Wednesday, September 14, 2016

National Assisted Living Week Connects Residents, Staff

Rachel Reeves

Beginning last Sunday Sept. 11 and continuing through Saturday, Sept. 17, thousands of America’s assisted living communities and their staff, residents, families, volunteers, and local members of their community will celebrate National Assisted Living Week® (NALW). The national observance—which begins each year on Grandparent’s Day—honors the individuals served, as well as the individuals who serve, in assisted living and residential care communities across the nation with special activities and events.

Sponsored by the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) since 1995, this year’s NALW theme this year is “Keep Connected.” The theme recognizes the increasing opportunity technology offers to enhance the care and overall experience in assisted living communities, as well as encouraging access to older adults interested in new technologies and the internet. “Keep Connected” also acknowledges the deep bonds staff and residents form, as caregivers nobly serve those living in assisted living communities.

“With the wave of baby boomers soon needing our services, we’re dealing with a new generation of consumers who are demanding high tech with high touch,” said Scott Tittle, Executive Director of NCAL. “National Assisted Living Week allows us to celebrate the innovative techniques assisted living providers are finding to better serve our nation’s seniors.”

Assisted living caregivers and members of the public are encouraged to share their celebrations throughout the week on social media with the hashtag, #NALW.

Social Media Usage by Older Adults (65 Years and Older)

· In 2005, 2 percent of older adults used social media. In 2015, that percentage is 35 percent.

· Older adults are among the least likely to have high-speed internet access. Just 31 percent have broadband at home.

· The frequency of internet use among those who do have high-speed access is relatively close to the usage levels of younger users.

· Among older adult internet users, 62 percent look for news online and 34 percent do so on a typical day. Nearly 90 percent send or read email and more than half exchange email messages on a typical day.

Source: Pew Research Center, “Social Media Usage: 2005-2015.”

Assisted Living Facts and Figures

· Currently, more than 835,200 individuals live in more than 30,200 assisted living or residential care communities across the United States.

· The average assisted living community has 33 beds.

· Assisted living companies and communities employ 416,300 individuals.

· More than half (53 percent) of assisted living residents are 85 years old or older.

· Nearly 40 percent of residents are living with some form of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and more than 20 percent of assisted living communities offer dementia care units or exclusively serve adults with dementia.

· A little more than 15 percent of residents rely on Medicaid for their daily care, and 47 percent of assisted living communities are Medicaid certified.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Services, National Center for Health Statistics and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For more information on National Assisted Living Week, please visit www.nalw.org.

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