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News Maryland Howard County Clarksville

Sorting through senior living options for specific needs [Senior Circles]

About three months ago, my former neighbors and I, who have lunch together once a month, were discussing how we could help one of us who had been showing signs of dementia. The former neighbor lives alone, which is of utmost concern to us.

We had talked to her about selling her house and moving to a senior living community of some type. Our friend told us she wasn't ready to do that. But, we knew that we had to convince her or get someone to convince her to sell her home and move to senior housing for her own safety and well being.

It is a difficult situation to be in. Members of the group have no direct control over her health and living situation, but nevertheless, we want to do whatever we can to encourage and influence our friend to take this next step. She is the second of our group of eight to be diagnosed with dementia.

I suggested that I contact a friend, whom I met while researching a topic for "Senior Circles," and invite her to our next luncheon to meet our friend and discuss housing options for her. Jessica Welch had been working for a senior care referral service at the time I met her and was very knowledgeable about senior housing.  It took me a little while to track Jessica down because she had changed jobs.

Jessica Welch is now director of operations for Oasis Senior Advisors in Columbia. She agreed to meet my group for lunch the following month and was helpful to all of us at that session. Our friend still insisted that she wasn't ready to move, but Jessica convinced her to look at living facilities, in order to know what she likes and to be prepared when she does decide to move.  Our friend got along well with Jessica and agreed to have Jessica show her several properties and as it turned out, her only relative in this area, a nephew, went with them. 

 Our friend's short-term memory is getting worse. This month she was reminded of our lunch the day before but wasn't home when her ride went to pick her up. Later she said it wasn't on her calendar and that she had gone to another activity but she couldn't remember what it was.

We worry about her driving by herself as well; she could get lost, panic and not be able to find her way home. Jessica is working hard, along with the nephew, to encourage her to find a new place to live.  Members of our group have found Jessica to be both dedicated and compassionate in dealing with our friend.

Oasis Senior Advisors, "Lifestyle Options for Senior Living," is a no cost local service for seniors and their families to identify lifestyle preferences, health care needs, geographic preference and financial situation, to aid in the transition to a new home.

Oasis advisers use specialized software, OasisIQ, into which they enter the senior's budget, geographic preferences and care needs and the software provides a list of communities that match the senior's requirements. Once suitable matches have been found, a personal Senior Living Advisor schedules visits and tours and assists throughout the entire process, until a "perfect fit" is found. Oasis' service is made possible through the financial contributions of local senior housing communities, many who reimburse Oasis Senior Advisors for their services.

Oasis educates seniors and their families on the differences between and options for assisted living communities, Alzheimer's care, retirement communities, skilled nursing homes, residential care homes, respite services, hospice and dementia care. Its advisors will guide seniors and their families "through the maze of senior care options." The senior and family can make an informed decision based on each community's accommodation of needs, amenities offered and range of costs.

Anyone working with older adults today needs the Certified Senior Advisors designation, which the Oasis Senior Advisors have. Earning the CSA certification, through the Society of Certified Senior Advisors, requires individuals to pass a rigorous exam, uphold the highest ethical standards, and complete recertification continuing education requirements.

 For more information, go to OasisSeniorAdvisors.com.

Whether you need assisted living, independent living or a memory care facility, or just want to start investigating future options, Oasis Senior Advisors can save you time and ease the stress in the search for your next "oasis."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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