Assisted living Q&A | Progress Editions | – Wahpeton Daily News

As time passes and we get older, it can sometimes feel like the future is uncertain. A series of questions were asked of the Leach Home and St. Gerard’s Community of Care in the hopes of clearing up some of the mystery behind late life care.

Profile: What is one misconception you see people have about assisted living?

Leach: We often see families wait too long to reach out for help. They wait for a crisis to occur and now they are desperate to find placement. You get kind of thrown into the system and get placed wherever there is an opening, but if you look ahead of time, get a long term care policy and plan ahead and check out those places, it will go a lot better. With assisted living, North Dakota has a unique system. There are assisted living facilities all over the nation but basic care has another step forward — it is assisted living but includes all of your services at one flat rate.

St. Gerard’s: We give so much one-on-one care — everybody does. We are like family with the residents so it’s not like they are put in the nursing home and the CNAs and nurses take care of them. It is more like a family. I think they think it is institutional and it’s not. They seem to think a nursing home is a hospital for old people and it isn’t.

Profile: What does a day-to-day routine look like?

Leach: Breakfast is at 8 a.m., so normally residents get up between 6-7 a.m. If it is their bath day, they get their schedule. They will get in line to take their turn in the whirlpool bath. They get dressed or get reminded to get dressed or have assistance getting dressed — whatever they need. Residents get their medications in the morning, have a nice breakfast, whatever they prefer. Later that morning, we gather and do group exercises together. Sometimes there is a mass or church service they will rotate through. Then we will have a group activity which could be reminiscing or storytelling or show and tell or a small game of Uno. Lunch is at noon and then it gets quieter. Many residents take a little nap after lunch. In the afternoon, we gather for another activity. A lot of music, church groups or youth groups come in to entertain and interact. Residents have snacks or coffee, and socialize, do puzzles or other activities before it’s time for supper. Then they’re off to prepare for bed.

St. Gerard’s: Staff attends to the residents’ basic care — get them up in the morning, they have their meal, then personal care time is after the meal. They may sit down in their recliner or have a walk. Then you get them up for lunch and do the same basic care before they do their activities. Staff members have them ready for the next shift. We make sure residents are getting up, going to church, eating their meal. It is comforting to them. Each one is an individual so you need to learn each individual’s needs.

Profile: How has the pandemic affected things with a vulnerable population?

Leach: As healthcare workers, essential workers, we have had to pick up the slack. Prior to the pandemic, it was really up to the families to pick up the resident’s belongings or if they needed something done they did it themselves, get the taxis. The family would run errands, etc. When the doors closed, we started doing some of their shopping needs to keep things safe and keep them protected. We made the holidays more special because a lot of family couldn’t come in. We gave everyone a Kindle tablet and showed them how to use it, how to FaceTime and stay connected with email or stay connected with games or movies. We are a little unique. We took a vote with residents because this is their home. We said COVID is here, it is scary, if you want to stay in your room go ahead, if you would prefer to come out you are welcome to. We left it their right.

St. Gerard’s: During this pandemic, they didn’t get to see their family so you became their granddaughter or their niece or their nephew or their daughter or their son. The doors are locked now. It is a regulation from CMS Centers of Medicaid services, we have to know who is coming in the building, we have to screen them, make sure they have a mask on. Every delivery, every visitor, every everything comes through these doors to get screened for everything they do.