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Getting the Right Level of Support

  • May 1, 2014
  • Meaghan Puglisi
  • 4-min Read

And The Guidance To Get You There…


It is often trial and error for family caregivers to find the right level of support for their loved ones. And sometimes you no sooner get support then things change again. Yet the right level of support can make a significant difference for everyone involved.

That’s what Mary Larsen learned. As the polar vortex settled over the Twin Cities this past winter, Mary was able to thoroughly enjoy multiple opportunities to be with her grandchildren each time school was canceled. That would not have been the case just six months earlier when Mary was worrying about her mom, Marynetta Hartung.

At age 91, Marynetta is a tenant at Oak Meadows in Oakdale where they’ve partnered with Lifesprk to bring their tenants services with proactive guidance.

Last summer, the Oak Meadows and Lifesprk staff began to notice some changes in Marynetta – she seemed more forgetful, confused, and unsteady on her feet. She would rearrange the furniture in the Oak Meadows lobby.

She had fallen, and was supposed to use a walker to help her recuperate but didn’t like using it so she became increasingly socially isolated.

Mary and her family were worried. “It was hard for me to sort this out,” she explains. “I don’t have any siblings anymore to help deal with the situation, and I’d never faced this before.”

Mary turned to her Lifesprk Life Care Manager (LCM).

LCMs serve as proactive guides who work side-by-side as partners with the client and family to help them not only identify and build the best path toward their goals, but also to be on the look out to help prevent any issues that may derail their efforts. Their role makes it easier for people to access the right resources at the right time.

“My mom’s LCM was there to help guide me through the decisions and transition, and set up additional services within the assisted living part of the facility until there was an opening in memory care,” Mary says, noting that the timing had to be right. “It would have been premature to move her sooner than we did. Certainly making decisions about this change for my mother was much easier because of the confidence I had in the staff and their experience.”

“Our goal,” explained Marynetta’s LCM, “is always to help our clients be as independent as possible. As happened with Marynetta, finding the right setting where she could be most independent was important.”

Memory care actually ended up being a less expensive option with greater and more appropriate support than paying for the additional services in assisted living. Though it took a few weeks, Marynetta quickly began to thrive in Memory Care. Marynetta started to feel more comfortable with her walker, especially as more tenants use them in Memory Care. So she was participating in more activities.

lifesprk-lifecare-manager-marynettaMary describes her mom as extremely independent. She laughs sharing a story of how her mom in her 80s, prior to moving to Oak Meadows, would re-shovel the sidewalk after the 70-year-old man responsible for clearing it was done . . . to be sure it was done right. Marynetta is still very independent and the move created a safe environment where she felt less restricted and could exercise her independence more fully. There were more appropriate activities along with additional supervision and more structure.

The gradual process enabled Marynetta to begin to trust the caregivers and see the difference they made for her. The added support and well-designed environment actually helped Marynetta to feel more independent. “She’s thriving,” stresses her LCM.

“The support from Lifesprk and my mom’s move to Memory Care gave me a lot of peace of mind. I didn’t feel I needed to be checking on her as much. I know she’s safe. And I know the staff is wonderful. Our Life Care Manager is great and so responsive,” Larsen stated.

“My mother’s Life Care Manager spends a lot of time explaining and talking things over with me. She just understands what the situation is. She listens and gives me feedback. In a very short period of time, she has given me trust and confidence. I know she’ll call me when I need to be called.

“When I really consider that my mom is a vulnerable person, it is nice to know that I don’t have to worry about her being in the right place – she is in the right place – Oak Meadows Memory Care,” stresses Larsen.

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