As we talk about transitioning out of the pandemic on Father’s Day weekend, CarePartners Senior Living‘s Kelley Smith talks about if you’ve had a loved one stuck at home these past 450 days, how do you help bring them back into the world, as well as how to assess whether they might need additional care.
View Episode Transcript
*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.
And Welcome back everyone to answers for elder’s radio, and we are here this hour talking about transitioning out of Covid if you have a loved one that has been sitting at home forever and trying to figure out, okay, how do we how do we take what we have right now with a probably potentially a senior that’s been sitting alone for four hundred and fifty days, and how do we bring them forward, and I think this is the thing, back into the society again, and one of the things if they’re help us declined and if they have been in a situation where they need mark care. A lot of families right now are exploring options and we are here this hour with Kelly Smith, who’s the vice president of care partners living, and Kelly, we’re always so glad you’re here with us and thank you for the first half hour. And we’re entering into this new chapter of how do we hit the new chapter, girlfriend? That’s the thing. You Bet. Anything we can do to help families with this transition. It doesn’t even have to be my communities or you’re going to do this. Any place to go. Yeah, and I think it’s important information in anything we can do to help families make this a smoother transition for their loved ones. Better for the family is better for their loved one. I’m all for it. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, Kelly, if if somebody calls you and says mom is been sitting along for you know, since last March, she won’t leave her house. She’s still even though she’s vaccinated, she’s still afraid to leave the house and but I’ve seen her how decline. She needs help. Things are happening on. How do you guys work? What happens? Well, the first thing we want the family to do is come see the community, come check it out, because the first few minutes you’re in a community you’re going to know if this is the right place for mom. Can you see her here? To the people that family to come first before bringing them m well, I mean they can bring mom at the same time. I’m okay with that. Some families like to do preliminary research on their own before they go get mom and death, because there’s so many places out there. Sometimes they’d like to narrow it down to just a couple, and I really do recommend that before you take mom and dad out. You don’t want them to be overwhelmed. Heybe we got nine places to show you instantly. Why I never gonna go. No, no, no, no, please don’t, because here’s what happens. Just like when your house hunting. I can’t tell you how many houses I’ve looked at and then you go back home and you go here, honey, which one end the blue kitchen? Is that the first one of the second one? We looked at? Why? Right, so you can’t. You know, you can get you can get too much of a brain fog if you see too many things. So what we really recommend the families is do your preliminary work. Narrow it down to two or three. Okay, find find the ones that eight the amenities and the neighborhood and the pricing and everything that you need for your folks. Okay, if it’s too outrageous, if it’s too expensive, if it’s way out there and it’s going to take too long to visit, mark those off your list. But there’s a lot of good communities out there. So you can narrow it down and when you have the conversation with mom and dad, you can tell a look. We’re not trying to go behind your back, but we did some research to find some really nice places and we’re not going to drag you around to a hundred of them. We already pick two or three. We want you just to look at and have a nice lunch and you can go and just look and once the parents understand, this is not going to be a sales pitch, right, this is just to go and see the place. Now again, you can also talk to the salesperson, whoever you’re working with, at that community, and let them know my parents aren’t they’re not all for this. You can set that to her up to to be as friendly as you need it to be. Sure, okay, because there are sales people out there are going to push those people to make a decision, let’s be honest. And then there’s other folks who are a little more chill, kind of like my company. We’re like hey, when you’re ready, we’re here for you. You know, I’m not going to talk the end to something that’s ridiculous. So, but again, have them narrow it down. Now, once they do make a decision, that’s when the balls really start moment because that’s when they pick out an apartment, they put the posits down, the posits to refund the mole. That’s when you’re looking at getting assessments done, and assessments are not the nurses are going to come in and, you know, take a peek at your hine and, you know, ask you a whole bunch of horrible questions. It’s not like that. The nurse is your friend and what she wants to do is get to know you. So she’s going to come in, sit down, visit with you, tell me about a typical day. And this is a sterical because it can go one way or the other. I’ve had families come in. They’re like, what do you mean? My MOM has no services? Are you kidding me? She needs to stand by shower assists, she needs dead hoaks, she needs mead management. We’re like, we did the assessment. Mom said she doesn’t need anything all day long. She does all of her own stuff. And then you have to reassess. And then you have families at the kids come back and they go, what do you mean Fifteenzero? Mom and dad do everything on their own. Not According to Dad, he wants us to give him a bath on Wednesday right. So the assessments can go both ways and that’s why we get the families involved, because sometimes people don’t understand what the assessment is for they think, well, Hey, I’m going to go live into this place, I’m going to have him do everything for me. All right, you commit. In the morning I want you to wake me up, I want you to help me get out of bed. You know I mean it can be he right, right, why not? So the main thing with assistant living communities you have to remember is most of these places is like a spring sample. And all there’s good ones. There’s a lot of great ones out there. Like we refer to Brook Day, Bill and and are living. I got friends there and they’re awesome people. We Love Them. So their mission is the same as arts. We want to keep independent people as in and assisted living as independent as possible for as long as possible. We start doing too much for them, you take away what in dependence they have. It’s like a child. If you take a child and you’re constantly tying their shoes and buttoning their shirt, they’re ten years old, and guess who doesn’t know how to tie your shoes and button as shirts? See, so it’s the same thing with assisted living folks. As long as they can still do it, we might be standing by assist to help them. But that’s what people need to understand. The those assessments. We’re not there to make a list of every single thing they need. and Are we going to do it for them? No, can they safely do it? Where do we need to step in? What support do they need to be successful? And you can add things as your loved one ages in place, and that’s something else you need to know. Nothing is set in stone. You can also have a situation. What if mom got sick and now she needs up on me for a couple of weeks and then the services come off as she gets stronger. You need to know kind of how all that looks. But ill you know, it really depends on the on the different type of company. How assisted living is paid for, because son tried to flat rate for everybody. Some try it’s according to how ms you need. Right, sliding scale. Is that correct? Can you kind of explain how that works in your industry? Yeah, for example, most places that have a memory care memory care is almost always levels. Right now, maybe four, one through five hit it and well, if our care, yeah, it’s just boom, this is your monthly rate based on your level. Right, okay, and levels usually have wiggle room in them. So mom goes up a few point your level doesn’t change right Heay, Washington State Law requires that once somebody moves in within thirty days you have to assess them again because they might get better. Now that they’ve got three healthy meals, the hydration system, medications on time. Their level might come down. So it’s not at thirty days, it’s within thirty days. Okay. So you got people who are also going to be paying break fless attention to mom and dad, especially that first month, because you’re learning them. How are they responding to the care? How’s it going? So they might command at a level two or three during their first month, but they also might drop down, so be prepared for that. But they also might go up the level. They might get in there and not do well at all. So families also have to have realistic expectations of how whether loved one’s going to do. Okay, that’s very important as law and most of us who’ve been doing this a long time, I’m going on fourteen years, we actually sit down with families and I tell them I want your expectations to be very realistic here. Okay, mom is not going to go from an eighty three year old woman using a walker to do in the runway like a supermodel in six week now. We’re going to do our best. We’re going to work with physical therapy, we’re going to do everything we can, but I want your expectations to be realistic. There’s also a social site to this. When they tell me mom has been isolating and she won’t leave her apartment. We talked about the social side because I’m going to tell you one of our taglines here, and it’s not something we made up, it’s something we believe in. Dementia is what your mother has, it’s not who she is very good. So tell us who she is, because our daily grind here isn’t just making sure she’s safe, warm, fed dry as our medications on time. There’s a soul that we’re also taking care of here, and what we want to know is, how do we reach her with dementia? How do we find her, because she’s going to have those moments of clarity, we want to be right there. Yeah, so those social assessments are important because if she said while isolating and even if she doesn’t have dementia, well, social assessments are important because if we know she loves to play cards or she loves to party, plant are there’s things she always used to do, but these last fifteen months have been so horrible for her that she didn’t even get off the coach. We’re going to get her in here and guess what we’re going to do and we’re having a party. Go get Jan she’s the party plan. Let’s have her come help us. Yeah, activities don’t have to be what’s on the calendar. Activities can be whatever you need them to be to pull your resident out and make them feel part of a community and having a sense of purpose, which I think so valuable in the fact that to integrate into a community is the fact that you know, I do. I live every day because I have a purpose, I have something to look forward to and I remember just a little quick side note. My mom found this little trillion plant in the woods, you know, like and and I. This is a long time ago and she loved it and nurtured it when she was younger. Well, my sister in law found one again and she brought it to my mother in the nursing home and when she was just killed nursing and mom was been ridden for the most part she had to mention. And but you know the beauty of this? She put that little trillium plant in the window and she had it in water and then we planted it after it grew roots and you know what, it started to grow and every day she was excited about this little plant and that told me that she wanted to live. It’s all say that she had a purpose to see the next day, to see this little plant grow. And it’s silly is that was, but to having her have dementia and this was something that she really loved to look forward to meant the world to me because it was an indicator that she wanted to live. There you go. And how many times have you heard in songs that you always remember the way something feels? And a lot of times when people are starting to decline, why do they stop socializing? It’s because they don’t want the people around them to see what’s happening. Yeah, okay, so they start to to drop off a lot of their socialization because they don’t want people to know. They’re private people. That’s a generation that kept a lot of things to the and it’s also denial. You know, if I’ll go away or anything like that. So we’re exactly yeah, we’re going to talk a little bit about that in our last segment, a little bit with Kelly, about integration and really about things that we’re doing out into the community, that it’s helping seniors with the transition and so everyone. In the meantime, Kelly, how do we reach to care partners livingcom is the best place because then you can actually see testimonials, pictures and if you really want a good scare, check out the admissions page. You can see my happy Mug and we love you any every way. Kelly would be right back right after this
Listen to More Answers for Elders with Suzanne Newman
Keep an eye out for future Answers for Elders podcasts on the Senior Resource Podcast Network! Thanks for listening, and be sure to keep scrolling for more articles by Suzanne. For more AFE podcasts, visit AnswersforElders.com and subscribe on your favorite platform!
Founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., Suzanne Newman 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 Newman found herself 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. In 2009, she became the founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., subsequently hosting hundreds of radio segments and podcasts, as well as authoring her first book. Suzanne and Answers for Elders, Inc. have spent 14 years, and counting, committed to helping families and seniors along their caregiving journeys by providing education, resources, and support. Each week on the Answers for Elders podcast, 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.