As Seen in the Neodesha Derrick
Morningstar’s Schultz talks about Assisted Living
By Madisen Lambert
People may think all sorts of things when they hear the words, “assisted living.” Some immediately think of a facility that looks like a nursing home, while others might think of a facility that provides privacy and comfort for the elderly, or maybe even a facility that allows the elderly to have a sense of independence while still having help available. Whatever comes to mind, there is a lot to consider and think about when trying to find the right place for your loved one.
Scott Schultz and his wife, who are both from Kansas, recently purchased the Vintage Park buildings in Neodesha and Fredonia and transformed them into Morningstar Care Homes. Neodesha is one of only four locations the Shultz family owns.
Providing tender care to residents and creating a loving environment are just two of the many things Scott and his wife have done for this facility. It is important that every family feel they have guidance and options to choose from when it comes to the moment of deciding where to put a loved one. Listed below are the most frequently asked questions families have when making this big decision.
Lambert: What is the difference between an assisted living facility and a skilled nursing facility?
Schultz: One of the differences is we can’t provide certain skills and services because we don’t have a nurse on duty 24 hours a day. Residents who need to be monitored every few hours or need insulin injections, for example, should look more into a skilled nursing facility rather than an assisted living facility. But really, about 80% of residents living in a skilled nursing facility could be living in an assisted living facility.
Another difference would be the big change in environments between these two types of facilities. An assisted living center is more focused on activity, daily living and a higher quality of life, whereas, a skilled nursing facility is more for residents who are at the end of their life. The environment change should be recognizable because it’s a different situation for each facility.
Lambert: What is the quality of care provided at Morningstar Care Homes?
Schultz: In this facility, we use the term “total care.” We have two types of care that are provided here – memory care and assisted living. With memory care, we care for residents who have cognitive issues caused by Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. On the assisted living side, we help residents with the activities of daily living which would include, walking, bathing, going to the bathroom, eating and dressing. In addition to both those services, we can also bring in doctors, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, home health, hospice and social workers. We also manage the resident’s medications based on their level of care.
Lambert: Due to this being an assisted living facility, how much supervision is given to residents by the medical staff?
Schultz: Our staff gives more supervision to the residents in memory care versus the residents in assisted living because their needs are higher. On the memory care side, the ratio of supervision is one staff member for every six residents. In a traditional assisted living setting, you’ll sometimes have one staff member for every 20 residents. However, in our facility, we have one staff member for every 12 residents. Normally, in a skilled nursing facility you’ll find one staff member for every nine residents, so as a whole, we are providing more care hours for our residents.
Lambert: How can a resident, or family of a resident afford assisted living? Does insurance help or is it out-of-pocket? What is the process for admitting a loved one?
Schultz: A resource that should be researched is long-term care insurance. This type of insurance policy is specifically for assisted living or skilled nursing type care and this will cover all the fees for nursing care. All the residents who are currently residing at Morningstar are qualified to receive those benefits if they own that policy. Some residents are paying with their monthly income pension, social security, interest income, or savings. We also have some residents who receive a benefit from Medicaid called “Home and Community Based Services” (HCBS). Unfortunately, HCBS doesn’t cover the resident’s room and board, but it does cover all the different types of services that would be provided. To arrange this type of resource, a case worker would assess the needs of the resident and then reimburse the facility that they will be residing at for the care that needs to be provided. For all other needs such as, a type of therapy, doctor’s appointment, or a hospital visit, Medicare works directly with the resident to help fund those needs.
Lambert: When is it time to consider putting a loved one in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility? Are there signs that family members should look out for?
Schultz: There are 10-15 signs that family members should look out for when considering putting a loved one in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility. If your loved one has at least three of these signs, it’s time to start being concerned and possibly start considering an assisted living or skilled nursing facility. Some signs to watch for would be: endangering themselves (not dressing appropriately for the season or not being able to get themselves to the appropriate location); not getting proper nutrition (losing or gaining weight rapidly); or not being capable of personal hygiene. The list of all signs may be found in a brochure at Morningstar Care Homes.
Lambert: How do you help the residents stay active and content while they are here?
Schultz: Both sides are completely different when it comes to staying active. Each caregiver needs to tailor the stimulation each resident receives to the stimulation they are able to enjoy. On the assisted living side, we have a more concentrated series of physical activities such as card games, picking up the daily newspaper, or getting their hair done. With memory care, we create a low stimulation environment to make sure we don’t raise their level of agitation. These activities could be anything from sorting colors to showing the resident a picture of their family and helping them recognize each person. However, on both sides we do offer church services and allow grade school children to come visit.
Caring for these residents and providing for their mental and physical health often requires high energy, the kind possessed by younger folks. Community service opportunities are available for those high school age students who want to give of themselves to assist the residents at Morningstar.
Many people believe it can be a very stressful time to find a place for your loved one. Morningstar Care Homes’ personnel in Neodesha, Fredonia, Baldwin City, Ottawa, and Dunn’s Vista have expressed a desire to guide interested parties and their families through the process and make an easy transition for your loved one. Morningstar Care Homes in Neodesha is located at 400 Fir Street.