The past two weeks we have been collecting pictures of our residents to do a game of “Guess Who” as a part of our National Assisted Living Week celebrations. It has been such a joy for families and residents to share their pictures from “way back when”. It has caused me to pause and reflect on life. When our residents think of themselves, they may picture that younger self that served in the Army or was a homemaker or helped on the farm. Their children may envision the Mom or Dad that helped shape their childhood and their memories of growing up. To the staff at the communities that these folks live in now, we may see them differently. But it is always wise to stop, look back and remember. As we all age we may see ourselves in many different lights. We grow and become many things to many people. So have our residents. As we celebrate National Assisted Living Week and the beauty that comes from this environment, I want us all to remember that each of us has a history and we impact so many different people. The theme of National Assisted Living Week is Family is Forever. I know for me over the last 8 times that I have celebrated this week that it has seen many different faces and many different memories. I have helped crown many different Kings and Queens of the Gardens. But I think that what I realize today that each year…my family has grown. Sometimes it can be hard to let people into your life with the understanding that they may not be able to stay for long. But as Garth Brooks once sang, “I could have missed the pain, but then I could have missed the dance.” Thank you assisted living for what you have meant to me and my family. I know my family has grown forever and my heart is much more full as a result.
I will never forget my first pet. Well…let me rephrase that. I will never forget the first pet that I picked out that we had long term. I grew up on a farm so there were many farm cats and other animals. But my first true furry companion was a dog named Rusty. To be perfectly honest I can’t remember where Rusty came from. We got him when I was in middle school and he stayed in the family until I graduated from the University of Alabama and he passed away. Rusty was a source of comfort for many a sickness, sadness and just an all-around “good dog.” Now that I am all grown up and work with the elderly I see more now than ever the benefits of pet ownership. And yes…you can have a pet in assisted living.
Great Oaks Management’s Policy states that “The goal of each facility is to allow residents to benefit from the pleasure of pet companionship, while ensuring that the presence of pets in the facility does not infringe on the rights of all residents to live in a clean, quiet and safe environment.
Great Oaks Management Procedure:Pets may visit the Residence if the following conditions are met:
- The pet owner provides verification of current vaccinations.
- The pet is clean, properly groomed and healthy.
- The pet’s owner is responsible for the pet’s behavior and maintains control of the pet at all times.
- All pets residing in the facility must provide verification of current vaccinations, and must update the vaccination record annually. Dogs may not exceed 25 lbs in weight. A non-refundable pet deposit will be required prior to a pet moving into a facility.
- All resident pets must reside in the resident’s room. Pets will be allowed in the common areas of the Residence only when under the control of the owner or handler. Resident pets are not allowed in the dining room at any time. Residents who wish to keep pets in their rooms may do so provided they abide by the policies of the facility.
- Common household pets (including dogs, cats, fish, birds, guinea pigs, and hamsters) may reside in the facility, upon approval of the Administrator.
- The resident is responsible for providing care to the pet and the following:
- Purchasing food and other needed pet supplies
- Feeding, grooming and/or cleaning up after the pet
- Providing for toileting (e.g., emptying the litter box, taking the pet outside at regular times, etc.)
- Arranging for/providing access to needed veterinary services
- Exercising the pet as appropriate
- Pets must not be allowed to toilet on the floor (all dogs shall be toileted in an outside area). Litter from litter boxes or cages must be disposed of in a sealed plastic bag and placed promptly in a trash container. Pet waste and/or litter may not be disposed of in toilets.
- Pets may be fed only in the resident’s room.
- Pets shall not be allowed to interfere with an enjoyable living environment for all residents by barking, howling, biting, scratching, and/or whining. The facility shall ensure that pets pose no risk to residents, staff or visitors.
- If the conduct or condition of a resident’s pet constitutes a nuisance or a threat to the health and safety of other residents, staff, and/or other individuals, the resident will be responsible for permanently removing the pet from the premises. The final decision about a pet residing in a facility rests with the Administrator.
So, if your old school like my Granddaddy was and don’t want to even fathom the thought of an animal in the house then never fear…the policy protects you too!
There truly are so many benefits to pet ownership. For example:
Having a “fur baby” can:
- Lower blood pressure
- Relieve stress
- Combat loneliness
- Ease depression
- Encourage activity for seniors
- Offer a greater sense of worth
- Offer security to their owners
So check out the pet perks and what they could mean for you or your loved one today!
According to a recent article by Good Housekeeping, living longer life may have something to do with Assisted Living Communities! The article states, “Beyond inviting our older relatives and friends into our homes, it’s important to encourage elderly relationships — which is why, despite popular belief, older folks tend to thrive in independent or assisted living environments. These living arrangements provide more ways to mingle, to connect, to thrive.”
This holds true for Mrs. Carrie Miller. Mrs. Miller celebrated her 103rd birthday this past December. As we sat down to talk with her we learned a little bit about her Southern charm and grace. Mrs. Miller is from Georgia and moved to the Gardens of Clanton in 2010. She grew up with five siblings, one of which was her twin brother named Jay. She has made a wonderful life and has been blessed with 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.
A former homemaker, she enjoys going to parties and her favorite holiday is Christmas. She is quite the fashionista and when she was ready to greet us, she showed us several of her outfit choices before selecting the perfect one that was one of “her” colors. She looked quite lovely of course. She has always been a social butterfly and when asked what makes her happy she said it was her children, family, friends AND…listening to the Chosen Two singers that share music at the Gardens of Clanton. She loves life and hearing a message in song. She shared that her favorite part about living at the Gardens is having wonderful help always there for her and having friends to talk to. So blessed to have her charm and grace. Grateful that her life has been enriched by her time at the Gardens of Clanton.
I can still see her face and hear her laugh. She was the first social director I knew at an assisted living. Was she on the staff? Oh no! She was a sharp dressed lady named Geraldine with an even sharper wit. Affectionately known to her family as “Gigi” she was one of the first ladies who taught me that residents in an assisted living have lots of living left to do. Ms. Geraldine would keep me apprised as to the latest “goings on” with the royals. Gigi loved Will and Kate and a good game of Skip Bo. She and the other ladies that made up her Skip Bo group were the first group I affectionately referred to as my sorority rush committee. Ms. Geraldine would be the first to tell you…life in assisted living is not about bingo and bedtime. It is much more and can be so fulfilling. She spent her golden years of life loving her family and her friends and living each day to its fullest. So, if you are looking at assisted living for yourself or a loved one…what are the benefits of the social aspects?
Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers found evidence that “elderly people in the U.S. who have an active social life may have a slower rate of memory decline. In fact, memory decline among the most sociable was less than half the rate among the least sociable. Senior author Lisa Berkman, chair of the Department of Society, Human Development and Health, went on to say, “We know from previous studies that people with many social ties have lower mortality rates. We now have mounting evidence that strong social networks can help to prevent declines in memory. As our society ages and has more and more older people, it will be important to promote their engagement in social and community life to maintain their well-being.”
Studies show that lack of socialization is linked to negative impacts on health and well-being, especially for older people. Having a variety of social opportunities and activities vastly improve the psychological and physical health of seniors. The benefits include reducing stress, increasing physical health, and defeating psychological problems such as depression and anxiety.
Assisted living promotes socialization with everything from a robust activities calendar to dining together in a community setting. Engaging in activities and other community events allows seniors to bond with new friends while promoting physical and mental health. This can prolong their quality of life and overall life expectancy. Does this sounds like something that would benefit your elderly loved one and you want to know more? Check out our latest Activities Calendar to see what is going on at one of our communities near you at www.greatoaksmanagement.com or call us today at 1-888-258-8082.
*In memory of former resident Geraldine Reilly.
Thank you to her family for allowing us to share this in her memory.