Please join us for the 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s

We are pleased to announce Our Family Home and CRT Realtors have partnered for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s on September 22, 2019. We hope you will consider either joining our team or choosing to support our walk financially.

Our Team Page:  http://act.alz.org/goto/OFHandCRT

Check in for the Columbus walk begins at noon with a seated opening ceremony at 2 p.m. The walk begins at 2:15 p.m. and is approximately 1.25 miles. The route begins at Huntington Park.

On behalf of Our Family Home and CRT Realtors, thank you kindly for your support.

Together, we can end Alzheimer’s disease!

 

Can’t join us for the walk but would still like to help?  Join us for our Local Cantina fundraiser to support our team!

September 9-13

Happy Hour: 3pm-6pm

Buy a PURPLE Margarita and $1.00 goes to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s!

Meet Faye

Employee Spotlight: Faye Scott
Administrative Assistant

What do you do for Our Family Home?

I am the Assistant to the CEO and support the team at Our Family Home. I’ve worked alongside Evan as the company grew from two homes to eight. I’ve done a variety of tasks from grocery shopping and ordering to property management. I continue to help with administrative duties and support the marketing team.

How long have you worked with Our Family Home?

I started with Our Family Home in January 2013.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I really like being able to spend time in our homes with the staff and residents. I enjoy volunteering at Our Family Home events and being able to support the team.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy spending time with my son, family and friends. I like swimming, reading and being outdoors. I also love attending local music and sporting events with my son. We enjoy cheering on the Buckeyes, the Blue Jackets, The Cleveland Browns and the St. Louis Cardinals.

What have you learned working with Alzheimer’s patients and residents of Our Family Home?

I’ve learned this horrible disease will impact nearly everyone. Most people will be affected either as a caregiver or as someone in need of care. I’ve also found the quality of care you receive is very important and having peace of mind that your loved one is receiving great care is priceless.

Have you been impacted by Alzheimer’s or memory disease personally?

Yes, my grandfather had vascular dementia and my grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. I’ve also been impacted by each of the residents who have come to Our Family Home.

How does OFH give residents and families more good days?

Our homes provide a well-designed environment in which our residents and their families can feel “at home.” But, I think the uniqueness is that we really become a family and give our residents a sense of belonging. At the end of the day, they may forget what you said but they won’t forget how you made them feel.

Also, I think this story helps demonstrate the level of care we offer: I walked into one of our locations in Worthington to do a site visit and drop off some materials for one of our nurses when I noticed one of our residents having a “tough moment.” Something had agitated him. Within no time, one of our caregivers turned on a baseball game and began singing, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” The resident immediately began singing along at the top of his lungs. They stood with their arms around each other swaying, singing, and watching that baseball game without a care in the world. It brought tears to my eyes to watch this resident go from such a difficult moment to pure joy all because this caregiver was patient and understood what he needed in that moment.

Meet Fanta

Employee Spotlight: Fanta
Caregiver at Northigh Location

What do you do for Our Family Home?

I am a caregiver and take care of our residents.

How long have you worked with Our Family Home?

I have been working with Our Family Home for 10 years. I started in 2009.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Working with our residents. I enjoy having fun with them and taking care of them like they are my family. I lost my mother and often feel like I’m caring for her.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work, I enjoy reading, going to church, spending time with my family and exercising.

What have you learned working with residents of Our Family Home?

I can help them, but they also help me. I enjoy working with our residents and I also feel better when I know I am helping them.

How does Our Family Home give residents and families more good days?

Our Family Home gives residents more good days by the way we take care of each person. If they’re happy, it makes me happy. We also help give assurance to their families. If we take great care of their loved one and are happy caring for them, it gives them greater comfort and peace.

Memory Care Unlike The Others

Fran and Ed Hall on their 47th Anniversary.

“Dementia ran in my wife’s family, and as a physician, I could see the early signs of dementia developing. It was really hard on both of us. Initially I was able to care for Fran. Then, I started asking our kids to watch their mom while I was at work. As the disease developed, we finally reached a point where I realized she was never going to come back home.” – Edward Hall, M.D.

In late 2017, Ed Hall realized he could no longer provide the necessary 24-hour care that his wife, Fran, needed. Even with the help of his kids, they couldn’t fully attend to her needs. After being admitted into a memory disease unit at a nearby hospital, they realized Fran needed full-time care. They discussed in-home care, but ultimately decided that a care center would be better.

Ed, a physician himself, and his daughter, a nurse, worked with the hospital to gather a list local facilities and began setting up appointments. They were surprised by what they found – or really what they couldn’t find.

The centers were nice, even offering aroma therapy sessions and video games geared toward seniors with memory diseases. However, the majority of amenities weren’t suitable for Fran – or anyone whose disease has progressed or might progress quickly.

“It felt like they weren’t keyed into what Fran needed or might need. They were looking for less dependent residents, who could more easily navigate the center. Fran had lost her sense of smell a few years before and wouldn’t be able to follow a video game.”

Ed knew she needed more attentive care. Fran had also shown signs of belligerence, common for individuals with dementia, during the initial evaluations. Some of the centers identified this as a red flag for them and even declined to accept her.

After multiple dead ends, Ed and his daughter were referred to Our Family Home.

“We knew immediately this was the right place and they’ve been a godsend ever since. From the very first discussion, we could tell they had a different approach to caring for individuals with memory disease. They were cued into her needs and were equipped to manage her care, even as the disease progressed.”

According to Ed, most of the centers they looked at had a ratio of 1 caregiver: 8 residents during the day and 1 caregiver: 16 residents at night. They were surprised to learn that Our Family Home has 2 caregivers: 5 residents during the day and 1 caregiver: 5 residents at night. This was unprecedented to them.

“Honestly, I believe that if Fran didn’t have the level of care she’s been receiving from Our Family Home, she probably wouldn’t be with us today. The staff is great. They bond with the residents and show a genuine concern about their care. I still see Fran nearly every day, but I have no worries that when I’m not there that her care is any different. I can’t say enough good things about them.”

 

Meet Kellie

Employee Spotlight: Kellie Gerding
Team Lead Coordinator, Miami Hills and Bramblewood

 

Headshot of KellieWhat do you do for Our Family Home?

I am a team lead coordinator for our Miami Hills and Bramblewood homes in Cincinnati. I manage scheduling, setting up and conducting interviews, working closely with our caregivers and helping with our residents whenever needed.

How long have you worked with Our Family Home?

I have been with Our Family Home for three years. I started as a caregiver then worked to become an assistant team lead and now a team lead coordinator.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy being able to take care of our residents and also having the opportunity to be hands on with my team. I have an amazing team. I also love being a part of the on-boarding process and watching the relationships grow with my team and with residents.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work, I enjoy watching movies with my husband of 17 years. I like to spend time with friends and family, and I especially enjoy being outdoors.

What have you learned working with residents of Our Family Home?

Kellie with a resident
Kellie loves working with our residents and taking them outside on nice days.

Working with residents, I have learned that each day brings a new and different experience and I don’t know what the day holds. I am more patient and have learned to go with the flow. I have realized that one day may go a certain way and then the next is completely different.

Have you had a personal experience with Alzheimer’s or dementia?

Yes. My grandfather had Alzheimer’s. He passed away in 2016. I also had an aunt with Alzheimer’s disease, who passed away last year, and an uncle who has it now.

How does Our Family Home give residents and families more good days?

We give residents and families more good days by treating them like they are our own family. We’re able to provide close-knit, one-on-one, personal attention, giving family members peace of mind that when they leave their loved one will be taken care of. They don’t have anything to worry about. We also get to know and love each one of our residents for who they are and their unique personalities.

A Turnaround Story

Working with Alzheimer’s and dementia residents, we see challenges of the disease that are often perceived as “behaviors” of the resident. Memory disease can make people act in ways that are completely foreign to how they behaved most of their lives, making it extremely important to find the right care option for your loved one.

Unfortunately, we encounter far too many cases where residents have been moved to multiple facilities or over-medicated because of their “behavior.” Yet, we’ve been fortunate to find that these individuals are frequently our most inspiring turnaround stories. People like Anthony.

In 2018, we welcomed Anthony to Our Family Home after being discharged from another memory care facility for his “behaviors.” During our assessment, we learned he had been in three memory care facilities prior to us and was heavily medicated. He was bed-ridden, and his fists were clenched tightly, making him unable to use his hands.

After moving into Our Family Home, our team of nurses began working with a new hospice group to reduce his medication, slowly weaning him down from what were nearly toxic levels. Over time, they significantly reduced the medicine and added a small pain medication for severe arthritis. Working together through daily interaction and simple exercises, Our Family Home caregivers noticed not just that Anthony’s hands were opening, but that he could now feed himself and hold a glass.

Once bed-ridden and unable to use his hands, Anthony now participates in multiple, group activities – like passing around a pool noodle, throwing beach balls, and erasing the chalk board and folding napkins. We’ve also been able to work with hospice and his family to equip Anthony with a high back wheelchair to move around the house independently.

Just retelling this story can almost bring tears. We’re still seeing weekly improvements and getting to know Anthony even more, which separates Our Family Home from other facilities.

We realize that not every story and not every resident will have such a transformative experience with us. But, we do know that Our Family Home’s level of care and the real connection we have with our residents preserves their health, their dignity and their livelihood.

Meet April

Employee Spotlight: April
Team Lead at Olentangy River Road

What do you do for Our Family Home?

I’m a team lead for our Olentangy River Road home. I take care of residents, and I manage a lot of the day-to-day activities in the house, such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, activities, scheduling and weekly orders. I like to compare it to the things you would do to manage your own house.

How long have you worked with Our Family Home?

I started with Our Family Home in 2013.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I feel like I leave home and come home. Working at Our Family Home feels like home.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my two grandkids and also spend time caring for my mother-in-law.

What have you learned working with residents of Our Family Home?

Patience. I’ve learned to be patient, understanding and calm. Caring for people with Alzheimer’s can take a lot of your energy, but it’s important to realize the residents pick up on how you’re feeling. If you’re ragged and your energy level is low, they will pick up on it. I always try to be in good spirits and try to be upbeat so they feel good too.

Have you had a personal experience with Alzheimer’s or dementia?

I have a close family member who hasn’t been diagnosed but is showing some points of memory loss.

How does Our Family Home give residents and families more good days?

Definitely the one-on-one attention and care we’re able to give our residents and families. Every resident is different and we can tailor our care to their needs. What works for one resident is not going to work for another. We’re able to take the time to narrow things down and get to what they need. We’re also able to interact with family members. Just like if you’re at home and have family members stop by, we’re able to talk with them, listen to any concerns and put them at ease.

For Us, It’s Personal

Many of our residents come to Our Family Home from unsuccessful situations in other care centers, and often begin to show improvements after joining Our Family Home. When we look at the common threads that help our residents improve, we realize it’s because for us, it’s personal.

Dementia care is the fastest growing segment of assisted living and we continue to see growth among larger, corporate-owned entities. While some individuals do alright in these settings, we find that our residents thrive in an environment that’s more personal.

Personal Experience

Evan DuBro with his Mother

Our Family Home was born out of personal connection to memory disease. Evan grew up around Alzheimer’s disease, caring for his grandparents, who had the disease, and later his mom. After his mom’s diagnosis, he realized nothing like Our Family Home existed. It sparked an idea for a new level of care.

The format of converting residential houses into smaller, safer and more familiar homes for individuals with memory disease originated from his experience, as well as his formal education in senior care management.

Evan also knew that successful care needed to go beyond the right environment. It had to include a commitment to forming a well-trained and committed care team. Equipping the employees with both personal and professional training opportunities would be the key to attracting and keeping staff that cared about the residents.

Our Family Home believes in giving employees the tools, training and techniques to be able to provide high level care for residents and take better care of themselves. We need to invest well in our people, so they invest well in our residents.

Personal Connection

While personal experience has contributed greatly to the foundation for Our Family Home, the guiding principle of the organization is really connection and livelihood. With a 5:2 resident to caregiver ratio, our staff is afforded the opportunity to spend meaningful time with residents. Often time our caregivers will refer to this as being able to get in their moment.

Being in their moment means putting aside your own agenda and focusing on what our residents need at that time. We don’t enforce a strict daily schedule because we realize that not all people adhere to the same schedule. Some of our residents are early risers while others prefer to get up later. We want to create an environment that relays consistency and familiarity.

This mindset also empowers our caregivers to focus more on the needs of each resident depending on where they are in the disease. We focus on what each person can reasonable do rather than setting expectations for a group that may be unrealistic for some. We’re also able to reconfigure our days, our tasks and our expectations based on how things are going each day or hour.

Being a caregiver is personal. It can be strenuous and emotional, but it’s also something we do because we care. At Our Family Home, everything we do – from the layout of our homes, to investing in the right training for our care teams, to engaging with our residents and their families – is because for us, it’s personal.

Driving & Dementia: The Road to Staying Safe

Driving is an important part of daily independence. However, for individuals with age-related changes or neurological conditions, driving capabilities may be compromised. Discussing driving with your loved one can be difficult but if done early, the outcome can be more promising.

Marybeth Cartmille of OFH (far left) with Meredith Sweeney of OSU Wexner Medical Center and Michelle Crum of the Alzheimer’s Association

This week, we had the pleasure of hosting “Driving and Dementia,” as part of the Alzheimer’s Association education event series. Meredith Sweeney from The Assistive Technology Center Occupational Driver Rehabilitation Program of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center talked with attendees about the Occupational Therapy Driver Rehabilitation program and the benefits of early intervention. She also shared advice for building a driving plan for individuals affected by dementia and other memory-care diseases.

Sweeney is one of only about 350 occupation therapists in the United States and Canada to be a ‘Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist.’

Sweeney points out that in the early stages of dementia you should begin the process of developing a driver retirement program. Studies have shown that if the dementia driver helps make the driving retirement plan, they are less likely to be depressed when they must finally give up their driving independence.

Building a Driver Retirement Program

Some people can be alright to drive for a short time after diagnosis, although Sweeney suggests people with memory disease should consider a driving evaluation annually.

To participate in the program through the OSU Wexner Medical Center, participants will need a referral from their doctor.  Once referred, the appointment takes about two hours.  The first hour includes a consultation, vision screenings, thinking skills, reaction times and additional in-office evaluations. The second hour includes a driving analysis using a modified OSU vehicle.  Drivers are analyzed first in a parking lot, then residential area, commercial area and on a highway.  The occupational therapist shares the results throughout the appointment and will ultimately help you create a driving plan.

If a driver is deemed unsafe, their team will help you make a plan for public and other transit options. Many public transit options have direct routes available if you qualify under their medical conditions’ provisions.

There are also ride sharing options, including Go Go Grandparent that allows you to order an Uber or Lyft ride for your parent from afar and then receive regular text alerts about their ride and when they have arrived at their destination.

If you are concerned about a loved-one’s driving, here are the top three items to watch for:

  1. Speed: Are they going too fast or too slow?
  2. The most common accident is making a poor decision when making an unprotected left turn (meaning there is no stop light).
  3. Look at your loved one’s car: Are there dents or scratches that can’t be explained? Many people with memory disease are unaware that they hit items while operating their vehicle.

For more information about driving and dementia or to learn more about the program, visit https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/physical-therapy-rehabilitation/rehabilitation-driving-program?utm_source=brochure&utm_medium=print&utm_campaign=phre_drive_rehab_brochure

Why I chose memory care and my mom didn’t have Alzheimer’s disease

“My mom was never officially diagnosed with memory disease. I believe her memory loss was more a factor of age and a head injury from previous falls versus a disease,” shared Gene Utz, whose mom, Gertrude, was a resident at our Bramblewood house in Cincinnati.

Gene recently shared his story with us, including why he chose to move his mom to Our Family Home after unsuccessful experiences with four other senior living providers in the area.

What was it like trying to find someone to care for your mom? 

Until you’re in the situation of looking for care for an aging family member, you don’t realize the nuance that goes into finding the right place. There are so many options and it’s challenging to understand what you’re going to get for the money you’re spending.

What was your initial impression of Our Family Home?

It was astounding. Not just the layout, which was much easier for my mom to navigate, but the level of care. There is no comparison when you have two aides to five residents in each home. Honestly, it’s so out of balance with anything else you will find out there.

Why did you choose Our Family Home if your mom wasn’t officially diagnosed with a memory disease?

Hands down, the level of care. At first, I questioned whether my mom would thrive in a memory care center. I wondered if she would have enough engagement and interaction if she was surrounded by people with severe memory disease. But, she did. There was a mix of residents at different stages of their disease, which allowed my mom to interact more easily with her peers. The staff also kept her busy – they would talk with her and keep her busy with different activities.

What was it like after you moved your mom in to Our Family Home?

I could finally stop worrying. When my mom was in other centers, I was so worried I would get a call that she fell. After almost five years going from place to place, I could finally relax and know that she was in really good hands.

What advice would you give someone currently looking for care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease?

There are so many places, and it’s extremely confusing. The biggest thing to look for is the level of care. You just can’t beat the 2 to 5 ratio. Unlike larger, corporate-owned centers, the caregivers at Our Family Home are able to adjust to the needs of each resident. The range of services and availability is off the charts. It’s impossible for another facility to do what they do. They can’t provide this level of care. It’s mathematically impossible.