Finding the appropriate assisted living community for a loved one can be a daunting, emotional process. What transforms an assisted living from just a building into a truly alive, outstanding community? With the wealth of knowledge at Hebrew SeniorLife's new assisted living community at NewBridge on the Charles, our team gives advice to the prospective family members in their search for the right assisted living community.
Barbara Rissman, Executive Director, Assisted Living: "When looking for an assisted living, inquire if the community is for profit or not-for-profit. The mission behind a nonprofit organization is to provide a benefit or service for the greater good of the community: funds cannot be used for anything other than the mission for which the organization was formed. There is something to be said for this philosophy in business, particularly in the field of elder care. Hebrew SeniorLife was actually just recognized as the second largest nonprofit in Massachusetts by the Boston Business Journal." Learn more about our mission and values.
Larisa Levich, Program Manager, Assisted Living: "The 'feel' one gets when walking into a community for the first time is extremely important. And while the décor and physical environment do make an impact, it is truly the staff that turns the four walls of a building into a home. Try not to be swayed by the look (for better or for worse) of a building. Instead, pay more attention to the staff: how they relate to the residents, to each other, and to you as a consumer. Be sure to ask how long the staff has worked in the community. Low staff turnover often positively correlates to a stable community filled with happy employees and well-cared for residents."
Diana Miller, Program Manager, Memory Care Assisted Living: "I often tell families that the investment they are making in assisted living is not in an apartment but rather in a program. The program encompasses all of the daily enrichment activities, which support the intellectual, physical, spiritual and social needs of the residents. This is particularly important in memory support as the programs create a daily structure that is both stimulating and supportive for the residents." Learn more about memory support programming at NewBridge.
Marie Schaechter, Nursing Director, Assisted Living: "As a nurse interested in the medical support available to assisted living residents, I encourage families to ask if there is a continuum of care offered in the community. As a social model [one based on assistance with activities of daily living rather than the provision of medical care], our staff cannot provide any skilled care to residents. We are so lucky, however, to be part of a continuum that does offer skilled care. Our residents can benefit from the medical services right here on campus through Hebrew Rehabilitation Center at NewBridge. This includes a primary care geriatrics practice, nurse practitioners, and specialists such as a psychiatrist, podiatrist and dentist, as well vision and hearing clinics. And because we are all under the same roof, communication among departments and with residents and families is so much easier." Learn more about Hebrew Rehabilitation Center at Newbridge on the Charles.
Tara Fleming Caruso, Manager of Marketing and Admissions: "I feel very strongly about environmental design, particularly in memory support assisted living. A good program is designed from the very beginning to be environmentally friendly for people with memory issues. Color coding, signage, a circular floor plan, shadow boxes, secure outdoor space; these are a few features that support safety and independence for our residents. Memory units that are converted floors in pre-existing buildings do not compare to an intentionally designed memory support community." The local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association has a virtual library. Type in "environmental design" and a variety of books and articles will pop up on this subject.