Archive for the ‘Assisted Living Marketing’ Category

Kicking Off National Assisted Living Week: Great Things Happening in Communities Across the U.S.

Yesterday, Sept. 7, kicked off National Assisted Living Week 2014. This year’s theme is “The Magic of Music,” which, according to the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), “showcases the integral role that music plays in assisted living residences every day.”The Magic of Music logo

This year’s theme: “The Magic of Music”

“The Magic of Music” theme gives some credibility to the multitude of studies that show music can have positive impacts on people of all ages. “For older individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, music often has a soothing effect and can also trigger memories long dormant,” according to the NCAL’s Planning Guide & Product Catalog. “Music has the potent ability to enchant and provides the listener with moments of comfort and joy.” This is a phenomenon we’ve talked about before here on the SeniorHomes.com blog.

And, the right music can get anyone up and moving – like this handsome gentleman whose impressive moves quickly garnered the attention of a few lovely ladies:

Assisted living communities are where it’s at this week

Paradise Village in San Diego is just one of many communities with a fun-filled week packed full of lively events planned to celebrate National Assisted Living Week throughout the week. Among their celebrations? An interpretation of Latin music through the dance of Tango, which kicks off the start of the week – which also happens to be Grandparent’s Day.

On Wednesday, the community will host its very own Prom Night, with military guests joining the dance. Other events include a fashion show and students from the San Diego Academy joining residents for song, along with bands and soloists set to entertain all through the week.

Epoch Assisted Living at Melbourne in Pittsfield, MA is hosting an event called “Music and Memories,” featuring June Green and Doug Schmolze, who are performing an interactive music program designed to evoke memories today, Sept. 8. Later in the week, an art opening with Rosemary Daly, featuring Daly’s scenes of the Berkshires, will be held at Epoch, and Daly’s work will remain on display throughout September. And on Wednesday, a drumming event will be held with Aimee Gelinas, according to The Berkshire Eagle.

The Sunrise at Fleetwood is holding a patriotic sing-a-long event, sponsored by Veterans Financial Inc., a financial services company offering education to seniors about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Aid and Attendance Pension. The event is open to families of residents, volunteers, staff and their families, and the surrounding community, and will be held on Thursday, Sept. 11.

More ways to celebrate “The Magic of Music”

Each year, the NCAL puts out a comprehensive guide outlining the current year’s theme with some ideas for fun and unique activities that engage both residents and staff, as well as family members and members of the broader community.

This year, in light of “The Magic of Music” theme, NCAL recommends tying in some music therapy concepts to activities programs and even daily interactions with residents, pointing to the growing body of research and everyday experiences that prove beyond doubt that music can evoke deep memories even in individuals with severe memory impairment. The Alzheimer’s Association has some excellent tips and resources for using music in therapeutic ways. Check out this article and this one for some ideas and insights.

Let’s not forget about the value of music in encouraging physical activity. It’s difficult for anyone to stand still when a favorite tune starts playing, so NCAL suggests using the power of music to get residents up and moving this week with fun activities like, “Sweat’n to the Oldies,” an idea that incorporates upbeat, lively music into regular exercise programs offered at communities, or even allowing residents to select their favorite songs from days gone by as the backdrop for the day’s physical fitness program.

Other residents may enjoy a gathering where favorite songs from their lives are discussed, along with the story behind the songs and the song’s significance to their own lives. Many people have songs with significance, such as their wedding song, a song that reminds them of high school, or a song that evokes memories of a long-lost love. This activity is a great way to get residents talking about the events that shaped their lives, and it’s one with the potential to get even the most tight-lipped residents opening up and engaging in conversation.

One thing is for sure: We’d sure like to be a resident in some of these assisted living communities, because it sounds like this week is set to be a blast! What’s your community doing to celebrate National Assisted Living Week this year? Tell us about your plans to celebrate “The Magic of Music.”

The Last Stop: With Technology, We Try

I think our grands and great-grands find current technology easier than using a knife, fork or spoon. We marvel at them. Technology is not a challenge for children and teenagers; it's a way of life.

In contrast, my age-mates and I find new technology an ongoing struggle. We end up cursing at our smartphones and computers and wish for the olden days.

I find that at my retirement community, computer frustration is a regular part of dinner conversation.

Read more about Margery’s efforts to become more tech-savvy—and why some of her friends choose not to embrace technology—in “Part 10: With Technology, We Try.”

This post was written by Margery Fridstein, an author and retired psychotherapist who lives in a CCRC outside of Denver, CO. She is chronicling her experience in the monthly series, “The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein.”

Promoting Wildlife-Friendly Habitat at Retirement Communities

Wildlife-friendly habitat at retirement communities benefits both seniors and wildlife alike—from providing relaxing scenery to offering a much needed green oasis for birds in an urban environment. For seniors considering creating wildlife-friendly habitat at their community, there are several of organizations that provide expertise  and certification.

In Rethinking the Value of Your Community’s Landscapes, posted on Assisted Living Federation of America’s Member to Member Solution page, I highlight the benefits of wildlife-friendly habitat and senior living provider, Erickson Senior Living, whose residents and staff embrace the idea of creating wildlife-friendly habitat at their communities.

These are photos of Oak Crest in Parkville, Maryland showing wildlife-friendly habitat in action.

Oak Crest Village Parkville, Maryland

Wildlife-certified habitat that residents enjoy every day while strolling through the campus.

Cherry Trees on Oak Crest Village's Campus

Wildlife-friendly habitat adds to the beauty found on the Oak Crest campus.

Residents and Staff Participating in Spring Clean up

Residents and staff participating in the annual spring clean up of the garden area.

Green Roofs on an Oak Crest Village building

Other sustainable practices include green roofs on several campus buildings.

A Trend Toward Living Green in Retirement

Free-range chickens, organic gardens, certified wildlife habitats and ENERGY STAR© certification are just a few of the sustainable features increasingly being found in retirement communities across the United States. In spite of the debate as to whether the upfront costs of building green are worth the investment, the senior living industry is trending toward developing more green retirement communities—which is good news for seniors who want to continue a green lifestyle during their retirement.

“All the modeling show significant savings” said Senior Lifestyle Corporation’s Vice President of Development & Acquisitions, Bob Gawronski, but he cautions that there isn’t the history available yet to show the actual savings. He saw the move toward building green senior communities begin in 2006-2007 as a result of public financing requirements, with the government promoting the addition of green features in affordable housing.

A Helping Hand From Uncle Sam

Senior Suites of Fay’s Points uses a geo-thermal system to provide heat for the community.

Senior Lifestyle Corporation’s Senior Suites of Fay’s Point is one such community that has the green features required to receive public financing. Heating and cooling is provided by 28 geothermal wells and with its flexible, two-pipe heating and cooling system, the geo-thermal system uses less energy and costs less than other HVAC systems to maintain. “To those who understand the technology, our project is exciting, but for most of our residents, the geothermal heating is more of a mystery because they can’t see it,” Gawronski said.

Because of the upfront building costs, Senior Suites of Fay’s Point was a project Senior Lifestyle Corporation wouldn’t have pursed had the public financing provided by the Illinois Housing Development Authority not been available. This public-private partnership resulted in a senior community that is not only affordable but also meets LEED certification design standards, though it wasn’t certified at the time of construction. Gawronski said they chose not to pursue LEED certification at the time, something he would change in hindsight because people do recognize the LEED designation and its usefulness as a marketing tool.

A Little Education Goes A Long Way

Green senior communities require an educational component. While Baby Boomers are savvy in recognizing the value of green building elements, their parents may be unfamiliar with these features, which may defeat the purpose of building green. “Our residents were confused by the green stuff,” Grawronski admitted. The permeable asphalt was greeted with comments of the developer being “full of hot air” and the native grasses were considered weeds that weren’t being cut. “You do have to have an educational program for residents and staff so they understand the building’s design, such as how it is cooled and heated and why native prairies grasses are used,” he said.

With three Senior Lifestyle Corporation communities scheduled for LEED certification next year, Gawronski has learned that it is a lot easier to be green and meet certification requirements than people realize. But while being LEED certified may be the most prestigious designation to showcase sustainability, there are other certifications or recognitions available that demonstrate a community’s commitment to being a responsible steward of the environment, even in well-established communities.

An Influential National Brand

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR program is an “influential brand recognized by over 85 percent of Americans” and certifies more than just energy–using devices, said National Program Manager Clark Reed. Since the Environmental Protection Agency created the ENERGY STAR program in 1992, it has morphed from focusing on energy-efficient computers to certifying energy-efficient buildings. Administrative offices were the first of 16 building types receiving certification in 1999.

In 2009, the EPA reached out to the Assisted Living Federation Association (ALFA) to develop a partnership that encouraged ENERGY STAR certification of the senior care communities sector. An energy survey conducted in 2010 identified the energy drivers, which weren’t known prior to 2010 according to Clark.

Using the survey’s results, Reed’s office developed a rating system that launched in 2011; the rating system accounts for variables such as location and size of the community. To achieve ENERGY STAR certification, a senior care community must earn 75 or better out of a 100 rating score. To ensure that the rating system is applied equally, if a community consists of 50 percent or more independent living units, it may not be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification depending on metering. “Since the energy performance scale’s launch in 2011, it became possible to identify the senior living industry leaders in the country,” Reed said.

Gaining Recognition With Industry Leaders

These industry leaders include Sunrise Senior Living and HorizonBay (now owned by Brookdale Senior Living) who were among the first participants in the ENERGY STAR program. Becoming a leader and recognizing the value of energy efficiency within operations is why Sunrise Senior Living joined the program. “We had the systems in place to collect the data required to achieve certification and 30 communities were certified in 2011,” said Jim Shaffer, Director of Maintenance and Capital Programs at Sunrise Senior Living. At the end of 2013, 33 communities became ENERGY STAR certified, and Sunrise’s 248 communities in the United States are now entered into the EPA’s Portfolio Manager®.

“The early efforts of Sunrise Senior Living and HorizonBay were recognized at the 2011 ALFA conference,” said Acting Vice President, Marketing & Membership, Jaclyn Allmon. ALFA also added a “Going Green, Saving Green: Energy, Recycling, and Expense Reduction Strategies” category to their Best of the Best contest in 2013, and awardees included Orchards at Southington, Benchmark Senior Living and Brightview Senior Living. These companies are making valuable improvements to their operations and doing what we hope all senior communities will do to develop and implement green programs, Allmon said.

Sunrise of Edmonds was the EPA’s Top in Category for Senior Care Facilities in 2013 and was also their internal Sunrise Energy Star winner.

Sunrise Senior Living developed an internal energy reduction competition modeled after the EPA’s national Battle of the Buildings competition which rewards communities that achieve the highest reduction in energy usage. “When the competition was unveiled in 2011, the reaction was positive, with communities seeing the competition as a way of being recognized within Sunrise as a top performer,” Shaffer said. Last year, the company recognized the top 2 performers, and for the 2012-2013 competition cycle, the top 3 performers will receive recognition. He too emphasizes that education is key to encouraging staff and residents to adopt energy-saving best practices. “[It’s] changing everyone’s mindset as it comes to your daily routine,” Shaffer said.

How to Find Sustainably-Built Retirement Communities

For seniors seeking future retirement communities for themselves or their parents, there are a number of searches available to find communities practicing sustainability. The U.S. Green Building Council has a directory of certified projects, and searching under the terms “retirement communities” or “senior living” displays the communities that have achieved LEED certification. Searching in the ENERGY STAR directory under “senior care communities,” displays the communities who have achieved ENERGY STAR certification and their annual ranking. The National Wildlife Federation also provides a list of certified communities so seniors can see if a retirement community’s surrounding grounds are providing habitat for wildlife. Other national recognition programs include the International Council on Active Aging® Green Award that recognizes a community’s environmental stewardship practices.

Allmon sees the possibility of prospective residents and their families seeking out LEED or ENERGY STAR certification, but it’s just a question of whether it will be in their top list of priorities for selecting a community. For Clark, he is optimistic this will be the case with retiring baby boomers having a very strong environmental ethic, and this sentiment isn’t just limited to the United States’ seniors. In the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)’s October 2013 report, A Sustainable Community for Older People:  Case Studies of Green Retirement Village in Australia, authors found that “most retirement village residents understand and recognize the importance of sustainability in their lifestyle.”

Over 2,300 Senior Care Communities Benchmarked by the EPA

This might prompt more communities in the United States to apply for awards that recognize their green efforts. For ALFA’s 2014 Best of the Best award, there weren’t any submissions in the “Going Green, Saving Green: Energy, Recycling, and Expense Reduction Strategies” category. “Senior living companies are likely integrating best energy practices, but out of nearly 100 Best of the Best submissions, we unfortunately didn’t receive any submissions in the green category this year,” Allmon said.

What is known is that over 2,300 senior care communities (188 million square feet in size) have been benchmarked in the EPA’s Portfolio Manager®, according to Clark. And both Shaffer and Gawronski also said that during renovations at their communities, efforts are made to incorporate sustainable materials and energy-reducing designs. “During capital improvements, we partner with the building’s owners to replace outdated assets with higher energy-efficient models and are willing to invest more upfront in capital expenditures that will yield significant energy savings,” Shaffer said.

One example he cited is installing a white, reflective roofing system with a high insulation rating to reduce the cooling costs during the summer and keep heat inside the community in the winter, consequently decreasing the energy usage of the community. For Senior Lifestyle Corporation communities, Gawronski said that when they renovate existing communities, recycled content and FSC-certified products are used.

The Green Choice in Town

In Australia, the retirement village industry is now realizing the need of providing sustainable communities for seniors, and in the United States, Gawronski anticipates many communities will be marketing themselves as the “green choice in town” within five years. With market-rate investors expressing more interest in green development, seniors can expect to see the sustainable practices found in affordable housing becoming commonplace in market-rate communities.

Andrea Watts is a Seattle-based freelance writer who covers sustainable forestry and agriculture issues. Her writings have appeared in publications that include TimberWestThe Forestry Source and Acres U.S.A.

The Top 6 Reasons Your Assisted Living Community Should Have a Dog

Elderly man with dogHaving a dog, or even multiple animals, in an assisted living facility is rapidly becoming an accepted practice for both the physical and mental health of residents. There are numerous incredible benefits to having a dog, many of which may not be immediately apparent.

1. Increase Physical Activity
An assisted living facility may quickly find that residents are more likely to go outdoors and become active when they know that they can interact with their shared companion. Something as simple as tossing a ball around the yard for a few hours may actually have a measurable impact on a resident’s health, and will get them out into the fresh air and sun.

2. Boost Mood
It’s a well-known, scientific fact that dogs, as well as cats, can be a fantastic mood booster and stress reliever. Having a dog around will balance out the emotions of your residents, and ensure that they are happier within the community. Having a companion around can give a senior a sense of purpose, and make them feel less alone.

3. Improve Health
By increasing the mood of residents overall, a dog can actually increase their health. Studies have shown that the physical health of a person can be affected by how happy and stress-free they feel; thus, having a dog could potentially augment both the length and quality of their lives. Pets have been known to decrease cholesterol levels as well as fight depression.

4. A Draw for Families
Children tend to get fussy when visiting assisted living communities, but having a friendly dog close at hand will distract them and allow for a better quality of visits. Children don’t always understand how important their visiting hours are, and a pet can help by giving them something additional to look forward to.

5. Smooth Transitions
Many of those entering into an assisted care facility may have had pets of their own in the past but may not be able to take care of them on their own any longer. Rather than having to yearn for the pet they once had, they can interact with and take care of a new pet but aren’t solely responsible for all the upkeep.

6. Less Upkeep
Pets are an intrinsic part of life, but a community may be wary of adding resident-owned pets to the mix for a variety of reasons; too many pets can contribute to allergies, they may not be properly taken care of and they may not always be safe.

Voting is now open for the 2014 ALFA Hero Awards!

ALFA Hero Awards 2014Each year, the ALFA Hero Awards recognize individuals who are ideal representatives of the hundreds of thousands of people serving in senior living communities. Each finalist has a unique background, and a distinctive story to tell. 

Share your favorites with your friends and family to increase their chances of being named a Hero Award winner! Use the hashtag #ALFAHero on Twitter to see who others are voting for.

You may vote once per day during the open voting period between Wednesday, February 12 and Wednesday, February 26.

The five nominees with the highest vote totals will be named 2014 Hero Award winners. Winners will be unveiled at the 2014 ALFA Conference & Expo, held on May 19-22 in Phoenix, AZ. Vote now!

It’s Time to Talk About Holiday Trends in Senior Living

Around this time of year, every year — and particularly right after the New Year — something happens: Senior living communities, and our amazing team of care advisors at SeniorHomes.com, start getting tons of phone calls from seniors and families starting the process of searching for senior housing options. senior living inquiries

There’s a reason this happens during and immediately after the holiday season. Today’s world isn’t restricted by geography. We’re interconnected with friends, loved ones and even total strangers located around the globe. We can Skype for face-to-face contact with grandchildren, aunts and uncles, and BFFs who live thousands of miles away. For this reason, there are more and more families who are spread out by thousands of miles, and many of these families gather together over the holidays.

When adult children visit their aging parents over the holidays, a harsh reality sometimes sets in. For the first time, you may realize that your parents really are getting older.

Sometimes, you observe some worrisome things like outdated prescriptions, forks in the refrigerator, a cluttered home that’s starting to show significant wear, overgrown lawns and other circumstances that make it clear dad’s not getting around as well as he used to. Maybe you see your mom holding onto the furniture for support as she navigates through the living room. Whatever the case, you’ve realized that it’s time to worry about your aging loved ones’ safety at home.

Typically, there’s a large spike in the number of senior living referrals right after Thanksgiving. Closer to Christmas, it winds down a bit as families are focused on preparing for the upcoming holiday — but after the New Year, things pick up and persist through the month of January as families settle in to a new year and start putting plans in place to make sure their aging loved ones are safe and adequately cared for.

Take a look at the following graph, which illustrates the ebb and flow of senior living inquiries SeniorHomes.com received during and after the 2011 holiday season.

Senior Living Inquiries 2011

The red lines in the graph above represent Thanksgiving and Christmas 2011, giving you a clear picture of the significant increase in inquiries that happens right after the Christmas holiday and continues throughout the month of January.

With the pressure on senior living providers to provide exceptional care, it can be a stressful time as providers work to ramp up staffing levels in order to meet the increased demand for services. Providers may need to allocate additional support staff to handle incoming phone calls, meet with families to discuss care options, and give tours of the facility.

But while the phone calls are increasing at this time of year, there aren’t a lot of move-ins happening. Most families opt to wait until after the holidays to make the official move.

With family members in ample supply during this time of year, it’s not necessary for many to make the move right away. Additionally, most seniors prefer to enjoy one more holiday season in the home they’ve known and loved for many years. That’s why many senior living communities offer incentives, hold open houses and other events and provide special year-end offers to encourage families to make their decision prior to the official close of the year. Check out our recent blog post for some ideas for marketing your community during the busy end-of-year season.

For families, the holidays are actually a good time to investigate your options. This is especially true if you’re traveling to visit an aging loved one — if time permits, adult children have the opportunity to visit potential senior living communities in person to get a better feel for whether it’s a good fit for mom or dad.

Being able to have face-to-face contact with your aging parent’s potential caregivers and taking an in-person tour of the community provides a little more peace of mind than relying on verbal communications, brochures and photos to make an informed decision. You can also take advantage of the year-end discounts and special offers, such as a free month’s rent, that senior living communities are offering.

But what if you’re in town for just a short visit and there’s no time to make personal contact with area senior living providers? Fortunately, the increasing popularity of the internet as a senior living research tool has led to more options for seniors and their families searching for senior living options.

SeniorHomes.com, for instance, has implemented a comprehensive rating system for senior living communities in many cities across the U.S. That means you can search for senior living options in your area and get information on state inspection results, read the opinions of local experts who have worked directly with these communities, and read reviews from residents, families and staff members. It’s an excellent resource for long-distance loved ones, as well as for those who live locally but aren’t sure where to begin the search.

Images by Franque and Mei Teng via Stock.xchng

Fill Your Empty Rooms This December With Help From SeniorHomes.com

With Thanksgiving now officially behind us, there are only four more weeks until the end of 2013 and the pressure to fill those empty rooms in your community by the end of the year is starting to build. While year’s end may not be the most popular time for move-ins, a little creativity and some inspiration from Black Friday can help you reach your sales goals.

Here are some examples of what our clients are doing this month to fill their communities:

1. Discounts

By far the most popular tactic to rent apartments late in the year is to offer significant discounts for those who sign a lease and/or take possession in December. From waiving move-in fees to locking in rental rates to a free month (or two or three) of rent, the key word consumers hear is “savings”!

2. Promotional Add-Ons

Some communities create additional value for prospective residents by offering concierge services, such as moving, packing or decorating, for free. Handing out gift cards, upgrading apartment finishes and even giving away free appliances are just some of the incentives we’ve seen communities use to entice new residents.

3. Respite Stays

Another approach to increasing occupancy at the end of the year is to encourage more short-term respite stays. By doing this, you are not only able to increase residency at the end of the year, but also build a solid pipeline of prospective residents for the next year. Our experience has shown that consumers who complete respite stays convert more frequently into permanent residents than consumers who come in sight unseen.

4. Holiday Events

Organizing a holiday-themed event for the public is a great way to get people in your front door and see what your community has to offer. Popular events have included fundraisers, raffles, silent auctions, food donation drives and photos with Santa.

If you have a featured listing with SeniorHomes.com, don’t hesitate to publicize your community promotions and events! Contact your Account Manager to take advantage of this free service.

If you are not currently working with SeniorHomes.com, find out how to list your business with us today!

Announcing the Best Senior Living Awards Top-Rated Communities

We’re thrilled to announce the Winners and Top Rated Communities for the 2013 Best Senior Living Awards!

The Best Senior Living Awards program aims to identify the top senior living communities in major metro areas across the United States. With the goal of providing a central, objective resource for comparing senior living options in a local area, the SeniorHomes.com Best Senior Living Awards program uses a combination of resident and family reviews, opinions and ratings from local senior living experts, and state inspection data to determine Winners and Top Rated Communities in each metro.

Our panel of esteemed experts in each metro area consists of senior living professionals who have thorough familiarity with many of the senior living communities in their respective geographic regions.  These experts have generously lent their experiences and expertise by providing an expert perspective on the senior living communities in their local areas. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to each and every expert who participated in this year’s Best Senior Living Awards!

It was a positive experience for our experts, as well. “The personal references and postings appearing on SeniorHomes.com is an effective way for people to gain insight into the senior communities which excel in service.  I am pleased to have offered my support as an expert resource to SeniorHomes.com,” says Les Ostermeier of CHOICE Advisory.

Many congratulations to this year’s Winners and Top Rated Communities!

Today we’re announcing winners and top-rated communities in the following metropolitan areas. Click through the city name to view a list of all the Top Rated Communities in that locality. Winners are listed directly below their respective metros.

Austin

Best Senior Living Community in Austin: Parkwood Meadows

Greater Saint Louis

Best Senior Living Community in Greater St. Louis: Aberdeen Heights

Greater San Antonio

Best Senior Living Community in Greater San Antonio: Blue Skies of Texas

San Jose

Best Senior Living Community in San Jose: The Atrium at San Jose

Greater San Diego

Best Senior Living Community in Greater San Diego: Belmont Village of Sabre Springs

Denver Metro

Best Senior Living Community in the Denver Metro: Atria Inn at Lakewood

Charlotte Metro

Best Senior Living Community in the Charlotte Metro: Brighton Gardens of Charlotte

Orange County

Best Senior Living Community in Orange County: Atria Woodbridge

Detroit Metro

Best Senior Living Community in the Detroit Metro: Pine Ridge Villas of Shelby Senior Living

Inland Empire (Riverside)

Best Senior Living Community in Riverside: Sunrise at Canyon West

Los Angeles County

Best Senior Living Community in Los Angeles County: Sunrise of Claremont

Las Vegas-Paradise

Best Senior Living Community in Las Vegas-Paradise: Willow Creek Assisted Living at San Martin

Atlanta Metro

Best Senior Living Community in the Atlanta Metro: Dunwoody Pines

Dallas Metro

Best Senior Living Community in the Dallas Metro: Meadowstone Place

Greater Sacramento

Best Senior Living Community in Greater Sacramento: Sunrise of Fair Oaks

Greater Houston

Best Senior Living Community in Greater Houston: Tarrytowne Estates

Be sure to congratulate our 2013 Winners and Top Rated Communities in the SeniorHomes.com Best Senior Living Awards by tweeting them, liking them on Facebook or giving them a shoutout on Google+!

Senior Living Communities Get Spooktacular with Tricks and Treats

Halloween isn’t just for kids. Senior living communities across the nation take advantage of this spooky and spectacular holiday to bridge generational gaps. With community staff and even residents dressed to the nines in fantastic costumes, communities host trick-or-treating events for local children from preschools or daycare programs, or even host events for the public.

Senior Communities Host Halloween Celebrations

Some residents pass out hand-decorated cookies they make and carefully decorate as a  group activity, while others pass out traditional treats, spider rings, pencils decorated with bats and ghosts, and everything you can imagine. Many communities spend time decorating main hallways and community areas for a more festive feel, and some, such as Westbrook Senior Living & Memory Care, gave residents an opportunity to create their own masks to wear to join in the costume-fun that makes Halloween such a fun holiday. Halloween fun for kids and seniors

Homestead Hills is another senior living community that takes Halloween seriously, hosting an annual celebration for their team members and families, complete with a costume parade, contest and prizes for the kids. After enjoying great food and showing off their costumes in the parade, children go trick-or-treating around the neighborhood to stock up on even more sweet treats.

EPOCH Assisted Living of Norton turns Halloween fun into a community open house, inviting the public to bring children and grandchildren to the community for an evening filled with fun, party games, refreshments and a safe environment for trick-or-treating.

Bridging the Gap: Fun for All Ages

No matter where you look, there’s a senior living community near you hosting fun events and inviting children to trick-or-treat, providing not just fun for the kids but a way for residents to feel connected to the larger community. Just like seniors would have dressed to the nines and passed out candy at their former family homes, senior living communities enable them to continue carrying on the same traditions.

It’s an excellent experience for children, as well, providing an opportunity to interact with local seniors and — most importantly — have fun with them. Some children may not have aging loved ones residing in senior living communities, so the experience is valuable for gaining an understanding of the world around them and of course, that having fun is possible at any age. For senior living community residents, these events bring joy to their lives — for many, few things in life are more enjoyable than being around children with wide grins and joyous laughter.

It’s a light-hearted and fun experience that helps seniors remember what it was like to see the world through youthful and innocent eyes. These events refresh cherished memories from the days when residents’ own children were dressing up as their favorite characters and excited beyond words to head out and collect bags full of tasty (albeit cavity-inducing) treats. Even the inevitable post-Halloween days of attempting unsuccessfully to ration a child’s consumption of all those sweet treats, or at least encourage extra teeth-brushing, are memories that can bring smiles and tears of joy to the faces of seniors.

What spooktacular events did your senior living community hold this year? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Image by kasiakay on Stock.xchng

Post by Angela Stringfellow