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Planning Guide

​The 2015 National Assisted Living Week theme, Nourishing Life: Mind, Body, Spirit, celebrates the numerous ways assisted living enriches the lives for each individual residing in these communities. NALW celebrations during the week of September 13-19, 2015, will showcase how assisted living focuses on the whole person. Plan events and celebrations that showcase the enrichment of life each and every day. ​​​​


 Nourishing the Mind


Throughout the week, nourish the minds of your residents and focus on providing them activities that will help them reach for and attain the highest mental functioning possible.


Plan an event for residents and bring out a variety of traditional and new games that residents will love. You can set up a casino night, host a card tournament, or even have simple games like puzzles and crossword sheets. Even residents living in the later stages of dementia can engage in simple games. Think creatively and you will have residents engaging their cognitive abilities and having fun!









Your residents have lived through some of the most amazing times in history. Don’t let those memories or experiences fade. Hold a “living history” event where you invite local students to hear about the historical events your residents have lived through. Work in advance with the school’s administrators so the children have a background on the events. You can have the residents share their personal stories or have your staff “interview” them in advance and prepare some notes for the team to read to the students. The connections made will be greatly beneficial to residents and children alike!


Nourish the minds of those connected to your community by scheduling an event highlighting dementia care. Bring in a local or company expert and invite the surrounding community, prospective leads and referral partners to learn more about the disease process. Not only will you share much-needed information, you will showcase your community as an expert in memory care and all that you offer your residents.


 Nourishing the Body



During NALW take the opportunity to display – to a variety of audiences – how your organization works to nourish your residents’ bodies through sound and delicious nutrition. Gather your dining team and brainstorm the events that fit your community the best.

  • Hold a variety of specialized dining events for residents and their families. Focus on foods known for their nutritional value, but perhaps not taste, and have the team demonstrate how delicious they can be! Or, turn that around and take items – particularly sweets or savory snacks – that are typically seen as nutrient-deficient “treats” and reinvent them with healthier ingredients.
  • Host a theme night! Pick a favorite cuisine or a food-centered celebration, and hold an event during NALW. Invite residents and families to come dressed up and ready to have their taste buds dancing! Coordinate with music or other entertainment to make the night even more memorable.


  • During NALW, hold a cooking class and have your chef show residents and staff some new tricks in the kitchen! You can have each resident pair up with a family member or staff member to assist them, while learning the most popular dishes the community serves. You could even have residents share some of their traditional recipes of dishes they loved to make and bring back memories and delight taste buds!


During NALW plan activities to support and increase physical exercise and movement. Through a few simple activities that promote regular movement and exercise, residents will soon see the benefits tenfold.

  • Chair Yoga is a favorite in nearly all assisted living communities and for good reason. Hold chair yoga events throughout the week, but add a few fun changes in the mix. Break out some peppy music, put on some fun costumes and amp up the fun!
  • Tai Chi is another great exercise for seniors, even those with limited movement. Tai Chi is a Chinese form of martial arts that involves slow, controlled and low-impact movements that can help seniors feel more balanced and improve hand eye coordination. Hold a Tai Chi class to strengthen residents’ muscles, increase their flexibility, and give them gentle aerobic exercise.
  • Make your own bowling league. Purchase some children’s bowling toys at your local store and hold a bowling night. Residents and staff can form teams and try their best to get strike after strike! If residents have limited physical abilities, turn on the Wii and keep on bowling.

 Nourish the Spirit




  • Invite a local improve or comedy group to transform your community into a comedy club! Engage the performers in advance to ensure the jokes will be appealing to your audience, and invite families and friends in for a night of laughs.
  • If you do not have a local group who could perform, you can always find clips of famous comedians throughout the decades and hold a comedy night. Residents will have smiles on their faces for days to come!


  • Music is a wonderful tool that can allow your residents to connect with a time long ago. How often do you hear a song or a beat and a memory instantly comes to mind? The same is true for your residents, including those living with some form of dementia. Plan one or more music events throughout the week. You can invite a musician into the community for a live performance, put together a playlist of songs you know a particular resident will love, or host a musical talent show with your staff.


  • Hold an art class. Art therapy can be a useful and fulfilling activity, especially among those who live with some form dementia. Offer anything from simple crafts to advanced watercolor painting, depending on your residents, and help them communicate through a different channel.



  • Start a community recycling program, plant a tree or garden in your community, or create something that will support nature, such as wooden birdfeeders. You will nourish the earth while you nourish residents’ spirits.
  • Help give to those in need. Residents want to do their part to serve the larger community. Find a local cause and see how residents can contribute, whether through creating dolls for area children, organizing a donation drive for the community food bank, or saluting veterans for their service. Bring in families and local community members to increase your impact.

 Nourish Your Team


​The dedication of your staff allows your communities and overall organization to live out your mission every day. Each and every individual contributes in a vital way and provides care to those you serve.

Celebrate the team this week by holding a thank you event. Whether it is a simple “thank you” shared at the right moment, a catered lunch, a NALW duffle bag or water bottle, or a special party, take the time to thank those who make it happen – the staff!