The transition can be jarring as the elderly enter different phases of the aging process, but that doesn’t have to be the case. At Lutheran Sunset Ministries, residents have a nearly seamless range of residential options as their medical needs change.
Sunset Companion Services provides in-home, non-medical assistance for persons aged 62 and above who need assistance to remain living at home. That includes light housekeeping and help with grooming, cooking, shopping and other routine needs.
Another option is to move to the ministries’ 32-acre campus overlooking the Bosque River Valley in Clifton, Texas. Independent living is available in the Rainbow Retirement Community, which consists of 54 apartments ranging in size from 520 square feet to 1,230 square feet. Services include housekeeping; security; transportation to shopping and medical appointments; cultural and social activities; an arts center; and a games parlor with piano.
Twenty-three units are available in College Hill Assisted Living apartments ranging up to 733 square feet. Residents take advantage of personalized service plans according to need, as well as nursing care, laundry service, three daily meals in a dining area and medication assistance.
There’s also a 32-bed Sales Family Hope Center that specializes in Alzheimer’s disease and other memory support; a 128-bed nursing home that accepts private pay, Medicare, Medicaid and long-term care insurance policies; and Hospice Sunset, which provides end-of-life services to people within 25 miles of Clifton.
“As people move from program to program, not only does the staff work together to make sure the transition is smooth, they are usually still on the campus, so they can still stay connected to their friends and the people they knew and hung out with,” says Andrea Hikel, the 64-year-old nonprofit organization’s Independent Living Manager. “The other nice thing is that if there are couples whose needs are different, they still have that bond and don’t have to be completely separated. They can see each other every day.”
Lutheran Sunset Ministries has a four-part philosophy for elder care that it calls Masterpiece Living. The components are:
- Physical, and
The ministries offers residents a vibrant social life with communal activities, such as visits to the arts center adjacent to the campus. Educational activities are available for intellectual stimulation such as the Lunch and Learn speaker series. Active seniors have plenty of opportunities to walk around in a setting filled with Hill Country natural beauty, including a park-like picnic area with pergola and putting green. And spiritual needs are met by a campus chaplain who holds services twice a week and provides personal counseling on request. The chapel is also available for off-campus pastors to minister to residents from other denominations.
The spiritual component is especially important for hospice patients.
“A lot of people view hospice as giving up,” Hikel says. “But actually, it’s just making the most of the time they have left.”