Compassion, Community, Caring: National Assisted Living Week 2021
Announced last May as the COVID-19 pandemic created evolving, ongoing challenges for assisted living facilities, this year’s National Assisted Living Week theme is Compassion, Community, and Caring.
As soon as the theme was announced, we immediately thought of our clients, of their resilient staff who show up every day, redoubling their commitment to compassion, community, and caring in every word, action, and deed.
In honor of this celebratory week, we are highlighting three of our senior living clients who embody this year’s theme annually.
Read on to learn more about how these three ideals manifest daily in senior living facilities across the country.
1. LindenGrove Communities
Crown jewels spark against the overhead light. Boas and beads ring necks. It’s not your typical royal gathering—it’s Sassy Old Broad (SOB) Day at LindenGrove and the snacks are pink and the (mock) champagne is flowing.
The answers to never-have-I-ever and would-you-ever questions elicit waves of laughter, as the chorus of yesterday’s hits echo in the background.
A highly-anticipated activity, this gathering not only brings grins to the faces of residents and care partners alike; it fosters connection and understanding among all those in attendance, bringing the community closer with every pink bite.
Although this past year has been challenging, LindenGrove has maintained their commitment to offering their residents the highest quality of life possible. Through themed parties and animal visits, outdoor activities and community-building activities, the organization keeps joy and laughter flowing, constantly growing their sense of community.
2. St. Ann’s Community
As COVID-19 disrupted care at St. Ann’s Community, the organization strove to increase emotional wellness in staff who suffered from exhaustion and burnout. St. Ann’s provided free meals to employees, invited an ice cream truck to campuses and instituted a free merchandise program, offering employees a selection of branded coolers, sweatshirts and hats.
Beyond these tangible offerings, St. Ann’s looked to their past to inform their present, implementing a buddy system similar to one created to move residents to a new building. In its current iteration, the buddy system drew over 100 volunteers, pairing employees with residents. These newly matched couples spend time together multiple times a week, engaging in activities or enjoying one another’s company.
Through these renewed and creative, St. Ann’s was able to strengthen their staff and resident connection, while delivering the compassionate care they’re known for.
In addition to creating staffing challenges for LeadingAge organizations, the nature of COVID-19 changed the way care was delivered, deemphasizing communal atmospheres and demanding isolation. Staff who were able to work were tasked with more individualized care, leading to clinician exhaustion.
To combat these challenges and return to a communal atmosphere safely, LeadingAge partnered with both the hospitality and restaurant industries to ensure that furloughed workers were aware that staff openings existed within LeadingAge’s member communities. LeadingAge developed an online portal specifically for these workers, matching skillsets with jobs via LeadingAge’s online career center.
By providing these opportunities, LeadingAge not only addressed staffing shortages, but provided reprieve for many of their external community members facing hardship by welcoming them into their internal community.
We are in awe of the ability of assisted living providers to steamroll challenges that stand in they way of care at their organizations. Your dedication to community, care, and compassion is applauded this and every week.
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