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Question of Month

Safe Harbor-Lesson in Assisted Living

Mom and Step mom were human.  The X- Wife, Susan Sarandon, was jealous of the younger, new wife, Julia Roberts, but in the end when her breast cancer was progressing, the mom, Susan Sarandon, wanted the best for everyone even her X husband, her kids and her rival the Step Mom, Julia Roberts.   That is the power of people, caring, and relationships.  That power is invaluable and hard to quantify in Dollars.  Look for that and you will get the best value for you Senior Care dollars. Saw the movie Safe Harbor and wanted to share my Senior Moment The Safe Harbor is another creative way to show that even when one is dead.  The Mother who guided the new wife to help her husband and kids still has value.  I see the similar values to families, society and seniors as they age.  Images of what was, is and can be continue to be powerful influences to families and society.  I know no simple dollar formula for love, hope, trust, feeling needed, wanted, productive and valued.  Likewise defining “safety” is hard for most seniors to swallow since the social worker, family, or individual defining “safety” for the senior often times is focused more on financial, legal, or physical safety than on emotional well-being, continuity of care and relationship building. I see families faced with aging, loss as individuals who are aging and families who are losing large parts of who they are. In losing a senior, but in all cases they want to help each other. Seniors know they are aging and they just want to be known, remembered, and to help if they can. Feelings are the end point of all process.  Pain hurts less when you are holding your own new born or a grandchild.  The sum of all pains, pills, and Emotional and social therapies including continuity of care and relationship building is part of the treatment.  Complex and powerful therapies, and feelings like hope, trust, belief, faith, belonging, parenthood, creation, choice and empowered to choose, take time and social relationships to achieve.  Seniors and all of us know helping can mean getting others to provide the care so the Family can visit, email and carry on.  Pain and life have large emotional elements that doctors cannot study.  Indeed, few studies add in emotional health and wellbeing since you can’t “study” or quantify it and it varies so much person to person and day to day.  However, that does not mean we don’t value those things.  Indeed, those are the things we buy based on even if we do not know we are. If you want to be “Safe”, have a “Safe Hospital Discharge”, “Safe transition to any Senior Care Setting” look for individuals, people, and care teams with continuity of care. Sub segmented systems based on business organizational flow sheets and financial payment models pale in comparison to Continuity of Care and Relationship building to make someone feel safe.  To feel safe you have to know and trust the individuals who provide the day to day care and who the problem solves or manager are.  They have to know your social system and visa a versa.  You have to respect what they do and value it also.   Then you can hope to feel safer in a process of transitioning to a senior care setting. Aging and even dying are not bad they are expected.  What is bad is not having a care setting with caring and a relationship to allow physical care to be transcended to Family-style care we all want. Two quotes from Patch Adams of the Movie, Patch, that show Caring is more than care.         Treat the most devastating problem of all indifference or apathy.        If you treat the disease you win or lose but if you treat the person you win no matter what the outcome. To me, even if you die, that is not as much of a loss if they had someone who was there, caring, respecting, all that that person has done and continues to do for the family.  That sets a social and family example of valuing people and not just disposing of them which helps each of us in the family, caregivers and all the people surrounding the senior.  I care for my dad and he helps me every day by giving me some space to work.  Yes, he comes in but he then let’s me finish work and that is helping. Seniors who can find a safe haven or care setting with caring and continuity of care can help their social system and continue to enjoy family life. Look for Continuity of care in any care setting Assisted Living, Home Care, Hospice Care, Residential Care, Dementia Care, and Alzheimer’s Care, Memory care, Respite Care, Elder Care, Nursing Home Care and any Senior Care setting.  Meet the entire care team and you can find caring with the physical care that all promise you. Help us spread the word. Click for Free Ways to help. Click for The Best, Most Cost Effective, Assisted Living and Senior Care Alternatives. By Shawn McGivney

Family Values, Relationships, and Continuity of Care Affect Value In Senior Care

While assembly line style of care, productivity management, and six sigma standards of efficiency work for inanimate products they are not as good when dealing with a social service like Senior Care. We all need to become more aware of Social and Emotional costs and benefits in choosing a Senior Care setting before we make this expensive choice. Why not get more social and emotional benefit for the same dollar cost that is value. Life, Social, and Emotional Values  VS Simple Dollar Value When faced with the difficult and expensive task of finding a Senior Care Setting. Choosing a Senior Care Setting for a loved one is a Life Changing event for the entire Multi Generational Family. Facts about this Family Decision. -Financially Expensive -Socially Expensive. -Emotionally Expensive. -Physically Expensive. YOU ARE BUYING A SERVICE AND NOT JUST GETTING A ROOM. While most people will see that the cost of $3-6K / mo or$36K - 72K / yr is Financially Expensive most will not initially see the Social and Emotional costs to the senior, the grand-kids of the senior and  the adult children who often helping make the choice of a senior care setting for the senior. Do not be misled by a Title.  Assisted Living Facility often times is a room and meals with no assistance.  While they do offer assistance from the A La Cart Menu their basic services are more accurately Independent Living, a hotel room and a meal plan.  The services are often more like hotel services of laundry and room cleaning instead of Family Style, continuity of care, based personal care. No matter what any one or a brochure says the services are, you do not know what they AND WHO IS DOING THEM, until you meet the entire care team including the Administrator and Owner.  Do not forget the Administrator and Owner do run the show even if you do not know them. How the Family sees you, the Adult son or daughter of the senior, do matter in most social settings.  That leads to emotional feelings for all generations who will often want to do more.  All adult children who are faced with helping a senior make this decision will feel some amounts of  guilt that they can't do more themselves  with any choices they make.  However, all can feel their best, if they follow one simple rule Meet all of the Direct Care people INCLUDING THE ADMINISTRATOR AND OWNER. Meeting the entire care team is the only way you can know what services you are getting.  The sales lady can't describe who is providing the services you are getting.  The tour of the physical plant or building is such a small part of the SERVICES you need and are contracting for.  We believe that many over look the social and emotional costs in favor a quick walk through of the building on a tour.  Without meeting the people who will provide the care on a day to day basis you will not really know what you are getting. THE STANDARD OF CARE AND CARING STARTS AT THE TOP. Do not underestimate the value of meeting the administrator and owner.  The management directly affects what the caregiver and medication technicians do day in and day out. The more hands-on the Administrator and Owner are,  the more likely they are  to value the feelings of the resident,  families and their own staff.   It is much harder for any human including managers and owners  to down size, under staff, do less if they make an agreement themselves in person.  When the sales lady promises service she will have no involvement or responsibility for it is likely her promises will mean much less than a promise from the Administrator and Owner who will work side by side with their staff day in and day out.  Indeed, most business people will tell you to maximize profits for the business the managers and owners should not know you or the staff.  Knowing the staff and families  makes it socially harder to under value them.  Of course, our goal is not to maximize profits for the institutions but to show Seniors and Families how to get the most caring they can for their private pay dollars. Hand Shakes Have Social Value- Look for Hand Shakes not Paper Contracts when Choosing Services. In general, all people work better, are more involved, when they are socially and emotionally appreciated.  That is human nature.  Look for that when choosing a senior care setting and you will get the most care and caring for your private pay dollar. Of course, their will always be some financial reality of who each owner and administrator chooses for their staff but our experience is that more hand-s on the management, the more personally involved the management is with their own staff and the seniors and families they care for that leads to the best value for the Senior and their private pay dollars. When choosing Senior Care in all care settings Assisted Living, Home Care, Hospice Care, Dementia Care, Alzheimer's Care, Memory Care, Hospice Care,Residential Care be sure to meet and shake hands with the entire care team including the top management.  If you don't meet they you can't access their degree of commitment and sincerity to care vs a more financial only, A la Cart, Model of Care. Help us spread the word.  Click for Free Ways to help. Click for The Best, Most Cost Effective, Assisted Living and Senior Care Alternatives. By Shawn McGivney

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