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Deaf-Friendly Assisted Living Companies Located!

December 15, 2011


Phoenix, Arizona — Arizona Deaf Senior Citizens Coalition (ADSCC)'s Assisted Living Committee is finding a much more positive response to serving Deaf Seniors than anticipated. Two agencies are interested in providing in home services and setting up Assisted Living Houses for 3-5 Deaf seniors each. They are RISE (non-profit) and Tungland Corporation (for profit).


Committee members met with each of these organizations and explained the need to Banish Extreme Loneliness for the seniors moved to family that do not sign or to Assisted Living facilities with staff that does not sign. It is equivalent to solitary confinement for life - a terrible fate.


Our deaf seniors do not fall into this category, of course, as many have high level university degrees. Our seniors need to be with people who enjoy stimulating conversation in our signed language.


At RISE, we met with Assistant Regional Director - Residential Jeanne Anastasopoulos and Team Lead Carrie Chisnell, who is deaf. They told us RISE typically has 20-24 deaf staff managing and staffing three deaf houses. They would be pleased to expand this service to Deaf seniors and can locate new homes of 3-5 people as may be logical. Near Apache ASL Trails being a likely location. They can also serve people in their own homes. They can help people needing only a few Assisted Living services to bedridden people.


At Tungland Corporation's home office in Phoenix, we met with Assistant Director - Quality Management Heidi Trelease and Executive Coordinator in Quality Management Melissa

Ells. They had not personally worked with deaf people though they have two "deaf houses". We explained the need for fluent communication - not having staff "willing to learn sign language". We said it is the difference between only being told "time for bed" and "time for dinner" and being able to explain "I woke up at 3am with pain in my back and neck that radiates to . . . ." The first limited conversation is dangerous when applied to a medical need. The second fluid communication is needed for us to recommend a facility.


Tungland and RISE want to develop the ability to serve deaf seniors and look forward to being contacted by individuals and families that want Assisted Living for their deaf loved ones. ADSCC's committee is happy to inform the community about these two agencies and others as they become known to us. We will not be monitoring them because government agencies monitor them.


Our committee will be meeting with Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and Foundations in Senior Living (FSL) who work with families and individuals to evaluate their needs, wants, and financial ability to pay. As we understand, none of these services are free. There are ways to manage cost. Planning ahead is essential.


Each Deaf individual should think about what kind of environment they will want, if they can no longer care for themselves. Then save for or buy insurance to cover the costs BEFORE needed. Communicate wants to family . . . specifically the emergency contact listed in your wallet. If they don't know what is wanted, they will make their best guess. It may not be what is wanted at all.

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