Story by Suzanne Gibson | Apr 26, 2016

Three local businesses that care for the aging offer insights.

With more adults living beyond age 70, lots of questions arise about how to best care for aging parents. There are physical, emotional and financial challenges to consider, and the options can sometimes be overwhelming. Three local business, each offering different levels and  types of elderly care, share information about their services. The business featured include: Bee At Home, Golden Living Center and Valley Park Retirement Center.

Valley Park Retirement Center

An in-house retirement park

BusinessFeature_ValleyParkRetirementCenter

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS THAT SHOW YOUR SERVICES ARE NEEDED?

Basic signs that assisted living might be a good option is found in daily routine tasks that are not being completed or forgotten all together. Some simple signs of loneness include sitting in dark rooms, not turning on lights or the TV. This person never wants to end a telephone call and craves attention and company. Many times you’ll find them sitting and staring at the wall or floor. Personal hygiene becomes an obvious issue.

SUBTLE SIGNS THAT ASSISTED LIVING MIGHT BE A GOOD OPTION ARE:

• Daily medications are not being taken on time or not at all (forgetfulness)

• Nutrition: Concern over someone not eating properly / skipping meals and losing weight

• Not keeping physician appointments

• Personal hygiene or dressing properly is noticed more often

HOW DO YOU HELP WITH THE TRANSITION?

Helping families and residents transition from home to retirement center is a joint effort by family, friends and our staff. We recommend that prospective residents visit and tour the center as many times as necessary, stay for lunch and have a chance to sit and talk with other residents. We make sure that their furniture and priceless family pictures and keepsakes are moved in a day or two before the resident. This way their new room is ready for them to walk in and relax. The staff visits with them and introduces themselves as the person to call on should they require assistance. We make sure they know meal times and where they sit in the dining room. We also have someone introduce them to the other residents.

WHEN IS ASSISTED LIVING NOT A FIT?

Some reasons assisted living might not be the best option are normally due to health and mobility requirements or limitations. For example, someone who is incontinent of the bowel or bladder, in the final stages of Alzheimer’s or is combative with others. Basically, we are not a fit if the patient has health reasons that require skilled nursing care.

YOUR AVERAGE AGE RANGE?

Average age ranges from early 70s to late 90s. We would hesitate admitting anyone younger than 70 years of age.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY?

A typical day starts with breakfast. Serving time is from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. with a few stragglers afterwards. Some folks are not early risers. Our breakfast meal is an open menu. It can be anything from a simple heated Danish roll and hot tea or a full plate of eggs over easy, sausage,  hash browns, coffee and orange juice. The selection is wide.

Next is a daily exercise class after a short trip back to the room to prepare. The remainder of the morning is spent reading the morning paper, catching morning news shows or just relaxing with a second cup of coffee. Activities are scheduled throughout the day in the activity area or the dining room.

Lunch arrives quickly, and the menu is posted a week in advance. Substitutes are available as well. After lunch, residents make their way back
to the rooms and decide on afternoon activities such as watching TV or simply taking a well-deserved afternoon nap. Supper meal (a much lighter fare) is prepared and served around 5:00 to 5:30 pm. Discussions at the table are often lively.

YOUR GOALS FOR CLIENTS?

• A safe and clean environment

• Appropriate and scheduled medical care and medication program

• Consistent nutritious meals that meet required dietary needs

• Socialization to stimulate continued thought process and interests

• Comfort knowing someone is there to assist should they require a little help now and then

• Security is providing 24/7 as well as staffing for assistance, security and companionship

WHAT IS ASSISTED LIVING/RESIDENTIAL CARE?

It is the first step into a retirement-living life style. For some it is a welcomed step in the right direction, to have someone else prepare meals, furnish laundry and provide housekeeping services. For others it can be seen as the end of their freedom, but this is not necessarily true. Most retirement centers, assisted living centers and residential care centers provide daily assistance with normal activities that become more difficult to perform every day. Many retirement center residents still drive their own car, go shopping and visit with friends. They are free to come and go as they please. In most cases, the rent payment is based on a 30-day agreement, and there is no long-term lease. The terms are similar to renting an apartment.