By Maddy Vitale
Quality is what staff at the United Methodist Communities at The Shores in Ocean City offers to loved ones and their families at an assisted living facility that offers a continuum of care.
“When you are a caregiver, you are thinking about what you have to do and checking it off your list. A family should have a quality visit, not a quantity visit. When you come here to see your loved one, you are spending quality time,” said Ryan Champion, director of sales for UMC, 2201 Bay Ave. in Ocean City.
A memory support program called Tapestries has expanded since it was first offered at The Shores in 2005 because of a growing need, explained UMC Executive Director Jessica Stewart.
“UMC recognizes that,” Stewart said.
The name for the section of UMC devoted to residents with dementia and other memory-related ailments, came through the concept that no two tapestries are alike, just as no two people are the same, Stewart noted.
“The most important thing is how you make that person feel at that moment,” she said.
The Tapestries program is located in secure assisted living neighborhoods within The Shores community. It offers apartments with living rooms, bedrooms, full bathrooms, and tea kitchens . Just like other programs at The Shores, it allows residents to experience comfort in their private space.
Residents can also enjoy time in “common areas” for things such as family style dining, activity and exercise programs, dining room, and a multi-purpose room for hobbies. Specifically, trained caregivers work 24/7 in the program according to information provided by UMC.
Approximately 200 residents live at The Shores. Residents can walk on lush grounds and it overlooks a golf course. The top deck offers a seating area to look out and, in some spots, you could see the bay.
United Methodist Communities at The Shores has one particular goal in mind, Stewart said. They want residents to come in when they are as independent as possible and as their medical needs grow, they are able to stay in the same home they are accustomed to and still receive all of the care and attention he or she needs.
“People are living longer. The thought process is that we should be more proactive than reactive. We want people to make their own decisions and feel in control,” Stewart said. “We encourage people to come in as independent as possible. One of our largest competitors is home but we offer a continuum of care where residents won’t have to make another move or transition. They have the ability to age within our community.”
Besides living in a beautiful environment that is homey, spacious and offers expert care, housekeeping, laundry, special meals and transportation to doctor’s appointments and day trips, there is a multitude of other activities to keep a resident busy.
Arts and crafts, clubs, a library complete with computer terminals, and a hair salon, touch upon just some of the activities and amenities at The Shores.
There is even a large fitness room staffed by senior fitness expert Karen Cooper. Cooper gave a tour of the machines, specially reconfigured with seniors in mind.
A weight machine gives seniors the ability to change the poundage without lifting anything. With the touch of a button, the desired weight can be added, eliminating possible injuries.
Cooper said each senior has their own set of goals and the objective is to keep the residents moving in a safe way. She said residents love the workouts designed specifically for them so much that some seniors make a workout a part of their daily routine.
A host of activities would not be complete without a healthy schedule of entertainment.
At The Shores there is more than enough entertainment to keep people engaged, Champion said.
“Our job is to keep families proactive. We offer a robust entertainment calendar. You won’t be lonely,” Champion said with a smile. “Socialization adds years to your life and adds quality to life. That is what our team wants to drive home.”
While The Shores puts out a calendar of events, many of the residents form their own groups for card games and other activities, he said.
“We have live entertainment, hula dancers, ballroom dancing, Irish dancers. We even have a senior prom where the residents get dressed up,” Champion said. “Everyone has so much fun.”
But you don’t have to be a social butterfly to enjoy The Shores.
Champion said just getting dressed to go down to the dining hall to eat can be enough social time for some people. The bottom line is to make the residents happy, he said.
When looking at options of assisted living facilities in the area, both Stewart and Champion said there is a reason family should choose The Shores – quality.
The question becomes finances. The Shores is competitive with its pricing and offers much more than others, both Stewart and Champion said.
Stewart added that the task of going over paperwork may be confusing. Staff at The Shores will help with potential residents with that.
“We have the resources here to help,” Stewart explained. “It can be fast or as lengthy as people want it to be, based on apartment styles or choices. It all depends on the individual. Everything is personalized from the time you walk through the door.”
And when it comes to who calls the shots at United Methodist Communities at The Shores, Stewart said this, “As employees, we are guests. The residents are an integral part of their home.”
For more information visit www.theshores.umcommunities.org/ or call (609) 399-8505.