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Aging in Place

Monday January 27, 2003
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There are interesting and unique challenges to practicing in the assisted living setting. Just ask Linda Seager, RN, MBA, and Karen Hughes, RN, ADON, who describe long-term care and assisted living as their chosen field of expertise. Says Seager, "This is an opportunity to continue quality of life." Hughes agrees, "We love what we do."
At Langdon Place in Nashua, NH, Seager and Hughes assist 89 residents through their day. Langdon Place, operated by SunBridge Healthcare Corporation, is a varied level assisted living facility (ALF). It has 48 independent and assisted living apartments, plus 24 room suites for residents requiring increased assistance.
The residents recognize Seager and Hughes as caregivers and support, but most importantly, as extended family. During breakfast in the dining room, "Residents are genuinely happy to see us, visit, share stories, and talk about the day or upcoming events," says Hughes. The concepts of assisted living offered are continued quality of life and care, dignity and "aging in place."
"This is a holistic approach, for mind, body and soul," says Seager. Frequent staff meetings revolve around consistent and ongoing assessment of each resident that include medical/physical needs, support services, and socialization opportunities.
The concept of aging in place with quality and dignity is important to both nurses. Seager and Hughes provide ongoing education emphasizing elder care that extends to all staff members including those not in direct resident care.
Of course, assisted living is not always the choice of those who move there. For some residents, it can be particularly difficult to accept support or discuss personal health concerns with new individuals. Establishing trust and developing relationships are important. Leaving a life-long home, changing addresses, accepting health issues or even minimal assistance can be upsetting or confusing to older citizens.
"End-of-life issues, supporting residents, arranging care, meeting with families, and sometimes acting as a mediator for differences of opinion present unique challenges," says Hughes. Another challenge, says Seager, is discussing finances with residents who may need a different, possibly extended/intensive level of care. She assists with applications and researching facilities that will provide what the resident requires.
Seager and Hughes enjoy watching new residents make new friends and assimilate into the assisted care environment. They both echo the sentiment that aging in place is a concept we can all embrace!