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Dr. Kestner: Some assisted living centers combine quality care, caring

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My parents recently made the move to assisted living.

It was a tough decision for them to “break up housekeeping” as my mom calls it.

They have moved several times in their lives, residing in at least three states. Every time there was a lot of work and effort involved.

The transition to assisted living was different from their previous moves. This move was not one of opportunity, but rather of necessity.

Many readers’ families have faced or will be facing a similar decision within the next few years. We are fortunate in this area to have several assisted living facilities to choose from.

No matter which facility is selected from the many that are considerations for assisted living, the costs are high. It is quite expensive to live in a place that provides such a level of services and security. Yet, for many, assisted living is the perfect solution to an increased need for assistance in daily life activities.

My family considered several options to address the need for help in handling daily activities such as housekeeping, meal preparation, and even attending to personal needs.

We hired several workers to come to my parents’ private home. That seemed like a good idea, but never worked very well. We found that many of the people we interviewed failed to deliver the level of services they promised. Some were dishonest or deceptive.

We tried agencies that provide hourly personal assistance by personnel that have been screened and undergone a background check.

Family Staffing Solutions is a local well-run company that provided very good personnel with extremely courteous service. For many elderly clients, this service is ideal and I recommend Family Staffing Solutions.

Although helpful, these in-home solutions were not comprehensive enough to meet the needs of my parents.

We realized that moving to a facility designed and operated specifically for the purpose of providing personal services, security, meals and housekeeping for elderly adults was the ideal solution.

Naturally we were concerned about the quality of care that would be provided, and whether the services provided during the long term would match the promises that were given during the initial interviews.

I felt the best way to assess that was to actually visit and speak with some of the existing residents.

I reviewed the state ratings and number of times that the facilities had been considered to be non-compliant with state requirements.

I walked the halls of each facility to see for myself whether I felt they were attentive to cleanliness, safety, and addressing the unique needs of an elderly population.

I observed the attitudes and personalities of each employee that I encountered. I tried to judge whether the employee was putting on their smiley face for a visitor or whether they generated a genuine sense of enjoying their job and exhibited a caring attitude toward the residents that provide their paychecks.

At AdamsPlace and Stones River Manor, I sensed genuine caring attitudes from the employees I spoke with.

At Stones River, the staff was more likely to offer a warm greeting, rather than waiting for me to initiate a conversation. At Adams Place everyone was very friendly.

I met several volunteers at Stones River Manor. I spoke with a couple of ladies that volunteer there regularly. They are members of ladies auxiliary. They told me about some of their efforts to enrich the lives of the residents and it was obvious that they really enjoyed this mission.

I have known several employees of AdamsPlace for years and know that it is an exceptional facility.

I also found Stones River Manor to be exceptional. I was really impressed by the level of genuine concern and warmth that I encountered there. I told my parents I would agree with either choice. Their final decision was to move to Stones River Manor.

If your family is faced with a similar decision, I encourage you to be proactive in asking questions and investigating options. Each person in this circumstance has unique needs and values, and one solution does not fit all.

Next week: How to tell if you have chronic inflammation.

Dr. Mark Kestner
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Dr. Mark Kestner, Living Well, Voices
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