Presbyterians Today

OCT 2018

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P r e s by te r i a n s To d ay OCTOBER A QUICK GUIDE TO SENIOR CARE TERMINOLOGY sure you are clear on what future care is included in the contract you sign. Paying attention to the details is important," said Dickson. Finally, ask about club programs. Many senior living com- munities are opening their doors and providing activities to people who still live at home. This "try before you buy" offer allows participation in activities before moving in. Making friends and becoming familiar with the facility and programs can make the transition to senior housing easier. Leaving home for a senior living community is not always easy. But the mission of many communities is to empower their residents to live their best life at every age. Chang says moving to a senior living com- munity can be like going to a party you aren't sure you want to attend. "You are nervous and hesitant at rst, but once you get there you meet people you like and have a good time. In the end, you'll be glad you went," she said. Sue Washburn is the pastor of Reunion Presbyterian Church in Mount Pleasant Pennsylvania and a freelance writer solely on the person giving the tour to inform the decision about what is best for you. Talking to the residents and caregivers can allow for a broader view. Residents can give an unvar- nished look at what happens each day and describe how their needs are met — or not. Asking the staff how long they have worked there and how often workers come and go can say something about morale. Stopping in unannounced during off-peak hours with fewer staff around can provide a look at things like morning and evening rituals and the slower, weekend pace. "And don't forget to ask the money questions," advised Dickson, "espe- cially about benevolent care." Some places may terminate the relation- ship because of an inability to pay and the search for a new home then begins all over again. Senior commu- nities that have some sort of benevo- lent care fund will help residents remain in the community even if they outlive their nancial resources. Also, be sure you compare apples to apples when making the nancial decisions. "When it comes to pricing and contracts, know what is included in the monthly fee or entrance fee. Make there just won't be room for every- thing, but they are getting access to the whole campus and a community of people who will love and care for them," Chang said. She encourages imagining yourself in the gardens and common areas of the new com- munity and not just in the personal space. Lynn Alexander, senior vice presi- dent and chief marketing of cer for Presbyterian Villages of Michigan, says good care is more than a lovely campus. "So many people get caught up in a beautiful environment, but things like ratios of caregivers to residents, feelings of control, programs that are of interest and sense of community can be even more important than the decor," she said. "A building is a building," said Nicole Muller, president of Occupancy Answers, a consulting rm for senior living communities. "It's best to get to know the unique personality of a community. We encourage people not just to tour a building but have a meal and participate in the programs so they can truly experience being in the community. It's even possible to ask for a trial stay." Talk on the tour. Don't rely When most people think of senior living they imagine infirm people confined to a bed or wheelchair However that is just one level of care in most facilities "Many people don't realize how many o•erings we have A lot has changed in the field of senior housing and services" said Linda Dickson director of community relations at Redstone Highlands Independent living or senior communities o•er small homes and apartments to people who need little care and meet a minimum age requirement They may o•er some dining services as well as entertainment and programs They may or may not be part of a continuing care community Continuing care facilities o•er multiple levels of care as the need for help increases The facilities may begin with independent living and move through hospice care Assisted living allows seniors to live relatively independently but with some assistance for things like housekeeping meal prep showering and remembering medication Most have sta• to monitor the residents Skilled care o•ers the services of nurses and aides who provide ƒ„-hour medical and daily care Rehabilitation and IV medications may be administered Memory care caters specifically to patients with Alzheimer's disease and dementia Residents typi- cally live in a designated and secure part of the assisted living or skilled care commu- nity to avoid wandering Hospice care — special medical psychological and spiritual support for resi- dents facing a life-limiting or terminal illness — is o•ered by many continuing care communities Caregivers seek to provide peace comfort and dignity at the end of life

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