Communities celebrate National Nursing Home Week in style

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A Senior Olympics, turtle races, sprucing up the outdoors. These were just a few events held around the country to honor National Nursing Home Week (May 9-15).

While the holiday puts a premium on fun, paying tribute to residents and staff also infused this week's events. That is the underlying purpose of the week, which is sponsored by the American Health Care Association.

“National Nursing Home Week is an opportunity to honor all those who contribute to our nation's nursing homes, including residents, staff, family members and volunteers,” said Bruce Yarwood, president and CEO of AHCA. “Facilities in communities across the country celebrate with unique activities and events and we encourage members of the public to join in the celebration by visiting their local nursing home.”

One facility that lived it up was Apple Ridge Health and Rehabilitation in Harrison, AR. The skilled nursing and Alzheimer's community held an event each day, starting with giving corsages to women on Mother's Day, explained Danielle Collier, activity director at the facility, which has around 65 residents. What followed were turtle races (Monday), a Hawaiian luau (Tuesday), banana splits (Wednesday), a cookout (Thursday) and door prizes (Friday).

“We try to make it a big deal every day,” said Collier, who arguably made the week extra special after winning a National Nursing Home Week party pack from the American Health Care Association. She came in first in the Facebook trivia contest. The prize, which is valued at $84.95, according to AHCA, included eight posters, 30 lapel buttons, 10 pins, 24 pens and 30 balloons dedicated to the week, Collier said. 

Collier believes in the importance of the week devoted to staff and residents.

“I've worked in geriatrics for 23 years and the residents and staff deserve to be recognized all year long, but it's a good time to involve them in things that aren't staff- or resident-specific,” she said.

Sounds like a good reason to party to me.

Here are some other cool happenings from around the country this week, according to local news outlets:

—Staff at Crawford Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation planted climbing ivy plants on the trellis outside the resident pavilion. (See photo. Pictured are (left to right), Robin Gross, director of social services and resident horticulturalist; Linda Poole, social worker and avid gardener; Louise Merrick, executive director with Micki Mocha, mascot; and Rick Martel, maintenance supervisor.)

— Norwichtown Rehabilitation & Care Center in Norwich, CT, memorialized Bill Stanley, a historian and author who died in April. The Norwich Sunrise Rotary Club donated 100 copies of his final book, “The Historic Sites of Norwich From the Beginning.”

— Checker Cab of Cayce, SC, gave free rides to residents of White Oak Manor. The taxi service picked up residents for errands they needed to run.

— The Tennessee Health Care Association named Knox fiddler John Williams to its annual “Who's Who in Tennessee Nursing Homes” list. He became a resident of Baptist Health Care Center in Lenoir City a year ago. Last Christmas, the center held a fundraiser and presented the 96-year-old Williams with a new violin. He still plays.

— A Senior Olympics was expected to be held outside McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church in Norman, OK. Arm wrestling, basketball, football, golf, volleyball, a dominoes tournament and wheelchair races were some of the events. Heartland Hospice sponsored the games.

— Lyons Health and Living Center in Greene County, IN, sponsored a farmer's market outside its facility. Anyone in the community was welcome to set up a booth.

— Guardian EMS in Brown County, TX, was intended to serve 800 hamburgers to residents, staff and guests in local nursing homes throughout the week. Now that would make for a few happy meals. A nice tribute indeed.


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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.