Mayor Monte Montgomery went to several local assisted living facilities and gave the proclamation that the week of Sunday, Sept. 8 was National Assisted Living Week. The week was designated by the National Assisted Living Organization.

The week is designed to call attention, raise awareness and encourage family members to visit residents of these facilities.

According to a survey by Home Instead, up to 61% of Americans are faced with the very difficult choice of working to support their families or provide care for elderly loved ones needing assistance.  

How does a son or daughter choose between going to work, a vital part of survival, or ensuring the health and safety of their parents?

Mayor Montgomery found himself in the same position as many of his citizens, when his own mother needed some help several years ago. They were able to get her in a local assisted living facility where she was well cared for.

Providing a safe and happy environment for your family member to be in while you work is of paramount importance.

With Athens being a certified retirement community, this is a daunting decision many Athens residents and those they love face each day.

Assisted living is an option many are turning to, when possible.

“If it hadn't been for the assisted living community, I don't know what we would have done,” Montgomery said  “Assisted living is a great living lifestyle.”

Athens assisted living communities are very full and possible plans of expansion are being discussed. As a city these businesses are vital to our communities growth and quality of life.

Some facilities even allow pets, offering critical companionship while boosting morale. Imagine having a pet for many years and having to leave them and your home behind? The residents enjoy new and lasting friendships and a variety of activities while being in an independent yet safe environment.

One such facility is Oak Wood Place which has been open since 2000. Owner Blake Daniels hosted a grandparents ice cream social Sunday to celebrate the weeks kickoff. Rose Shawn celebrated her 92nd birthday during the event which Mayor Montgomery also attended. Montgomery made the proclamation and families enjoyed the sweet treat together.

Country Place also hosted the Mayor Monday morning. He emphasized to residents that he was their mayor and encouraged them to communicate their needs as citizens.

The elderly are a treasure of knowledge and life experience. Many would benefit from taking a moment of their time, not only this week but regularly, to listen and hear the amazing history they have witnessed. So many have provided countless hours of their lives caring for children, grandchildren, and perhaps even a career where caring for others was a daily part of life. Now that they need the help, don't we as a society owe them the best we have to offer?

To those caring for the elderly members of society, your job is important, thank you.

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