OTs, PTs, nurses, emergency personnel, builders, real estate sales professionals, and other outstanding professionals involved in serving the aging in place needs already have days, weeks, and months devoted to celebrating their contributions and accomplishments. Parents and grandparents get their day. Many people with a progressive mobility, sensory, or cognitive condition - and the caregivers and organizations that support these issues - are recognized with their special days also.
Now, it's our turn for recognition. As aging in place professionals - in addition to any other days of recognition or celebration during the year that may cover our profession or concerns - we get to have a National Aging in Place Week that runs from October 15-21 this year.
There are other observances in October, but it's great that we have a week on the calendar that calls attention to the work we are doing. This, in turn, helps to publicize our message. October is actually a very full month for observances and recognition. Of course, it is "National Physical Therapy Month," but it is also "Disabled Awareness Month," "National Kitchen & Bath Month," "Emergency Nurses Week" (October 8-14, 2017), "National Gerontological Nursing Week" (October 2-8), and "Pediatric Nurses Week" (October 3-7).
We know that we don't actually need a special week to acknowledge what we do, but it's nice just the same. It's not like we aren't active the other 51 weeks of the year. This just helps to make us feel a little better about what we do.
It also gives us an opportunity to sponsor events, appear before citizen groups, and take our message to the public in a special way since they are perhaps more receptive during a week carved out on the calendar and already devoted to what we do anyway.
Aging in place as a concept is growing rapidly. So many people are talking about it, but more importantly, they are doing it. They are remaining in their homes as they age at unprecedented levels - regardless of the age at which they decide that they have their forever, permanent, or long-term home.
It's interesting that October is also National Kitchen & Bath Month because so much of what goes on in the home to keep it interesting, exciting, and viable revolves around these two aspects of the home. The kitchen is the heart of the home, the activity center. Not only do we eat and prepare meals there (and clean up to get ready for the next meal or snack), but we gather, hold conversations, receive guests, make plans, keep our checkbook, and so many other activities.
The bathroom is obviously an important room.
When people shop for a new home, and when they consider remodeling the home they home, the kitchen and bath figure prominently in what is considered. People spend a lot of time in these rooms, these rooms have more appliances, fixtures, and moving parts in them than other rooms in the home - and they also present significant safety challenges and concerns. When people decide to invest in improvements for their home, for potential resale value or to enhance the livability of it, the kitchen and bath immediately come to mind.
As aging in place professionals, we certainly can make this awareness for kitchen and baths work for us as we help people focus on those aspects of their homes to create safe, functional spaces for them that are accessible and visitable for members of the household and others who come into the home on an occasional basis.