Caring for Your Older Parents May Be Your Next Career
As seen in Pasadena Now:
We know this moment is coming…
We dread the day when the light in our parents’ eyes begins to fade and what was once comical becomes everyday’s harsh reality – and Mom and Dad’s sharp mental focus continues to blur.
If you have not already faced this, you likely will, and so will your friends. Which is why it’s so important to shop carefully when looking for an assisted living residential home for your parents or loved ones.
You’ll need more than the physical facilities – you’ll need a supportive and caring staff, along with everyday needs. As Shelby Walker, wellness nurse at the Kensington Assisted Living Residence in Sierra Madre, explains, “I love working here because our residents, first of all, they’re just awesome. A lot of them are just glad to be here with each other, and with us caring for them. We form a bond. We really get to know each other. We know what we like and what we dislike.”
The Kensington is a great example of state-of-the art assisted living care in Los Angeles County. “As you enter The Kensington, you see a piano bar, where residents are engaged in singing and dancing. Walking further through the community, one sees the grand dining room where meals are served by a culinary chief,” said Kensington Communications Director Steve Scuirba. “A movie theater, beauty shop, physical therapy room with staff, as well as three lush gardens are all part of the community called The Kensington Sierra Madre.”
“It’s like a family here,” Walker continued. “And it’s residential. So it actually looks like a beautiful home. It doesn’t seem like an ‘institution,’ as we used to call them. It’s really comfortable, relaxing. It’s like they’re in their home, but we are providing services. It’s almost like we’re home care nurses, we’re really part of the family. We’re all just family.”
The nearly year-old Kensington on Sierra Madre Boulevard in Sierra Madre offers daily assisted living, along with two levels of Memory Care. Early stage Alzheimer’s Disease are cared for in a living module called “Connections,” and later stage residents are cared for in the “Haven” section. There are 41 suites for the assisted living residents, along with 19 suites for Connections residents, along with 15 suites for the later-stage residents in Haven, according to Scuirba. According to Scuirba, “The owners wanted to have a community where they could grow old themselves, as well as their parents. That is basically is what they did.”
Geriatric experts constantly emphasize the need for constant mental stimulation and activity for aging seniors, and Kensington offers a host of such, including walking trips, daily movies, music and art therapy, “Music is an important part of the therapy at Kensington,” explained Leandra Sims, activities coordinator. “The part of our brain that is affected by music is a separate part, and sometimes it doesn’t seem to get hurt or touched, and it can help maintain what they have and hold off what is coming.”
“Plus they feel so good,” she said. “If someone comes for a visit, they may not remember that person who came to visit, but they’ll be in a good mood for the rest of the day.” “They may be unable to remember the most basic things, but, they’ll be able to sing “Oh What a Beautiful Morning!” from “Oklahoma!” from start to finish which can be very successful and also stimulating,” Sims added. “And sometimes, they can even learn a new song even though they can’t remember anything else. Like we have a new song that’s from the movie, “Inside Out” called “Lava.” And they actually learned the song. It’s a new song. There’s no way any of them could have heard it before, and they can sing all the words of that song!”
There are also gardens used as part of Kensington’s therapy programs. Along with the care it provides to its senior patients, Kensington also opens its doors to the community with tours and lectures, recently holding a “Heart Health Event,” for its neighbors.
The Kensington Assisted Living Home is at 245 West Sierra Madre Boulevard, Sierra Madre. (626) 355-5700.
By EDDIE RIVERA, Community Editor www.pasadenanow.com/living