Although the concept of residential care has been around the state of Minnesota since the 1990’s one often asks what residential care is and how is it different from a traditional assisted living.
Part of the confusion lies in the fact that most residential care homes are licensed as assisted living but how and where we provide our care makes all the difference in the world. Generally speaking, the homes are free-standing, single-family homes located in residential neighborhoods. Simply put, we provide high quality care in real homes in established communities. This gives individuals a place to age within their own community.
Residential care homes are licensed and monitored by the Minnesota Department of Health. Most residential care homes are privately owned and managed by a 1-2 person team dedicated to knowing you and your family. On average, homes house between 4-12 residents resulting in a low caregiver to resident ratio. This allows for more individualized care and for close bonds to form between caregivers and residents. Homes are staffed with qualified awake caregivers 24/7. Homes have access to an RN and owners of the homes are often on site. Owners serve as the point person, streamlining communication with families and providers. Activities are provided and individual routines are respected.
The small number of residents creates an intimate family-like environment. It also allows homes to specialize in types of care. Homes may specifically serve those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, Parkinson’s Disease and 50-70 year olds with other types of cognitive or physical disabilities. Other homes may have a mixed population of care needs. Whatever the case may be, residential care homes are warm and inviting, staffed by competent individuals.
Staff are competent and compassionate individuals who treat residents like their own family members. Staff receive ongoing training to allow for the best delivery of service. Families and residents find comfort in this and real bonds are developed. Staff, residents and visitors naturally become a family unit. Conversation will flow with and among all due to the nature of the intimate setting.
Transitioning from one’s home to a facility is difficult, but moving to a residential care home allows for minimal disruption because it is a one-time move. Homes adapt themselves to meet the needs of the residents and work with other service providers to enable the individual to remain within the care home. Individualized care plans are developed with the family and/or resident. Care is modified to meet the changing needs of the residents. When the time comes, hospice is called to provide support through the end of life.
Ask yourself-Would your loved one’s current housing situation:
- Adapt the environment to meet the needs of one resident?
- Develop a plan to help residents with behaviors rather than hospitalize or medicate them?
- Have family sleep over at the end of life?
- Allow resident to iron, laundry, set tables?
- Recognize them as an individual who comes with a past that was enriching?
- Allow a husband and wife to live together regardless of care levels?
- Have a staff person escort them to the Emergency Room?
- Move in with their beloved pet?
- Modify one’s care to support end of life, thus allowing them to remain in the home?
- Discuss with family and doctor’s about avoiding hospitalizations and being treated at the home?
In the end, we are smaller, more intimate and offer individualized care through the end of life in a real home. All of this is managed by a one or two person management team that really knows your family member and are available 24/7 to meet the needs of families and residents. Visit www.Residentialcare-mn.org to learn more.
Christine Rowland, MSW Pioneer Estates
Jenny Morgan, RN Breck Homes
Tina Haugstad RN Nurturing Care
EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA meets five times a year to exchange information and problem solve in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA please visit our website at www.edenprairieaging.org.