HEALTH: Locally-owned assisted living community focuses exclusively on dementia care
Kathy Gillaspie from Fairfax Manor joined us on the show this past weekend. Kathy is the activities and marketing director at this local assisted living community.
Fairfax is an independently-owned and operated facility located just north of Ypsilanti in Superior Township, next to a nature preserve. Their care services are exclusively for elderly folks with dementia. Kathy emphasized how dementia is not always due to Alzheimer's disease; it may be caused by Parkinson's disease, a stroke or many other medical issues.
Kathy works hard to keep their residents busy and engaged in life, although at a pace each individual is comfortable with. She organizes a couple activities for each morning, and for each afternoon, and, as Kathy said, "You never know exactly how it will work out, so there is always a plan B, plan C, ... to plan Z."
Activities provide mental stimulation, and may involve music or even pets. They will start gardening soon, to help everyone get outside more.
Kathy offered advice for families looking at senior facilities. Many properties are referred to as "assisted living", but you may need to ask questions to understand exactly what is offered. You should make certain the needs of your loved one are fully met.
The real key is to ask lots of questions and get educated. Visit different communities; you want to make sure your love one is comfortable and that it feels right.
Fairfax Manor works with the Area Agency on Aging 1-B for the MI Choice Medicaid Waiver program, which can potentially provide additional financial resources to help pay for care.
To hear our 13-minute conversation, click the audio link:
To get in touch with Kathy or Fairfax Manor, call 734-483-6662 or visit their website fairfaxassistedliving.com.
Photos by Sheila Doeden
We next welcomed Karen Hague. Karen is a geriatric social worker, licensed with a master's degree, and the owner of Boomer Solutions, her counseling/therapy private practice.
Karen has a broad background that allows her to provide comprehensive counseling to mid-life adults and those older. Prior to starting Boomer Solutions, Karen worked with the University of Michigan Health System Turner Geriatric Clinic, as a medical social worker and geriatric care manager. She also teaches social work with the elderly to graduate students at the University of Michigan School of Social Work.
Karen works with many adults that currently provide care for their parents (and are trying to take care of their own lives as well). Most are daughters in their mid-to-late 40s or older. People come to Karen feeling totally overwhelmed.
As part of her service, Karen really understands and knows local resources that can help and connects her clients with the appropriate services. Karen says, "Success is helping people navigate these transitions and come out the other side feeling more empowered."
Karen stressed the importance of understanding normal aging, and particularly what it is not. Normal aging is not dementia, disease, chronic illness, and depression — these conditions are not part of what happens normally.
It's equally important to know that really good help is available. Even if you are highly educated and highly accomplished, it is okay and even encouraged to ask for assistance. To locate help, Karen likes the website caremanager.org, a terrific place to find qualified care managers in your area.
Karen's services are generally paid for by Medicare and other major insurances. Service can also be provided in private homes or facilities.
To listen to this 13-minute discussion, click the audio link:
To get in touch with Karen or Boomer Solutions, please call 734-395-0343 or visit the website boomersolutions.org.