As people enter stages in life in which they need to care for older loved ones, there's perhaps nothing more caring than choosing a living environment that promotes the highest possible quality of life.
Aging adults often choose to live in retirement communities for the amenities and lifestyle, but for those who need to live in these types of communities for the care, why not provide those seniors with those same lifestyle opportunities? At Casey's Pond, residents experience opportunities to live a life that allows them to thrive.
That's in part thanks to the happiness among staff at Casey's Pond, which has earned the Great Place to Work certification and also been included as a Best Places to Work in Aging Services.
"Close relationships among residents and relationships between employees and residents has created unity and a family environment," said Melissa Lahay, Director of Sales and Marketing at Casey's Pond. "That makes Casey's Pond a wonderful place to work and live."
A life worth living
As older adults support needs change, the first step for many is a spouse or adult child to take on the caregiver role, Lahay said. But this can lead to a lot of stress and strain on relationships.
Many family members think they're doing right by their loved ones by taking on the caregiver role, when in fact it can be just the opposite.
"When you are the primary caregiver for your loved one, your relationship with them may change. Moving into a community like Casey's Pond allows the family member to focus on being a husband, wife, or child instead of the primary caregiver," said Melissa Bray, Assisted Living Director at Casey's Pond.
Casey's Pond follows The Eden Alternative philosophy, a resident-driven culture where older adults have choices, purpose and roles within the community. There's also a focus on continuing contact with plants, animals and children.
It's a much different environment than a medical model of living, which focuses on treatment primarily through the use of medication.
Bray points out that the Eden Alternative's social model is defined by the happiness of residents and staff. It focuses on a culture that allows residents to direct their own lives.
"Our goal is to offer support to residents in areas that they may need help so that they are able to live their lives as independently as possible," Bray said. "We offer support to a wide range of residents in assisted living and memory support. We have some resident that we check on periodically throughout the day or they notify staff when they need assistance."
The philosophy goes much deeper than that, too. The staff at Casey's Pond is also focused on providing services that go hand in hand with longevity. Residents enjoy a life of purpose — they meet with friends, enjoy the outdoors, eat healthy and delicious meals, enjoy creative arts, continuing education, happy hours, volunteering, reading, intergenerational learning and more.
When is the time for community living?
Many Casey's Pond residents moved into the community long before they needed any type of living assistance to enjoy the many services available including meals, housekeeping and transportation. This is a great time to think about community living, Lahay said.
"As needs change and one is needing support with medication management or assistance bathing and dressing, they can either hire home health or transition to Casey's Pond assisted living services," she said.
Some older adults are able to live independently, but their spouse needs assistance. Lahay said Casey's Pond can accommodate all scenarios and spouses can live together regardless of their differing needs.
Casey's Pond is committed to serving the Steamboat Springs community and hopes local residents will think of it as a resource for assisted and community living information. Casey's Pond offers short respite stays, from 5 days to 3 months, in its independent or assisted living communities — including memory support and skilled nursing stays — as an option for those who aren't sure about transitioning to this type of environment. It's also a great option for at-home caregivers who have upcoming travel or simply need a break from caregiving for a period of time.
"This is a great way for potential residents to try the community out before making a permanent decision to move in," Lahay said. "Change is hard for all of us and a short stay is a nice transition. We often find those that utilize the short stay end up loving it and don't want to leave."
This article first appeared in Steamboat Pilot & Today and is used by permission.