Charleston Assisted Living In Erie
Charleston Assisted Living is an 8-bed facility nestled within a pleasant residential neighborhood in Erie. It’s yard backs to The Colorado National Golf Course with a stunning, panoramic view of the Colorado Rockies. While our facility itself is exceptional, our staff and the hands-on approach we use in caring for our residence is what makes our operation cutting edge. As Director of Operations I find it very rewarding to work closely with staff as we focus on improving the quality of life for those in our care. While dementia and Alzheimer’s pose challenges for the memory care industry as a whole, the small size of Charleston allows us to work with each resident’s individual needs.
Allow me to introduce you to one of our residents, Mabel. She was a schoolteacher. Her job description was much different than one would find today. It required that she drive the school bus as well as teach. She would pick her students up each morning, teach all the subjects in the one room school house then load them into the bus to deliver them back home each afternoon. Mabel and her husband owned and operated a tourist destination near Estes Park. People from around the world came to experience a reenactment of the “Wild West.” They were very dedicated, hard working people who cared for others and helped build the foundation of this wonderful country we live in. Now that she can communicate again, Mabel has enjoyed talking about her life here in Colorado.
Mabel has dementia. Her ability to communicate her needs had been severely compromised. The frustration she must feel is unimaginable. She is extremely hard of hearing, but rejected hearing aids. As I worked with her I noticed when she did try to talk it was garbled and she seemed to be mumbling. One day I noticed that her garbled, low mumble was an exact mimic of the words I was saying. It struck me that with her hearing loss everything she heard would be muffled and garbled. Possibly her brain was mirroring what she heard.
Shortly after that Lori Adams with ADCO Hearing Products contacted me. She demonstrated several very affordable hearing support devices that are now on the market. I purchased a Pocketalker¨2.0 by Williams Sound¨ with the thought it might help Mabel. It is a personal listening device with volume control. One day the perfect opportunity presented itself. As I walked by Mabel, she made eye contact and reached her hand up to me- a typical attempt of communication from her. I brought the Pocketalker¨ 2.0 over and worked with her to get the earphones in place. I then began asking her questions about her life here in Colorado. Her face immediately lit up and she began trying to communicate. She was difficult to understand as she was still mumbling, however it was clear she understood everything I was saying to her. After a short time she would say three or four words that were clear and made sense. Our wonderful staff gathered around and watched in amazement as Mabel tried her best to communicate. The emotion in the room was palpable. Everyone was holding their breath and fighting back tears. At that very moment Mabel’s nephew Tom phoned to say he was on his way to visit her. I told her he was coming and asked if she knew who he was- she repeated my question and then answered YES! This is the beginning of the video you can see on The Charleston website. This video documents the amazing metamorphosis Mabel has undergone with just the gift of being able to hear again. It has been an extremely rewarding journey for me and my staff.
Oftentimes medication is perceived as the protocol of choice to help memory care residents. Unfortunately, medication can have undesirable side effects as well as difficult adjustment periods. We discovered in Mabel’s case that the brain made all the necessary connections on its own once we simply added sound by means of the Pocketalker¨ 2.0. The video demonstrates the profound improvement of quality of life for Mabel.
All of us at Charleston enjoy being able to care for the elderly. These people are our national treasures. They deserve the utmost of respect, dignity and care in order to keep them safe, warm and as happy as possible for the rest of their life. We are honored to be able to be involved in their care. We are very thankful for technologies like the Pocketalker¨ 2.0 to help us in our efforts to improve the quality of life of our residents. I know that Mabel would join us in wanting others to learn and benefit from a very affordable personal listening device.
My desire is that this article will deliver a glimmer of hope to even one person trying to help another.