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Monday, May 9, 2016

more choices THAN EVER

seniors and their families have housing, health-care options

Mary Pease plays bingo at The Oaks


seniors and their families have housing, health-care options

Nelva O’Dell did not want to leave her home and move to The Glen with her husband, Monoah Shadrack (“Digger”) O’Dell Jr., but their sons decided it was time.

O’Dell, 89, agreed to the move, provided she could bring her piano. When movers asked where she wanted it, she said, “Put it in front of the stove because I’m not going to cook anymore.” Since then, Nelva has had a change of heart – she loves her new living arrangements.

“We don’t really have to worry about anything but where and what to eat,” she said. The couple celebrated their 68th anniversary May 7 with “a come-and-go affair” at The Glen, where Nelva sometimes performs concerts.

Mary Pease, 86, took care of her husband at home for four years after his stroke. When it was time to move Carl to a care facility, they chose The Oaks of Louisiana. After a year alone in her home, she and the couple’s Maltese, Wiley, moved there, too.

“Every day, I walked to see my husband with Wiley riding on the walker.”

Elizabeth (“Liz”) Sexton, 94, has a onebedroom at The Oaks after recovering from falling and breaking her hip. “If you can’t go home, I don’t think you could fi nd anything better. If you want to, you could stay busy every day,” she said.

Just as in any other community, there are singles, couples and pets living at both The Oaks and The Glen. While options vary depending on the residents’ wants and needs, both have a range of choices in the size of residences and the kind of services provided. Both allow overnight guests and offer religious, social and entertainment events. Choices of resort-like amenities include spa amenities with salons and exercise facilities, transportation, meals and snacks, housekeeping, laundry and from little to intensive nursing care and therapy, as needed.

The Oaks, owned and operated by Willis- Knighton Health System, has 350 residents living on a 312-acre campus. The Glen, owned and operated by The Glen Retirement System, has 122 residents and covers 52 acres. The communities, both beautifully landscaped, are less than two miles from each other just south of Shreveport.

“We have a number of couples in independent living, some in assisted and some where one lives in independent or assisted living and the other lives in skilled nursing. When one or the other needs a different level of care, he or she doesn’t have to leave campus,” said Terrie Roberts, assistant public relations manager at The Oaks. There are numerous events encouraging interaction with other residents and staff, and many options for exercise including a spa, salon, outdoor exercise system and a pool, she said.

Cheryl Foster, director of The Stiles Apartments at The Glen, said those needing more intensive care “are monitored by licensed nurses … able to administer medications to the assisted living residents.” All residents have emergency assistance available, with assisted living residents having “housekeeping and laundry services, meal delivery and, if requested, help bathing, dressing, grooming, transferring and toileting.”

“All of our apartments are licensed for assisted living, so that once the independent living residents required assisted living services they would not have to move from their apartments. The assisted living services can come to them without having the hassle of moving to another location,” Foster said.

Caregivers now number more than 65 million people or around 29 percent of the U.S. population, according to the nonprofi t Caregiver Action Network. The caregivers spend an average of 20 hours per week providing services and care, responsibilities that can become challenging and exhausting and cause the relationship to become strained.

Some children or spouses having the very diffi cult conversation aimed at making changes for the care of their loved ones get the response that they will never leave home, no matter what. Scott Green, president and co-owner with Robert Smith of Preferred Care at Home of Northwest Louisiana, said there are options available for continuing inhome living in many cases.

“That’s where we come in,” Green said.

“Ninety-seven percent of our inquiries come from the children.”

After a needs assessment is made, Preferred Care works with the family to plan the range of care and hours required. “As we mature, our needs change. The things that were once simple to perform become complicated," Green said.

Both Green and Smith hold accreditation from the Society of Certifi ed Senior Advisors, and Preferred Care is licensed and regulated by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. “We are a caregiver referral service. We are like a matchmaker” between the person who needs help and a trained health-care worker who can also cook, change the linens and provide other services.

“In Louisiana, sitting or companion service agencies are not regulated or required to be licensed. They cannot provide any hands-on or personal care which includes assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting, grooming, transferring, ambulation and eating.

If hands-on care is required, then a licensed home care agency is needed (which) ensures a higher standard of care is provided,” Green said.

“We are problem-solvers,” Green said.

“We provide solutions so they can be a family again.”

– Kathleen Ward


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