When it comes to handling treatment and care of an aging or sick family member, there are more options than ever. Reaching old age doesn’t have to involve being confined to a traditional nursing home anymore. New technologies, therapies and facilities offer an array of options that can make your loved one as comfortable as possible.
Dianne McGraw, a licensed clinical social worker and owner of Home Care Solutions, says that elderly family members can, in many ways, maintain more independence if they so choose, thanks to state-of-the-art technologies and empathetic caregivers who understand the range of needs. Her company specializes in working with people who have dementia and Alzheimer’s in their later stages of life. “We offer care for those who want to stay at home and not live in a facility,” she explains. She points out that new equipment – including state-of-the-art cameras, alarm systems, life line buttons and even floor mats with censors, can help both the caregiver, family and the aging loved one.
Caregivers can be summoned remotely by devices. Overall, she says, “we have gotten much more tech-savvy.”
One of Home Care Solutions’ goals is to exercise compassion not just for the aging parent or grandparent, but for the whole family. She points out that often, families are faced with a sudden crisis – such as dealing with an injury or the sudden onset of an ailment which can lead to confusion and stress amongst the family.
“People don’t know where to go or what to do,” she says. So, part of her staff’s mission is not only to treat the elderly, but also work with the entire family to come up with responsible and correct solutions.
“A lot of times, especially among adult siblings, there can be arguing about what to do. We also serve as mediators to explain the options, go over budgets and help them come to the right decision,” she says.
Her staff members include social workers and expertly trained caregivers who can help out with household chores, running errands and overall care for the individual depending on the range of help required.
For those who are ready to move out of their home, Peristyle Residences are an adult residential care providers that offer high-quality assisted living care and services in a true residential setting. Jason Hemel, a principal with the organization says that it provides “actual residential homes and not large institutional facilities.” Care is provided in an intimate setting which is comfortable, secure and luxurious.
“Our residents benefit from our full-time nurse wellness coordinator,” he says. Additionally, “our administrative team has identified private practice physicians that will visit our residents in our homes.” This greatly reduces the hassle and stress on families and residents that attempt to visit medical offices. Residents can be seen by a geriatrician, general practitioners, podiatrists and nurse practitioners.
One of its innovations is a partnership with the LSU School of Nursing.
“Nursing students visit our homes as part of a service learning opportunity,” he explains. Peristyle Residences offers homes as a site for nursing students to learn assessment, observation, and communication skills with residents.
Nursing students are in the residences one day a week for three hours a day and are able to complete physical assessments and observations of resident, while providing residents with activities such as games, reminiscing, music, art, dancing and walking.
“This relationship has proved to be positive for both the students, the residents and the caregivers in the residences,” he says. “Students are able to gain experience in caring for residents’ physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being. Most importantly the students receive hands-on experience of learning communication skills with residents, families and caregivers.”
Another innovation that the company is working on is the development of two new homes, which offer the largest private bedroom suites of any residential model assisted-living facilities. “These homes will incorporate many of the latest trends in senior living such as large windows for natural light, open floor plans and strong use of colors inspired by nature,” he says.
Over at Lambeth House, the staff provides a community for older adults with programs, services and a positive lifestyle to assure the highest level of physical, intellectual, spiritual, emotional and social wellbeing. Carrie Mercer, marketing director, says that “highly trained professionals deliver a wide array of activities to fulfill our promise to our residents.” Such programs include the Literature Appreciation Club, Art Appreciation Club and a daily Current Events discussion group.
Residents can also participate in lectures from the “Great Courses” series and have taken trips to New Orleans Museum of Art and other area museums to support their educational learnings.
Lambeth House is committed to its focus on wellness and physical exercise at all stages of life.
“Assisted Living residents may participate in daily exercise classes including balance classes, chair yoga, and a walking club,” adds Mercer. Plus, “There is a fully equipped fitness room available where exercise trainers can establish an individual workout routine specific to their needs.”
Lambeth House also has a new art studio, which provides an open space for residents to explore their creativity through scheduled instruction or on their own time.
Assisted Living at Lambeth House has 61 private apartments. “Residents enjoy the familiarity of a long-tenured, committed staff available 24 hours a day,” she says. Additionally, a formal dining area provides three restaurant-style meals daily, and residents receive daily housekeeping and laundry service.
An exciting new development, Longleaf at Christwood opened in 2017. The new building is a residential memory care community that offers a full range of assisted living support with a focus on helping those with memory disorders live as independently as possible.
Elizabeth Jackson, marketing director, says Longleaf was designed in consultation with Dr. Jeffrey Keller of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at LCS to ensure the highest level of cognitive care.
“Dementia-trained staff works with each resident, their family members and physicians to create customized plans that meet individual needs and desires,” says Jackson.
At Christwood Retirement Community, which is located in Covington, studio-style homes offer comfort and privacy in a secure setting on the campus, along with two large private and secure landscaped gardens which serve as welcoming gathering spaces. The facility also offers a range of activities to encourage residents to enhance their personal wellness and engage with others.
Also new to Christwood, the Longleaf Day Stay Respite provides caregivers a break from the physical and emotional challenges of providing care for a loved one.
This includes respite support during daytime hours, stimulating programs – both mental and physical – to help keep guests engaged and active and innovative, specialized services for guests with dementia offered in conjunction with the memory care program at Longleaf Residential Memory Care. Local transportation is available to and from Longleaf if desired.
Additionally, residents are well-fed by chefs who prepared meals served daily.
Poydras Home is another option for assisted living. Its mission is to respect and preserve the dignity of the human spirit among the elderly.
Here, residents have the option of moving to the independent living level with the assurance of additional living options such as assisted living, nursing care and memory support should changing health needs require those. The facility also offers a day program for those who aren’t ready to move in but want to become acquainted with fellow seniors and embrace the activities.
Jennifer Brammel, marketing coordinator, says that some of its latest programs include reaching out to the arts community to form partnerships with the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the Southern Rep Theatre, in order to “bring therapeutic programming to our residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s diagnoses, many of which are in our secure memory care area of our assisted living.”
Poydras Home also offers a variety of options for residents, depending on their unique needs.
For example, they have the option to move in at the independent living level, with the assurance of assisted living, nursing care and memory support.
Although aging isn’t always easy, these local options are here to help families as they face the transition into old age. And given that New Orleans is such a warm, welcoming community, aging can – and should – be celebrated.
Christwood Retirement Community
100 Christwood Blvd, Covington
Home Care Solutions
3421 N. Causeway Blvd., #502, Metairie
150 Broadway St.
5354 Magazine St.