Lois Bowers headshot

As I was writing this week about Newsweek’s first-ever ranking of US continuing care retirement communities, coming Nov. 29, it struck me again how much senior living operators, collectively, are in the public consciousness.

Nationwide, nursing homes often are in the spotlight, in part no doubt because they are federally regulated. But senior living communities increasingly are being recognized for the important role they play and will continue to play in serving and caring for older adults.

Indeed, when announcing the launch of the CCRC rankings, Newsweek noted that “[t]he U.S. population is aging, the number of people over 65 will continue to grow continuously over the next few years, and the request for retirement housing that offers various levels of care options will increase over the next decades.”

Other organizations have made similar observations in recent years. And as I point out in my article about the new rankings, the Newsweek program is one of a growing number of recognition programs designed to help senior living communities stand out from their competition as consumers search for options. US News and World Report, Fortune and J.D. Power are some of the entities behind relatively new efforts.

So let’s take some time — how about a week? — to celebrate a big part of senior living: assisted living.

Sept. 10-16 is this year’s observance of National Assisted Living Week, created by the National Center for Assisted Living to honor the people who live, work and volunteer in assisted living communities. This year’s theme is “Season of Reflection,” and special activities and events are planned at communities across the country (search “National Assisted Living Week” to read about some of them).

As we reflect on the contributions of assisted living providers and residents, NCAL shares federal data that the approximately 30,600 assisted living and residential care communities across the country serve as workplaces for about 478,500 individuals and as home to approximately 818,800 people. (See this federal publication for more information about communities and residents.)

So Happy National Assisted Living Week! Thanks to everyone in the profession for doing what you do. (And if you’re a CCRC operator hoping to have your community recognized in Newsweek’s new rankings, visit this page to find out how.)

Lois A. Bowers is the editor of McKnight’s Senior Living. Read her other columns here.