Frequently Asked Questions
YOU ARE ABOUT TO MAKE A VERY SERIOUS DECISION…
where your loved one will live in their final years, as they age and perhaps experience progressive memory loss and other physical and mental impairments. We want to give you serious answers to real questions, here, and when you visit for a tour. These answers expand on our values and philosophy of care.
I just can’t let my husband out of my sight for fear of accidents, wandering, putting on the stove—anything. And the constant repetition of the same questions, the same stories—I can’t do it anymore. Can you really do all that I do, 24 hours a day?
Yes, we can, using multiple professionals, in a team approach. We understand the challenges you face and we have the trained staff to do it all, 24 hours a day, so you have peace of mind, knowing your loved one is safe, clean, content, nurtured mentally and physically stimulated as appropriate. Besides gently handling all the activities of daily living and other needs as necessary—perhaps showering, dressing, grooming, toilet activity, incontinence, mobility assistance, eating, etc—we offer a safe, secure, stimulating environment that will give your loved one mental and physical activities to reduce their anxiety and provide more “good days.”
My father is a big guy—and a big eater, despite his age and infirmities. Will he get enough to eat?
Good food is very important to the elderly, who often look forward to mealtimes as highlights of their days. In conjunction with our registered nurse and consulting dietitian, our Manager of Dietary Services ensures that all residents enjoy highly nutritious meals of a wide variety and in quantity to meet their individual dietary needs. We prepare all meals fresh in our own kitchen and can offer “special diets,” including chopped and pureed meals as necessary. We offer “Regular, No Added Salt, No Concentrated Sweets, Low Fat/Cholesterol, Do Not offer Second Portions, Double Portions and Extra Snack” diets, as directed by the resident’s physician. When you visit for a tour, you might smell a cake baking for dessert, or smell fresh fruit getting cut for an afternoon snack. Quantity and quality of food is another topic you can take off your “worry list” at the Country Home! Your father will probably confirm that after the first week.
My wife has always smoked. Do you have a smoking room?
No! We do not permit smoking anywhere inside or outside the building.
While I was at work, my mother was picked up twice wandering in the community–once near the highway! How do you prevent wandering?
On the exterior, our beautiful property has a fence and locked gates. No resident is ever outside the building without professional supervision. Inside, all doors are locked and alarmed, as are all windows. Staff supervision is constant, 24 hours a day. One key is that our alert staff know at all times where all residents are, inside or outside the building. Just as important for safety and security are the skills, knowledge and “intuition” of the staff. They will know the individual habits of potential “wanderers,” anticipate and assess their behavior. They will have a tactic in mind to distract and re-direct him/her to prevent any attempts to exit the building or outside yard. We also have an emergency plan to activate should a resident ever leave the premises unexpectedly.
I promised my father I’d never “put him in a home.” I don’t know how to handle this inevitable change.
This is a complex and difficult decision for the family, and can be equally difficult for the loved one. Our senior staff can discuss some ideas to facilitate the transition for all involved. You might consider some Day Visits for your father or a Respite Stay of a week or two. A “trial” like this often works very well for everyone. You get to see that he adjusts well, gets excellent care and he gets to see you are not abandoning him.
What if my mother gets sick or has an accident? Is there a doctor on staff? And what about regular visits to doctors, dentists, etc.?
Like nursing homes and assisted living communities, we do not have a doctor on staff or present at all times. Our residents use the physicians of their choice, often one they have used for years in their own community. They either go to the doctor’s office, with family providing transportation and supervision or have the physician come to the Country Home, if he/she makes “house calls.” Several doctors do make regular visits to the Country Home to care for our residents. If the resident needs to go to an outside health care provider and the family isn’t available, we can arrange with an outside company to provide both transportation and supervision. In some cases, a Country Home staff member will do that. In emergencies, we do just what you would do at home—assess the situation and call for emergency medical assistance, to get the resident to the nearest or most appropriate hospital as quickly as possible. We would also immediately notify the family of such an event so they can meet the ambulance at the hospital. Depending on the situation, and the mental and physical condition of the resident, a Country Home staff member could accompany the resident in the ambulance if no family member is present.
Is The Country Home affiliated with any religious group?
No. We respect the individual religious preferences of all residents, and recognize that spiritual needs are unique and important. We recognize that spiritual support has a healing and calming effect for many individuals. Like hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living centers, we find it increasingly difficult to get priests, rabbis, ministers to visit for services but do see family members doing spiritual activities at The Home or taking their relatives out to services. The Country Home invites prospective residents/families of all faiths.
What are the days and times for visiting?
This is your home so you may visit almost anytime you like, as long as you respect the privacy and needs of all residents. You might coordinate visiting times with staff so your relative isn’t in the midst of a favorite activity or a meal, but we strongly encourage visits by family and friends, seven days a week. If you plan to take your relative off premises, we request advance notice if we need to prepare medications to go with him/her. Anyone planning to take a resident off premises would need prior authorization from the person legally responsible for the resident. We also remind you to sign in and out and call us if the projected return time changes.
I have a very hard time getting my mother to take a shower or bath. I’m tired of fighting with her. How do you deal with refusal to bathe?
This is a common and difficult challenge for those caring for someone with advancing dementia/Alzheimer’s. Personal hygiene remains important at all ages, for both social and health reasons as well as self-esteem and dignity of the senior. However, we always try to avoid a “fight.” It is critical that our staff not cause anxiety or agitation around the issue of bathing. Before admission to the Country Home, we learn all we can about personal preferences and experiences. What works and doesn’t work? Best times of day to offer a shower? What helps soothe the resident—music, favorite shampoo, soap, fragrances? Does setting out favorite clothing motivate them to shower? We need to know the details of any bad experience with caregivers, such as home health aides, and how we can overcome that, reverse that. It is possible that one of our care professionals has success helping your mother shower while another might not. All this is noted in her personal care plan so we can ensure good personal hygiene, while minimizing stress and anxiety for your mother. Safety is also very important. If a resident is pushing, resisting, that could lead to a fall for a resident and/or staff member. If a resident has to miss a shower due to agitation, or even disinterest or tiredness, that’s OK. We will reschedule it for a time more conducive to calm success for the resident and the staff. At the Country Home we offer showers daily and as needed due to accidents, not only one, two, three times a week as at some facilities. There is no extra charge for all these showers.
The Country Home seems to have more memory care patients than last time I visited. My father has Parkinson’s as you know. Will you still welcome him when we can no longer care for him?
True, as many of our residents “age in place” here at the Country Home they have shown increased memory impairment or actual dementia. We are expanding our services to those with memory challenges but we can still give your father the same individual, appropriate care that he needs. Parkinson’s patients often experience memory impairment so as his disease progresses he will have all the care he needs related to his physical and mental limitations.
My father’s dementia is getting worse. He doesn’t even know the kids’ names and can’t brush his teeth or comb his hair. Lately, he even gets confused about eating—I’ve been helping him. Can you handle all his needs?
Yes, we serve a wide range of individuals—from those with minimal needs to those who have extensive need for assistance with most/all activities of daily living. Our staff offers whatever level of care a resident needs, as the needs change. The care staff assists with mobility, (preventing falls), eating, bathing, dressing, grooming, use of the toilet, incontinence, medication, etc. As your father’s needs change, the care plan changes, the services change.
My Aunt has almost no short term memory but she still likes to “work” and help—she worked full-time until she was 77 years old. Also, she loves to sing and used to paint. What would she do at the Country Home? I fear she will get put in a chair and told to watch TV all day.
No one here watches TV all day. We offer a wide variety of mentally and physically stimulating and fun activities throughout the day, every day. Some activities are highly structured, large group ones, such as “Movement to Music!”—chair exercises to music–balloon volley ball, “News of the Day,” Bingo, “Writing for Fun!” but others, like painting, woodworking, puzzles can offer an individual hours of quiet, private fun. The resident’s care plan reflects his/her history and preferences and our activities director builds that into the activities calendar. While participation is not mandatory, we strongly encourage individual and group activities of all kinds, while giving the residents plenty of time for rest and quiet relaxation. Your Aunt could try a number of helpful activities, with staff supervision. She can also try a variety of artistic activities to help rekindle her creativity and build on her remaining strengths. Water colors, acrylics, sculpture, bead work? She can lead a karaoke session whenever she likes—and organize and re-organize our music collection! It won’t take us long to find positive outlets for your aunt’s creativity and energy. We will seek suggestions from both you and your aunt.
What makes The Country Home better for my father than a larger, assisted living facility that has a special unit for Alzheimer’s patients?
After visiting those larger places–assisted living facilities or nursing homes–with an “Alzheimer’s unit”–take a tour of The Country Home. We are small—38 seniors reside with us at most. We aren’t “home-like” but home! Our residents and their caregivers like it here. Most residents stay until they pass on, with or without special medical/nursing/Hospice care as their health deteriorates. Our residents’ rooms are as cozy and personally decorated as the ones they moved from. There is no institutional look, feel or smell. Over a 15 year period, we shifted slowly from mostly “residential care” for healthier seniors to caring for those with dementia/Alzheimer’s when our residents “aged in place” and required more care. The four most senior members of our staff, the two owners and the Managers of Resident Care and Dietary Services have a cumulative total of 54 years of experience working at The Country Home! The Managers of Resident Care and Dietary Services actually live on site, in the Country Home, and the owners live in a separate, private residence next door. In any potential emergency, 24 hours a day, senior professional staff is right there to back up the regular staff! The owners work on site every day, interacting with the residents and staff. We have no cumbersome corporate structure, no corporate mandates for juke boxes, popcorn machines, Grand pianos or giant chandeliers. (We do have a fine piano and it plays some grand tunes for very enthusiastic, vocal residents!) We can put our resources into staffing and direct care and keep our costs down. When visiting, enjoy a walk through our vegetable and flower gardens as our residents do! A major difference between The Country Home and large institutions is VALUE. We have an initial one time non-refundable community fee equal to one monthly care/services fee. We have one all-inclusive fee for all services and it is 30-40-50% lower than you will find in other Alzheimer’s facilities. This will extend your resources so your loved one gets the quality care he or she deserves, for as long as needed. Please compare both quality of services and cost. Take a tour; talk with family members of present or former residents of The Country Home, talk with our owners and senior staff. We welcome you into our home!