It’s time to celebrate Florida’s 85,000 assisted living facility (ALF) residents and the outstanding places they call home. It’s National Assisted Living Week, an occasion to recognize the 3,000-plus licensed ALFs, which provide care in a residential setting to Floridians who need some assistance with daily tasks but want to maintain their independent lifestyle.
Starting on Grandparent’s Day, September 7, and continuing through September 13, assisted living providers, caregivers, residents, their families and members of the community will participate in National Assisted Living Week festivities. The Florida Health Care Association represents a core group of assisted living facilities dedicated to providing their residents with the highest quality care, along with three-quarters of the state’s skilled nursing centers. We appreciate the invaluable role ALFs play in serving elderly and other Floridians who can’t quite live independently but don’t need the full level of care associated with nursing homes.
Across Florida and the nation, ALFs will participate around the theme of this year’s National Assisted Living Week, “The Magic of Music,” showcasing the integral role music plays in assisted living residences every day. The transformational effect of music continues even as individuals age, providing joy and comfort and, in some cases, pleasant memories of long-ago experiences.
With almost 40 percent of ALF residents living with some form of dementia (including Alzheimer’s), it’s important to look for non-pharmacological ways to improve the lives of these individuals as a crucial part of providing person-centered care. New research and programs give fresh hope as providers seek techniques to improve the lives of those living with dementia. These efforts are receiving widespread acclaim and one such program, Music & Memory, is featured in a new documentary Alive Inside – a winner at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
Music also has the ability to bring people together, something on which assisted living communities pride themselves. National Assisted Living Week will serve as a catalyst to do just that. Throughout the week, we can honor the individuals who reside in assisted living and the staff members who provide them with extraordinary care day in and day out, while also helping members of the community understand the many contributions of assisted living.