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A full skirt with rounded shoulders. French lace and a tea length. A white tie tuxedo with two-tone shoes. Brown leather suspenders and a floppy newsboy cap. For many of us, these clothing combinations are just retro fashion styles, but, for the residents of Greenwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Wakefield, MA, these were the outfits worn on the happiest day of their lives: their wedding day. Recently, a newly engaged young woman, one of our most frequent visitors, came to share her happy news with her grandmother and her grandmother’s friends, all of whom are Greenwood residents. As the soon-to-be-bride gushed about her excitement at trying on wedding dresses and picking color schemes for her bridesmaids’ dresses, wide smiles started forming on each resident’s face. One by one, they all took turns reminiscing about the day they walked down the aisle, and chuckled about the dress styles that were all the rage “back in their day.” The room became abuzz with chatter about wedding traditions and marriage advice.

Conversations and experiences like these should be commonplace. Researchers have long proved the health benefits of “social capital”—the ties we have within our communities that build trust, connection, and participation. This link is perhaps even more important for seniors. Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers found evidence that elderly people in the U.S. who have an active social life may have a slower rate of memory decline. In fact, memory decline among the most sociable was less than half the rate among the least sociable. At Greenwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, we believe that if you take the time to listen to how life’s significant events, relationships, and experiences have shaped who others are today, you’ll foster a shared sense of purpose and a deeper understanding in your community, both of which can ultimately result in a longer, happier, and healthier life.

This week, May 13-19, 2018, is National Skilled Nursing Care Week (NSNCW), formerly known as National Nursing Home Week, established by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) in 1967 and always beginning on Mother’s Day. NSNCW provides an opportunity to recognize the role of skilled nursing care centers in caring for America's seniors and individuals with disabilities. This week and throughout the year, skilled nursing facilities are encouraged to collect treasured stories from each resident and celebrate every individual’s personal narrative.

Every person has a unique story to tell. Let us rejoice in life’s stories and serve tribute to life’s most memorable events, relationships, and experiences that shape the distinctive perspectives of residents, families, staff, and volunteers in long term and post-acute care.

To learn more about the benefits of a skilled nursing facility, please contact the Greenwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, located at 90 Greenwood Street in Wakefield, MA, by calling 781-246-0211 or by visiting

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