In the Seattle area, does the typical Adult Family Home offer end-of-life care like a hospice does?

An Adult Family Home is an ideal place to live when it has become challenging living in the home of your adult children, but still, you’re not willing or able to live on your own. An Adult Family Home gives you all of the support you need – round the clock, too, if your Adult Family Home has what they call ‘wake staff’ – and caregivers are often retired registered nurses. This gives the residents an excellent and secure place to live, no matter what their health condition.

It is becoming more and more common, too, for an Adult Family Home to have regular visits by what is often described as a medical director. A medical director can be a general practitioner, or sometimes a nurse practitioner. Either way, they have the ability to write prescriptions and administer medications and remedies across a broad spectrum. What this means is, medications can be secured and delivered to a patient in need in a very short amount of time.

Let’s look at the features of a good Adult Family Home with respect to care quality.

Wake Staff at an Adult Family Home

Wake Staff is an unusual term, but its meaning is specific. Wake Staff are on-time caregivers who are available throughout the night, ready to deal with any emergency should one arise. It is said that nothing good happens between midnight and four AM, but a Wake Staff caregiver can make all the difference when there is a problem. A good example of such a problem might be a resident’s sugar level going too low. With type I diabetes, when a patient’s sugar level drops too low, the consequences can obviously be severe, but the solution is simple. I remember years ago, my own father with type I diabetes used to keep a few hard candies in his pocket when he traveled. If his sugar levels dropped too low (because injected insulin might be too much for the amount of food he ate) simply eating a sweet would fix the problem, and with little fuss. Without wake staff in an Adult Family Home residence, a simple low sugar level might go unnoticed, and the resident would be in trouble, but a wake staff caregiver, especially one with a nursing qualification, would be there to deal with it immediately.

Without wake staff, any problem that surfaces in the middle of the night has to be dealt with by the resident themselves, or by other residents. That’s a precarious contingency situation, as many elderly might not be physically able – or alert enough – to help themselves in a timely and effective manner. What all this means, really, is that if you are considering moving your loved one into an Adult Family Home, choose one with wake staff.

Medical Director and/or visiting doctor

If there is never any on-site medical support for the residents of an Adult Family Home, many otherwise minor emergencies must be dealt with by calling an ambulance. What would otherwise be dealt with easily and quickly – such as the low sugar level mentioned earlier – now incurs an expense, anxiety and stress for everyone involved. Even if you are feeling perfectly healthy yourself, an ambulance crew arriving in your living room to take care of your ailing co-resident can be a little intimidating.

A medical director doesn’t necessarily have to be a fully qualified doctor. It is often quite sufficient to be a nurse practitioner. And if a situation becomes bigger than he or she can handle, an ambulance is a phone call away.

A stitch in time saves nine. Preventative care is the best kind of care, and if the Adult Family Home residents do not have to leave the home to get that care, it solves a number of problems. Hospitals are often a great place to pick up an illness as, let’s face it, it is full of ill people. Any senior is going to appreciate the ability to get the complete care they need without having to leave their home at all, and certainly to be kept away from hospitals. The very young and the old are, in addition, more vulnerable to falling ill and being more deeply impacted by that illness than others.

Custom-made meals and attention to dietary needs in general

One of the reasons an elderly loved one might want to move into an Adult Family Home is, as they get older, the care burden increases. Often, an elderly person is living in the home of their adult children. It’s a great, loving place to live, but those adult children might have a full time job on their hands with their own children and perhaps full time jobs in addition. This brings a lot of pressure to bear on the senior living in the granny flat extension to the house, or in one of the rooms of the house. What to cook, when to cook, how much, and so on, can add tremendous stress to the family management skills of the average growing family, and it can either reach boiling point, or stress is relieved by the senior parent moving into accommodations far more suitable to their needs. In an Adult Family Home, food choice on a personal basis is planned for.

A good Adult Family Home will have a significant percentage of their food sources as at least fresh. Often, organic food is offered too, although it’s difficult to source 100% organic food. What you should look for is at least, there is a substantial percentage of the food arriving in fresh form. It’s OK to have some canned component, but quality food content is essential in the diet of a typical aging loved one. What’s more, as we age, we naturally lose many of the pleasure of daily life – everything from reading a book to listening to your favorite radio station – while food often remains a daily pleasure. Offering the ability to choose what you eat, when you eat it, and always to have people around you when you need them, is the superlative reason for living in an Adult Family Home. While living with your grown children might seem like the most loving option to take, living with similar aged people in an Adult Family Home can be far less stressful, offer round the clock company, and be safer for all the reasons listed above.

Check back next week!