Have You Thanked Your Nursing Home Today?
It’s a tough decision. Moving your loved one out of his or her home and into a nursing home is not easy. But when you find a place that feels like a home away from home—a place where caring, compassionate staff have the heart and skills to provide your loved one the care he or she needs—it’s a huge relief.
And now is your chance to say thank you.
It’s National Nursing Home Week®, an annual observance to recognize the role of nursing homes in caring for America’s seniors and individuals with disabilities. Right now, about 1.4 million people in this country call a nursing home (often called a skilled nursing facility) their home. And more than 1.6 million people take care of them.
Celebrate the “Spirit of America” by Saying Thanks
This year’s theme for National Nursing Home Week is “Spirit of America,” focusing on the bond between staff, volunteers and residents who capture the American spirit.
Do you know a health care worker or volunteer who develops real bonds with the residents he or she cares for? If so, this week is a perfect opportunity to show your gratitude for the kindness and hard work he or she devotes to our loved ones who need round-the-clock care.
Most skilled nursing facilities have policies against staff keeping gifts from residents or residents’ families. But a sincere, personal note is an acceptable and appreciated token of your thanks.
5 Tips for Thanking a Nursing Home
- Consider a card or stationery. If you are unsure of what to say, there is a variety of thank-you cards that can say the words for you. If you would like to write your own thoughts, thank-you stationery might be a better option.
- Be specific. What has the staff or an individual caregiver done that you especially appreciate? Giving an example of when staff took special care of your loved one instantly adds sincerity to your note.
- Show emotion. Sometimes sharing feelings can be hard. But it is ok to express just how moved you are when it comes to a loved one receiving excellent care. How does knowing your loved one is in good hands make you feel? Comforted? Happy? Relieved? Grateful? Sharing your feelings with staff will help them feel valued and appreciated.
- Name individual staff members you would like to thank. Acknowledging the entire staff is great. If everyone at your local facility has provided excellent care for your loved one, recognize the whole group. However, if there is a staff member or two who have made a difference in your loved one’s life, be sure to use their names, so they get the recognition they deserve.
- If you feel a note is not enough and want to give a gift, do not give it to an individual staff member. You can donate to the facility. Write a check, volunteer your time or ask an administrator whether the nursing home has any current needs. You might be able to provide items such as board games, decks of cards, arts and crafts supplies, books, socks with slip-resistant soles or personal items such as tissues, toothbrushes or incontinence supplies. Or you can send flowers, cookies or a fruit basket—something the entire staff (and the residents, too) can enjoy together.
However you decide to show your appreciation, don’t wait. As activist Margaret Cousins said, “Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.”