Join Suzanne Price RN, Regional Care Specialist at The Arbor Company, as she reveals the truth behind senior living and unravels the mysteries of caring for your loved ones in a senior living community.
Hello, everybody, and welcome in to Senior Living Live. My name is Melissa. As always, thanks so much for being with us. We have a great discussion on tap today as we literally pull the curtain back on senior living and the different pieces that go into caring for a resident at an Arbor community.
Suzanne Price is with me to break all of this down and maybe tell you some things that you didn't know about senior living. Suzanne, how are you today?
I'm great. Thank you for having me.
Yeah. You look great. So first and foremost, for those who may not know you, you're pretty new to the show. We've had another episode with you before. We're gonna have a couple more coming up. Tell us about yourself and what you do for the Arbor company.
Absolutely. I am a registered nurse, and my official title is a Regional Care Specialist. Which means I go around to the different buildings and support, the nursing staff, the frontline staff, and really anything to do with resident care. I help train new directors and just really overall make sure that all of our communities are really caring for our residents in the best practice possible.
Yeah. And, you do such a great job staying on top of all of the information that our seniors need to know to stay healthy and active for as long as possible. This conversation kind of goes into that, and I'm excited that people get to kind of get a glimpse of what it's like to be in senior living without being in senior living maybe just yet. So, let's dive into that topic. Right? So single living communities, you know, can provide a lot of things that a lot of people don't even consider. Care is, of course, a big one. It's kind of why you move into a senior living community for a lot of people. Let's start there with caregiving. What might be happening behind the scenes that go unnoticed by most people?
There is actually so much that goes on. And to be honest, before I came into this specific industry, I didn't realize. How many different moving pieces are going on to care for each of our residents.
I look at almost that we are case managers, social workers in the terms of we bring all of those services together for each of our residents. And we either bring in a third party provider to assist with that, or we provide the service through an in house piece.
But our job is to kind of supervise that and make sure that each of our residents are receiving that person centered care. That is so important to keep them thriving and healthy.
Yeah. And and a lot of people were probably watching if if this is something that they are interested in, whether it's, that's a senior themselves or maybe a family member of theirs, and they're thinking, well, of course, that's why I would move, you know, into a senior living community, but Suzanne, there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes that a lot of people don't recognize until they're either in it or they have a family member in Can you tell us about those little intricate details that you don't know about?
Yes. You know, I'm gonna start because it's my passion, and I, I have seen the effect of this. One of the things that, one of the items that bring folks in, and sometimes the family starts to wonder - Are they safely taking their medication in their own home? Are they able to? Do they have vision or cognitive or just have a hard time keeping up with all the different medications.
When they move in and we take over that whole medication administration, we're not just providing someone coming in every day and passing out the three medications in the morning. We are providing a huge network of medical support, which includes, first of all, a very safe system that is a computerized well- researched proven system of medication administration, we communicate with a pharmacy, with the doctors so that any medication that they have we are overseeing that is the correct medication that it was prescribed correctly and that there are no errors along the way.
And then, for me, one thing I think families don't really think about is if you have someone that you are going into their apartment every day, in the morning, maybe perhaps noon or early afternoon and evening, three different times you're bringing the medication. You may be taking some vital signs that go with those medications.
That is a very, one on one kind of experience that you've got eyes on that resident multiple times. Giving them their medication. It's like a check all throughout the day. And of course, we do our normal rounds of safety checks, but this is a more specific How are they doing? And I will tell you that it really pays off. I will have a nurse or a med tech come to me and say, Miss Jones, there's something different.
And they catch it so early that, you know, it it is not an apparent symptom, but they know that resident so well. That they can say there's something off. I'm noticing. And it's because they know those folks like a family member.
Yeah. And, you know, when we talk about this, it it's for, people who are, are residents who are living in communities at all levels. Absolutely.
Take my medication sometimes. I forget to do my vitamins sometimes. And it would be great to have somebody to say, by the way, did you do this today? Well, no wonder why I don't feel well because I haven't taken my medicine for the last three days.
You know, there's the checks and balances to them. And, and that, that is so crucial. No matter, again, where you happen to be in your senior living journey. So I'm glad we talked about that. Now another aspect that people may not be aware of until they're in it that is in house therapy option, which is a great option for a lot of residents, How does that work?
So, again, a wonderful piece of collaboration between our team and the therapy team. So each of our communities have a third party, therapy group that has an in house area, if you will, in our buildings. And they can provide occupational, physical, or speech therapy or all of them to residents in the building. They go through their Medicare too, and any extra supplements that they have to provide this service.
It is a beautiful collaboration. We actually have a meeting each week in each of our buildings where the clinical staff meet with our therapy staff, and we discuss every person that is on service. So again, they're getting that really intense oversight, and we talk about what's working, what isn't, something we've noticed.
They they will tell us something they've noticed. They will also train our staff on the best way to assist with perhaps a transfer for someone. Someone in the low vision program, someone who has some, vision deficiencies, they can come in and help create a safe environment in their apartment. And then together, we will provide that training to staff. So that resident can thrive in whatever circumstance they're in.
Yeah. So a perfect example of of how to use that say you go in, you have a hip replacement. Right? And you have to have physical therapy on the back end of that. Well, guess what? You can leave your your apartment in the community and go right downstairs to the therapy room and boom. You got it.
And the other thing that I love is that you are being you're receiving that in your in your own home just as you would if you were living in your home.
So they can come into your apartment. And if you're having a difficult time navigating around corners with your walker, something like that, they will help you provide that safety environment in your own apartment. They will look for anything that might be a safety hazard that our resident hadn't noted. And so it's a very individualized approach. They will take them outside and navigate the curbs and the sidewalks.
And what I love is even when they're off service, they're still right there. So if they notice that Mister Jones is kind of slouching with his walker or those things they worked on, they see are kind of sliding.
They will come in, and we may put that resident right back on service again and really enforce those. So even if they're off service, They're never completely off because we're all working and talking together.
So I I think these are all great points. Again, that people don't realize until they're in it. So we're talking about the in house therapy portion, but, hey, if somebody's got a doctor's appointment, guess what? It's it's, you know, they've gotta go to the doctor. We've got that handled too with transportation.
So let's touch on that. Yes. So all of our buildings, again, have a transportation service. And, so for example, if they have a doctor's appointment, usually it's the front desk that kind of coordinates that.
And we write it all down on the schedule so that they have the time and place that they're going. And then what's nice too about that is we coordinate that with our clinical staff and our frontline staff so that that resident is ready go. They're all dressed. They've had any medications.
They should have had prior to going. They've had their breakfast, you know, whatever.
So it is a very, coordinated approach. And then when they return, our drivers are very good about bringing back any paperwork. Communicating anything that's a need to know after that appointment.
And it's a very comforting fact for our residents because they know their drivers again, they are part of our family. The fact that they are there, transporting them is a very comfortable safe environment because most of our seniors have some anxiety going to the doctor. We all do probably.
Sure. But you know what this touches on. We we we hear it so often that people - they wanna stay in their home as long as possible because they want independence, but then they're real they're they're relying on somebody, maybe it's a a son or daughter to take them to these doctor's appointments. Right? Well, guess what? The way this is all set up allows you to be as independent as you possibly can.
Yes. Yes. So I think that that gets lost in the mix sometimes. Yes. You can do all of these things and the support is there at the community.
And then if you say, why I don't wanna be a burden to my children? While your children They don't have to be a part of that at all. You can go about your day, come back, and then do the rest of your day, and it's all efficient. It's taken care of, and you don't have to worry about a thing.
That is so true. Yeah. Another thing that you reminded me of is our engagement portion, I think, a issue is just, you know, you wanted a few items at the grocery store, or there was something at Walmart, who's gonna pick that up for me? And That, again, is something that we schedule.
So there are, regular trips to Walmart, grocery stores. Those places that we all need to go or want to go, but you need a ride there. So we provide it, and it it's like a field trip. It it's very enjoyable, and they can peruse the aisles and just have a grand time. Sometimes they go to lunch after, so it's a party.
Nice. Yeah. Very nice. Now another part that, you kinda touched on. You said that you your breakfast and get ready for your day. Let's talk a little bit about the food. Right? So, the dining, what do people not know about, how we handle food at The Arbor Company.
That's a great, area to focus on. I one of the things that I see when our residents moving, and this is regardless of how independent they are. I think any of us when we're on our own and we're not cooking for the rest of our family. We don't tend to do three well balanced nutritious cooked meals every day.
I know myself, I kinda graze here and there unless I'm cooking for someone else. A lot of our seniors have really stopped cooking, and they don't have that desire to create a full well balanced meal for themselves. So they start to eat more snack items or perhaps some preserved items, frozen food, what have you. When they move in, they are given that three meals a day choice, and they do have a choice what they would like if they eat a larger meal at lunch.
That is something they can certainly do. It's up to them to kind of regulate what they do. If they eat a light breakfast, they can do that. But if they love that big farmers breakfast, that's available as well.
We have some dietary modifications, no concentrated sweets, no added salt.
If someone is on a a diet that requires, for example, mechanical chopped or mechanical soft food due to perhaps some stroke effects or some kind of difficulty swallowing. We provide that as well. So we manage the diet based on their doctor's orders. We don't come up with this on our own. We go with what the doctor has specified.
And so those with, for example, someone who has a diagnosis of diabetes, what they need in terms of no added salt and no, concentrate suites is there for them. They have a dessert option that fits within their diet, which is a hard thing to do at home sometimes.
Yeah. Of course. Of course. Yeah. And and then the, again, we're talking about just sort of having the ability to kinda kick back and enjoy.
When you gotta get the kids, you gotta make all that stuff if you want it. Right? So Right. Correctly.
So, thanks for mentioning that. And as we wind down, Suzanne, what are some other things that maybe people don't realize about senior living communities until they're in one or their loved ones make the move to one. And when I when I say that question sort of at the end, it's the the little things that you're when people walk in, they say Oh my gosh. You provide that too hospice, mental health care.
I mean, what what are some of these other options? Really, any need. And again, you know, it's very important to me that we view each of our residents in a holistic manner we're not, a skilled facility. We're not the hospital. We're their home. And so as such, whatever need they may have, we will address it may be through a third party provider or some kind of a referral, but we will get that rolling for them. And kind of manage it and make sure that it's happening.
Any kind of specialty, if they needed a dermatologist, a cardiologist that is is not in place at that time. We will call the family and work with them to make sure they're getting whatever needs they have. And sometimes families, are not aware of perhaps a mental health issue, perhaps a little bit of depression or anxiety with the move.
They tend to be more open with us, the residents, and are pretty honest about it. So we may have the opportunity to kind of start that conversation and, talk about, you know, what can we do? To really look at this and and address it in a in a quick manner that really gets them settled in and feeling like they're home.
We also look at them as a person and see what can we do to help them feel more at home if they love gardening. Can we have a special gardening activity or can we have them go out and help us work on the race guards? You know, we really look to see how can we help them thrive in whatever way possible.
Yeah. And and you mentioned depression. We're gonna have another episode about that depression and seniors with Suzanne, so you guys are gonna wanna head on over to the website. Which we will mention in a minute, to catch that particular episode if that's of interest to you. Suzanne, great discussion.
Yes. Thank you as always. Yeah. We're so fortunate to have you as a resource. We always learn something new when you come on the show.
Come back anytime. Thank you. I will.
Absolutely. Now if you found this video informative and would like to watch more videos from Suzanne and others discussing all topics relating to senior living, head on over to the website here it is www.seniorlivinglive.com.
All of our videos are available twenty four seven, and the best part guys, they are all free. Thanks for watching. As always, have a great day, everybody.