Spanning the Generations in Assisted Living

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senior citizens in assisted livingHaving seen the quality care they were receiving since making their move in July 2008, Joanne was soon faced with the care of another family member. Her sister, Evelyn Peters, who had lived across from her mother and Eleanor, had just downsized to an apartment when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Wanting to keep her family together, Joanne helped her sister settle into Shangri-La in a cozy apartment conveniently located across from her mother and aunt’s room.

“They’ve been together so long that I would not separate them,” said Joanne. “The staff really worked with us to make this possible.”

Joanne now rests assured knowing that everything is taken care of for her family with personalized attention and available medical services. With housekeeping and help with other activities of daily living, she can now visit to simply chat or take her family out for lunch.

The community also provides a variety of sumptuous meals daily using fresh ingredients. Most popular among the residents and staff are the chefs’ savory homemade soups. All meals are served at table restaurant style and special diets are always accommodated.

Most importantly, the numerous opportunities for socializing, such as designing Red Hats, preparing deserts in the kitchen or interacting with the Montessori children have helped keep the three women and their fellow residents active.

“It is great to have the kids come over every once in a while for different things, especially around the holidays,” said Evelyn Peters.

Because the owners of Shangri-La also own the Children’s Manor Montessori School located on the same property, it is easy for Joelle Ness, the community’s activities director, to arrange different events for both groups at the community center building right next door.

According to Joanne, the children went trick-or-treating at the community for Halloween, brought the residents turkeys made out of paper bags for Thanksgiving, and also paid them a visit around Christmastime.

“When we think of children and families, wonderful memories from the past come to mind as do creating new memories in the present,” said Joelle. “Our residents love to spend time with children, whether it is children from their families or from our ‘family’ in the community.”

And for both generations, this experience has created lasting memories. Joelle said of all the activities including Wii games, professional entertainers, church services and dinner theater trips, the children are what bring the biggest smiles.

And on days where the students and residents gather around the gifted Janice Fosbrink happily playing the piano, Edna Walker is sure to be one of those individuals with a big smile on her face.

Originally form Ellicott City, Edna grew up with six brothers and sisters. She eventually married, worked as a salesperson for Kaplan’s, and had two children.

Her son, Leo, and her grandson lived next door which allowed Edna to stay in her family home for several years. When she had experienced falling incidents and was diagnosed with dementia, however, Leo, with his own health concerns, knew it was time for a move.

Though he had moved his mother to a different assisted living community with a special care unit, there were soon issues with the pricing and Leo felt his mother may have been declining in her environment surrounded by others with dementia.

He then brought her to Shangri-La in March of 2007. “It was a much better move, I’m very happy,” he said. “You can just look around and see the facilities are great.”

Since Edna has not been separated in a special care unit as in her previous home, Leo has noticed a great improvement thanks to her family-oriented and supportive environment.

According to Leo, there are two things that make a quality assisted living community: the facility and the staff. For him, there is no question that his mother’s new home has both.

“The staff here is great, they are like family and are certainly dedicated to what they do,” he said.

However, the staff in turn believe that it is also individuals like Edna and her caring son that help contribute to the community in such a positive way.

“We are truly blessed to have such wonderful residents and supportive families” said Director of Operations Amit Ghosh. “It is a pleasure to serve them.”
Now Leo, who visits nearly every day and auctions items in his spare time, remains at ease knowing that his mother receives the personalized attention he was looking for and that her mind is constantly stimulated through various activities.

“She really enjoys the activities they have,” he said. “I hope that we can keep her here as long as possible.”

Finding the right home for loved ones can often be a stressful part of life. Though it took some research and patience, Joanne and Leo can say they found a place for their families that will provide the right care in a fun and accommodating environment.

“If you ever have a concern, you know you can turn to anyone here and they take care of it,” said Joanne.

Though with music and laughter seeping through the doors of Shangri-La, it is hard to believe there will be any concerns in the four ladies’ futures.

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