Part 1 of a conversation with Gidgette Chesley, the executive director of Patriot’s Landing in DuPon, WA. When people are investigating memory care, most are not looking for the services when their loved one is in the early stages. It’s priceless to have conversations while they are able to express their wishes. They’re tough conversations to have.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
This is a special presentation of answers for elders with carriage. Welcome to answers for elders. I’m Chuck Holmstead, filling in for Suzann Newman today, and with me is gidget Chessi. She’s the Executive Director of Patriots landing and Dupont and Gidget, welcome to answers for elders. Well, thank you. Check. Yeah, it’s good to see you. You this is your first time in studio. I’ve had a chance to see you many times down at Patriots landing and you are the executive director there and I want to learn a little bit more about you before we start talking about Alzheimer’s and memory care. We love to get to know the staff. You’ve got a great staff down there. I’m there for the community meetings and get to see how your managers operate and how you operate. And how long have you been a patriots landing? I’ve been there just over nine years. Just over nine years. Check. Yeah, nine years. And so you haven’t always been the executive director. You didn’t come in and that position. So let’s go back a little bit. How did you get involved in the in senior care of the business or in senior care. Actually, I was working in food service and I took a summer off when I adopted my son and it was time to go back to work and I need to find a job where I could be home with my son and it worked with daycare. So I applied for his position called dining room supervisor at a retirement community and I got the position and I went home and I cried because I had never waited at Table Day in my life. Wow, had no idea how to direct someone to do that. And I went in on my first day and the lead server welcomed me and he says, Hey, gidget, just so you know, we had a server call out and tonight you have five tables and I went okay, and he says don’t worry, they all sit down at the same time. And so I was really like, oh no, yeah, but they were great and they helped me through and the residents were gracious and that’s where I started, and just that interaction with those residents on that very first day was what kept me in long term care. Is Sold you, it sold me, it sold you on it. So so how long did you do that before you moved on over to patriots landing. I was there just over five years and I moved into pay. I moved over to Patriots landing on there. Forget, January, the first wow I closed. I was the administrative assistant in that building when I left it and close the books and went and started a new business on the new day wow year. Yeah, and so you came in doing what I came in as the business office manager. So I did that position for about eight, I guess seven years before I took it executive director, and I interned executive director as we were looking for executive directors between. Yeah. Well, patriots landing is part of carriage incorporated, and so you not only have a patriots landing in Dupont, but there’s mission healthcare and a couple of other facilities as well. Right, right, there’s Patriots Glenn and Bellevue, the new property in Renton, and we also have the lakes at banning, California. Yeah, and then we have carriage home health as well. Yeah, what would you say if you were if you were selling somebody on patriots landing if they were coming and what would you say? What this is, this is what we’re about. What would you say patriots landing is about. I would probably say the Camaraderie, just having that heavy military background. You know, about eighty five percent of our residents are retires, veterans and spouses, and just you’re never looking for someone to sit with. There’s always someone to sit with and talk with. You don’t feel intimidated walking in. I think that’s the biggest piece. Yeah, well, I’m down at Patriots landing every month and doing some veterans interviews down there and have a chance to interact with a residents and I know they’re happy because I talked to them, you know, before we record and and after we record and and you can tell that there’s just a real special bond that takes place with your residents and they love being there and and they say good things about about the staff and about the food. Oh Yeah, well, thank you. Check you have and I will agree with you. And I have to tell you that’s one of the things we always talk about, is the opportunity to have filamemegnon and Krember lay every day for the rest of your life. That’s heaven. Yeah’s heaven. No kidding. Well, and you have some great activities as well. Just recently there was a party on Sunday and Dennis Boyd and I went down and enjoyed the the football game with some of the residents. That’s patriots landing and that was just a lot of fun and a lot of good people and just patty does a great job with some of the activities down there, and she does and we really wanted to do something special. Grandparents Day is usually looked over by a lot of people. It’s not a mother’s Day or a father’s day and it gets looked over and we get cherish this generation that you know is shrinking and we need to cherish it. They there’s so much knowledge. As you do those interviews, you know, the knowledge and the stories, and that’s that’s how we are where we are today. Yeah, it’s listening to them and you know, sometimes when you’re speaking with someone, even the veterans that have an incredible story, often times they’re pretty hesitant. They’re like it. You know, what do I really have to say? You know, and my thought is is your story matters, it matters to your family, it matters to us to hear, to hear the stories that are being told, because so often people they forget, you know, they forget what’s what our veterans have done and what the spouses and families of veterans have have sacrificed for our country. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So tell me about and we’re going to talk about alzheimers and just a second. But there’s like different sections of patriots landing. You have assisted living and and then independent living. Yeah, so we have a couple different sections, if you will. We have our cottages, which are fully independent living. This is for a very active person or couple that really just want to get right away from all the daily tasks at home of mowing the lawn and, you know, dust in the high shelves and washing the windows. Inside the building we have independent, assisted and memory care living. So very great array of people inside the building. But you don’t have to move necessarily a patriots landing when you need assisted living, which is really nice and that is one of the things that sets us apart. And a memory care you know, we’re getting ready to break ground next month and a brand new sixty bad memory care building right on our property. Yeah, well then, let’s just transition to that. As we’re talking about memory care and September being Alzheimer’s awareness month, because that is a growing concerned, sadly to say, isn’t it? And the need for assistance with people who are going through the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s is pretty significant, isn’t it? Oh, absolutely, definitely seen an increase in that. Absolutely, yeah. Well, let’s talk about that because oftentimes you had mentioned to me before we recorded that you just had a couple come in yesterday to talk about their plans for what they’re going to do because the wife was just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. What was that conversation like for you? And it was an interesting conversation. We normally, when someone’s looking for memory care, we don’t tend to get someone that is just recently diagnosed. In the beginning stages. People tend to take it on and I’ll take care of my spouse and I marry them for life and I’m going to take care of them and then, unfortunately I figure out that eventually they can’t. It was really unique to have them come in and talk with us at the very beginning stages and her to be a part of the plan. She knows that her memories going to go and she’s helping choose where she is going to live and that priceless because that is so rare to see and it’s a very hard conversation to have even as a couple, let along with your family and to help make those decisions. Yeah, so you hopefully so. That doesn’t happen very often. Have someone comes in and says, I know this is going to happen and here are my wishes. Note. The typical thing we see is spouses at home and one spouse is caring for the other and it just gets to be too much. They’re not trained experts in dealing with memory care and some of the things they can do may aggravate it, which is is sad because they just don’t know and then they burn themselves out and that’s not what you want to see. We want to see, you know, come in and date your wife again. Yeah, I’m going to date your husband again. Yeah, take them on a date in the dining room, take them out to dinner, to a restaurant and enjoy what you can while you can. Yeah. Well, it’s really interesting. I have a close family member that I I am pretty certain that they’re beginning those stages and seventy four years old and married for fifty five years, and I can just tell by the phone conversations and finally talking with a spouse that they’ve said, you know, she’s struggling and she knows it and it’s tough because there’s a whole lot of decisions ahead of them as far as as their living situation, as far as you know, how they’re going to navigate the future, and it, like I said, it is a tough, tough conversation. We are really great at planning our lives and saying now I’m going to retire when I get to hear and I need to draw up my will and I need to do these few things and I’m going to go get my burial plans done in my funeral plants, everything taken care of, but we forget to talk about what happens if something happens to me. Hm. We may know what a DNR is, it do not resuscitate and those types of things, but where do you want to live and making that choice. The sooner you can make that choice, it easier it is when that transition time has to come, because everybody knows they’re supporting your choice. Yeah, well, and it’s it would be. It would be nice if more people would do that. Isn’t it? I mean you would be open to even somebody that’s healthy, a couple that’s in their late s or early s, to come in and just check out a facility like patriots land you to say, you know, this maybe five or eight or ten years away, but we just want to see what this is like. I mean, that would be really great if people did that, wouldn’t it? It would be really great and, like I said, this much time she spend planning other things, this would be the one thing that. It’s not a fun topic, but put it on the check list and make the plan. Yeah. Well, we’re going to keep you over for a second segment because we want to talk about some of the ten early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s and talk a little bit more about memory care, because this is an important topic. But let’s if someone wants to get a hold of you or someone at at Patriots landing, how do they do that? Well, there’s several ways you can do that. You can call us directly at two, three, nine, six, four nine zero zero, you can visit our website at Patriots Landingcom and you can also catch us on facebook. Yeah, well, it’s a great website and there’s a lot of great information on there. So we’re going to come back and in just a few minutes after the break and we’ll talk more with gidget chestly. She’s the executive director at Patriots landing in dupond right. Thank you check. This has been a special presentation of answers for elders with carriage. For more information for carriage go to CARRIAGECOM. That’s SAR agecom.
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.