The Right Match
Courtesy Crawford Street Place, Texoma LIVING WELL Magazine
Few decisions weigh as heavily on a family as finding the right assisted living accommodations for a loved one. Research and recommendations can be helpful, but you also want to carefully consider the right match––finding a place that meets all your criteria and then some.
It might be as simple as checking the staff-to-resident ratio or as complex as learning how different types of behavioral challenges are met on a daily basis. Talk with staff. Have a meal with residents. Ask lots of questions.
“Family members need to spend a little time in the environment to accurately gauge appropriateness for their loved ones,” says Betty Stoker, OTR, co-owner of Crawford Street Place in Denison. “For instance, it surprises some people when they see the difference a building’s physical characteristics can make. Crawford Street Place is small, and was designed so that it’s easy for staff to see––and even anticipate––what our residents are doing and when they might need assistance.”
Beyond the facility’s physical structure, Kimberly Streun, OTR, co-owner, advised listening for laughter. “We encourage activities and interactions that nurture our residents and bring about authentic human connections. There’s actually scientific evidence that laughter helps all of us, at any age, feel better.”
At Crawford Street Place, the staff work as a team devoted to resident care. Their goal is to ensure that residents are safe, that their needs are met, and that they feel comfortable as part of a loving family. “Our residents know our caregivers, because the person who helped them dress that morning is likely to be the same one helping them with their meal or taking a walk around the grounds with them,” says Stoker. “It develops a trust level and helps build relationships.”
Sometimes residents come to Crawford Street Place from other facilities, where, for a variety of reasons, they could no longer stay. While government regulations require that an assessment be conducted prior to admittance, Streun says they are able to accept many of those individuals, finding ways to problem-solve by learning about the person and working consistently with each.
“I don’t want to sound prideful or anything, but, really, this is my gift,” says Streun, who has a long career history working with senior adults. “It comes natural to me to be able to reach out to residents and take good care of them. I can usually find that human connection that brings about positive results.”
Stoker agrees, saying that their work is a wonderful adventure that helps her grow as a person, while she is giving each day her best. “No task is too much trouble for any of us here,” she says. “Sometimes we can take care of a problem by just rearranging one piece of furniture or finding a topic of conversation that brings joy.”
Both Stoker and Streun are experienced occupational therapists who know what it’s like for families facing the decision of where to place a loved one. They want people to know that it’s okay to think of themselves, as well as their family member. Both say they work with families to help them cope with any guilt or discomfort about turning someone they love over to the staff at Crawford Street Place. “I tell them it’s like when you send your first child to school, that very first day, when you can hardly stand to entrust that special person to strangers,” Stoker says. “But then, the child adjusts and is happy and you are too. It works like that with families here too.”
The first step is to write down your questions and call 903-463-0400 for an appointment. Even if your loved one is not eligible for Crawford Street Place, staff can talk with you about other resources and options. There is no charge for the visit or an initial assessment, should you choose to have one for your family member. “We’re not going to hound you; we respect and encourage personal choice,” Streun says. “Truly, there is no obligation and it is our mission to be of service to you. Let us help.”
To learn more about Crawford Street Place or to discuss your loved one’s options, please call 903-463-0400.