Whether regarding skilled care, skilled nursing, or memory care, especially during the pandemic myths have persisted about senior living. This hour, Kelley Smith at CarePartners Senior Living talked about the myths and realities of senior living. This segment focuses on family members who care for a senior loved one. It’s important to understand your role to make sure they have the best quality of life possible. Learn more about CarePartners Senior Living.
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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.
The following podcast is provided by care partners living and answers for elders radio and welcome back everyone to answers for elders radio network. With Kelley Smith, vice president of marketing a sales of care partners living, and this hour we have been talking about, you know, just really the myths and the realities and that you know that the actualities of senior living, and we’ve touched on a lot of you know, maybe there’s misperceptions, there’s different types of things that families may have an idea of what assisted or senior living as a whole is like and that world has changed so dramatically to everyone. If you’ve been with this this hour, I hope that you’ve been enjoying the conversation that Kelly and I are having and certainly we’re going to close this hour to all the family members that have a loved one, because I think you have a role in this and it’s really important that you understand what your role is and it’s a huge, huge part of making sure that the quality of life for your senior loved one is the best possible. And so, Kelly, thank you for being with us this hour. It’s my pleasure so Kelly, when I remember when I was told my mom was leaving skilled nursing and I had like one week to find her a place and I was like frantic and I had no idea what to do. I was touring communities. I didn’t know one from another. They all look the same to me. I didn’t. Of course, this is back in two thousand and six, so you have to understand things have even changed since then. So I’m not I mean since two thousand and six to today. That’s a very big difference. But just to look at I felt like a deer in the headlights because I didn’t know what questions to ask. I didn’t know what would be the right choice for mom. She was not in a position to be able to discome and tour with us, even though I decided, well, I’ll find two places that I really like and I’ll take her to two and she can pick one of the two. Right. So, but she ended up when I did that, she says just pick one, I don’t want to go. So it was like fine. So anyway, so Kelly, as a family member, what I guess? What are the main responsibilities? I guess when I say responsibilities, I kind of say it loosely and how can we be, as family members, the best advocate for our loved one? The first thing you need to do is understand how the assessment process process works in an assistant living memory care community. They have to assess that state law. They we have to do an assessment. We have to have ourners put their eyes on or loved one, either in our building or in their home, wherever they’re at, hospital, wherever they’re at, and we have to do an assessment based on what their care needs are going to be. Now, from that assessment tool that the nurse uses, she’s going to come back and use her computer to put together a care plan. Right, she’s going to make adjustment, she’s going to put a note, she’s going to put a care plant. Every single individual that’s in assistant living has a care plan, including memory care. Right touch that resident. You don’t work with that resident until you have signed off on that care plan. Right. So a lot until lot of times what I’ve seen the families is will come in, they’ll sign all the contracts, the right to check and then we never see him again till they come to visit Moll it’s like, did you go over the care plan with the nurse. Why not? It’s also part of this. You need to sit down and understand. It’s not just well, yeah, because we have to do x, Y and Z for your mom and that’s why it’s going to be this much a month. Great, what is her care plan? Sit Down and talk to them about what is it going to look like in a day for her? And I think you can’t be mad at somebody if there’s another expectation that you have. Well, and I’m going to add to that really quick Kelly, because oftentimes, especially if mom or dad lived separately from from an adult child, they’ll oftentimes hide with their real needs are, and a professional can go and they can professionally assas us of what the actual needs are. So maybe mom or dad are not consistent with their medication. Maybe mom or dad have had, you know, their furniture walking more, or they’re, you know, they’re not cooking, you know, quality meals or anything like that. Maybe they’re not providing the best grooming habits as they should. So there’s different types of things that you know, sometimes you can, you know, fudge things for a day or so if you’re around, you know, an adult child and because we’re not professionals. As an adult child, we don’t necessarily know what the warning signs are, what to look for. So that’s a whole other piece of why this assessment proud sects, is so, so important. Well, it is, and the nurse doesn’t have anything to do with financials now. So the nurse is basing this off of an assessment tool is going to tell her what level of care they come in at. So the nurse doesn’t care about any of that. I’ve had nurses turned down people that were going to be private bay for ten years. They were never going to go on medicaide. She said no, they’re not moving in here. I just did their assess but let me tell you why. You know, it’s because we’re not the right fit for them. This is the area of care she’s you know. or or this person is not ready for memory care. They need a different environment. They’re very honest and what they’re doing is they have a license to protect right, and it’s not just about the license. Most of these people do this because you’re good people. You know, they’re a kind they want to take care of folks. But those were the right people in the right buildings, right, you don’t want the wrong people in an assistant living CAMM if they’re not ready for that. Right. So the nurses are going to be very honest with you. But again, that care plan, that is if your power of attorney, you’re the daughter, son, whatever, the spouse, you should be sitting down with that nurse going over that care plan right because again, there might be some things in there. You live with them every day. We don’t. We get an hour with them for an assessment. Maybe an hour and a half, sometimes too, but an hour is typical for assessment. The nurse is just asking questions. She’s not doing a skin check. She’s not. You know, we like to do them in their homes because then we can see them walk around. Yeah, they also see what kind of environment they’re living in. That really does and I always call it furniture whacking. Are they hanging onto things to get from one place to another? You know, like I kind of do in the bedroom at night when I get up to go to the bathroom, because I’m not you know, I mean I do a little bit of that. I’ll we all do hold in the middle of next first yeah, something. But what I’m saying is is that went there every day, every day we get up. M Well, another thing too, that the nurses are going to look at you know, if mom’s medications are sitting out, they’re going to ask her about them. Tell me what you take and how often you take when the nurse is going to look at me. Many times we’ve come back from assessment, the nurses like, I can’t wait to get this person in my building. They got thills that I have got two thousand and seventeen written on. I’m sitting on account of counter. Yeah, it’s like nobody’s paying attention to this, because parents also if my my dad told me I’m taking this medication and I yeah, it’s expired, but I take it every day and I’ll take it what I want to and I’m not going to take it away from him, my dad, and I think that’s what a lot of people deal with with their parents too. You know that we don’t snoop too much. You go over to their house, can be listening again. We were raising a very different generation. You don’t go there and go through your mom’s medications, you don’t go into her purse, you don’t get into herself, and so I think that’s still happening today. We’re sometimes kids don’t always catch the ear marks of what to really watch for. What’s a Red Flag? Again, if there’s no food in the house and they’re eating out all the time? Why, you know, what’s happening? Are they you know, what’s the quality of the food they’re eating? Our bills getting paid on time? You know, D mom call you set? You know, didn’t electricity get turned off, because if we’d got to pay the bill, what’s the yard look like it? Know, are the only living in a couple of rooms of the house? You know, we’ve seen people that bedroom, bathroom, living room, living room, bedroom, bathroom, living room, and they make this and that’s it. They got an entire you know, twenty four spare we know a hundred per floonte house and and I use it. So it’s just like what’s really happening? But again it’s also are they calling you every day because there’s things that they need, that they can’t do anymore? And Are you concerned? Are you sleeping at night? Are you worried that you know mom’s going to fall? You know her health is declining and you don’t know what to do. You’re watching a lot of weight loss with an elderly person any time the weight fluctuates. So every ten pounds in the wrong either direction, it’s something to pick yeah, and I think the other thing what you’re saying is so valuable because I think sometimes adult children feel like they don’t have a say. And I there’s something I remember. When I was caring for my mom, something switched inside of me and I don’t and it was probably when she was about two years into it, when I was kind of just taking it all in and wanting to be accurate with everything because I didn’t wanted to always tell the truth, and so I would correct my mom all the time and she had to mention that didn’t go over well and you know, but I started. You know, I wrote in my book that one of the shifting thing was is that I learned to become instead of a caregiver, I became an advocate, and there’s a huge difference between taking care of someone how you think they should be taken care of and stepping into their shoes and advocating for what they want to go. There you go, and I remember that shift so vividly that all of a sudden it’s just like this light came on inside of me. It wasn’t about what I felt, you know, it was about what mom felt. And I remember times like when she was in the Hospital of wait, they were giving her thick and liquids because she had a problemat you know, a little bit of a challenge was swallowing, and what I did was I you know, she was like, I want water. What drinks water all the time, it’s like. But the hospital said no, no, no, you know, and I’m going like you know what, I’ll sign a waiver, I don’t care, this is what mom wants. And the old Susan would have said, Oh, I have to, I have to take care of that. You know this, and I have to do with the hospital’s way. Well know, there’s a gray area there, and to just negotiate with the hospital and the Goo Shit with the community, saying, you know, one of the things that was really mom didn’t know how to speak for herself. I had a care conference with the community, which is Great. I said, you know, I don’t know what’s going on, but mom’s not happy with the food, and I sat there with a should they go? We’re going to bring the Dietitian in, and so the Dietitian asked me the most ridiculous, crazy question. You know what I think your mom. It’s she eats the food fine, but there’s something missing and she goes what? Well, tell me what she likes to, you know, eat, and I told I went through that. And then I say and she loves milk, and she and they go, Oh, we’ve never given her milk before. I go okay, so they start giving her milk. She’s like happy. Those are the things that having care conferences are so critical. There you go. We meet, we we didn’t assessment one time on this couple. It was for both all. I’ll never forget it because I laughed so hard I thought I was gonna die. The kids come in, pick out the community, we do the assessment for mom and daddy comes back almost fifteen grand the kids are having a heart attack. Oh, mom and dad were like, heck for moving into this place, we want you to give us a bath on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He wants to come in and do this and this, this, and they just every day were helpless. Yeah, nothing, yeah, they could. They were perfectly fine. The kids are like they’re full of poop. They don’t have anybody helping them. Take a bath. They don’t need anybody doing this in this now. They just thought here for moving in here, we might as well lay back and then she never get it off. Yeah, person, they’re like, yeah, no, MOM’s lost her mind, that you don’t need all this. Let me tell you what a typical day looks like. Yeah, the reassessment and new information from the kids. Now we went from fifteenzero down to six. Yeah, yeah, so you see what I’m saying? Yeah, you know, the families can also be an advocate for their families, their parent to make sure the parents not be coming to dependent, to absolutely assistant living communities like it. In it is to living with her foot with the residents can be as independent as possible for as long as possible and it’s not benefiting us. Yeah, it benefits them. Yeah, because, again, you don’t want these folks to decline in your buildings. It’s not the point of assistant living. The point is to have a great quality of life. They actually sometimes get to a better baseline. That’s what you’re looking for. You want to cry, you want it good. You don’t want them to move in in decline. That’s not the point. So paying attention to those things is really important. But again, if family feedback helps, if somebody just lost a spouse in the kids, come and tell us. Don’t bring down up. We need to know that. So, Kelly, how do we reach to your partners Livingcom’s best place to get a hold of us. You can check out pictures and testimonials and all kinds of fun stuff and we’re so glad everyone has been with us. Having Wonderful President State holiday on Monday. We’re very excited to have everyone with us this hour and Kelly, I’m always grateful, so grateful for you. Everything well. Thank you so much for all you do. We love you and to all of our listeners, remember one thing, be good to each other. The preceding podcast was provided by care partners living and answers for elders radio. To contact care partners living, go to care partners livingcom.
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Originally published February 20, 2022