A Place for Mom and Dad
Esprit Whispering Ridge
By Marge Shoemaker
Many of us will sometime face a major decision regarding parental senior living. There’s a lot to consider: locality, living conditions, activities offered, level of care, cost, and convenience. It’s never too early to discuss the possibility of a senior living facility with your parents! Giving them some control in the decision of where they’ll
live rather than just choosing for them is beneficial. If your parents are showing signs of dementia or frailty, if they are forgetting things like taking medications or are unable to perform daily self-care tasks, you may need to find a facility that specializes in memory care or assisted living.
Mallory Hoskinson is the Executive Director of Esprit Whispering Ridge. “We specialize in assisted living and memory care for seniors,” Mallory explains. Esprit, a for-profit facility, was founded seven years ago by the Hegg Company. The Hegg marketing department researched different areas and found that, while there are many senior living facilities in the metropolitan area, none were found in the rolling hills of western Douglas County. That’s where they built Esprit.
According to Mallory, most inquiries about the facility come from adult children wisely vetting some facilities before having Mom or Dad take a tour. “Going through too many places, having too many choices, is difficult for everyone,” she comments. “It really is best to narrow the field and then let your parents help choose.” She advises scheduling a tour during the time of day your parents are at their best. “If they are tired and crabby, they won’t like any place you show them,” she points out.
Mallory knows that every potential resident she meets is in a transitional period of life. “Our job at Esprit is to help the residents and their families adjust to the changes in life and lifestyle they are facing,” she says. “As a mentoring team, we grow through the experience with our residents and their families.”
Resident care is personalized at Esprit. Because of the wide variance of dementia-based illnesses, the staff develops a care plan for each individual. Mallory assures us that the staff is trained to do everything possible to “get in the resident’s reality.” The memory units are arranged into neighborhoods based on residents’ needs—some residents need different levels of care than others, especially as dementia increases and the resident becomes less independent. Each neighborhood is small enough to enhance each resident’s familiarity with the layout and routine. “The people and activities are familiar. It’s a community where everything feels like home.”
Activities and care are need-based, with the understanding that the residents are unable to live alone. Some families live close enough to visit often and take part in their family member’s routine; other families live farther away and can’t visit as frequently. The staff makes every effort to involve their residents’ families at the level the families are comfortable with. Family involvement, Mallory shares, is always preferred.
“Our staff is tasked with keeping each resident’s lifestyle going,” Mallory explains. “Keeping residents engaged in performing life skills and taking part in activities is much more beneficial to their overall health than dosing them with medication.” The staff makes an effort to find out about residents’ lifestyles and interests prior to them joining the Esprit family: Do they like music, art, movies, or dance? The answers are pertinent in driving the types of activities offered. “It doesn’t matter whether they participate actively or non-verbally. The important thing is socialization. They’re part of the family—a community!” Mallory exclaims.
Several satisfied family members share their thoughts about Esprit. Mary Ellen tells us that her father-in-law has developed terrific friendships. She says that he especially likes winning candy bars at bingo. Richard shares that his father is a memory care resident and is “treated with dignity and respect by these ‘angels’ who understand the residents’ needs and treat them accordingly.”
Mallory’s favorite times are when “the house is full of families for special holidays and celebrations. Whole family units are smiling! It’s like they’re saying, ‘We’re home. Mom’s at home.’” Kelly, whose loved one moved to Esprit six months ago, agrees. “The caregivers here go above and beyond…we’re always met with smiles and even hugs.” She’s confident there’s no better place for her loved one.
Esprit Whispering Ridge is located at 17555 Emmet Street, in Omaha. You can reach them by phone at 402-932-7300. For more information, visit them online at www.espritwhisperingridge.com.