted living facility and inquire as to how you can be of help to their community. Oftentimes, volunteering can be as simple as visiting with residents. Nursing homes rely on volunteers to interact with their residents. They need volunteers to provide company for residents and assist in hosting dances, card games, and bingo nights. Activities run by volunteers are an integral part of bringing the feeling of home to the nursing home. In fact, federal law requires any hospice receiving financial support from Medicare or Medicaid to have at least 5 percent of the care provided to residents done through volunteer workers. (source)
- Perform for a Local Care Facility
Do you have a special talent? Do you play guitar? Sing? Dance? Contact a nursing home in your area to ask how you can share your gifts with their residents. Many folks living in assisted care facilities aren’t able to travel freely without assistance but still appreciate live performances. Consider cutting out the middleman by bringing the show to them.
- Make a Donation
If you are unable to donate your time or skills to care facilities, don’t fret; you can still be of help by making a donation to nursing homes in your area. Aside from monetary donations, care institutions are always accepting material donations such as cards and stationary, large print books, puzzles and board games, and arts and craft supplies. These items can greatly aid in the entertainment of residents. (source)
Remember, you can always help out nursing homes and assisted living facilities in your area, regardless of whether or not it’s National Nursing Home Week by making giving back to these communities a year-round activity.
written by Hallie Morrow