Frequently Asked Questions

Heartwood receives a large number of inquiries each year. Some of the more frequently asked questions are answered in this section. In all cases, please give us a call at 920-955-3131 if we may help clarify these answers or help you with any other needs.

What is a “CBRF?”

The term “CBRF” stands for Community Based Residential Facilities which are state-licensed group homes for five or more non-related adults. CBRFs provide assistance with daily living needs, safety and security, socialization, and companionship.

At Heartwood Senior Living we accomplish this in a comfortable atmosphere that promotes and enhances our residents’ independence.

What is assisted living or personal care and why might it be a better option than in-home care?

Home Health Care (in-home care) strives to provide a safe and healthy atmosphere for older adults, just as assisted living facilities try to provide. However assisted living facilities can also provide a number of things that are either difficult – or impossible – to provide, or are simply not provided, in a home healthcare setting, such as:

How is the care different in a memory care setting versus a traditional assisted living setting?

Generally speaking memory care facilities provide the same services found in assisted living facilities. Having said that, there are some additional services typically provided by memory care facilities:

  • Additional care and supervision
  • Assistance with daily living needs, such as bathing, housekeeping, moving around and doing laundry
  • Secured doors to prevent unwanted egress
  • Eating healthy food and ensuring that residents are eating

At Heartwood Senior Living, memory care is all we do. In addition to the “basics” of memory care services we also provide secured outdoor gardens and a flexible dining program to help maintain each resident’s appetite and good health by providing delicious, healthy food at times preferred by the resident, not the staff.

What makes Heartwood Senior Living a unique memory care facility?

The homes at Heartwood Senior Living were designed “from the ground up” to be the perfect memory care facilities in every way possible:

  • Purpose-built and purposefully designed buildings take into account the needs of our residents, their families and our caregiving staff.
  • Heartwood’s staff members are uniquely qualified to work with our residents. They are carefully selected, come well qualified on Day 1 of their employment, and then proceed to develop into the kinds of caregivers Heartwood is known for: Compassionate, experienced and well-trained individuals who are committed to Heartwood’s Guiding Principles
  • Memory care is all we do at Heartwood Senior Living and it shows in the quality of care we provide, the insights we’ve gained and pass along to others, and the relationships we build – both with our residents and with their families.
How does Heartwood Senior Living accommodate persons with memory impairment?

At Heartwood Senior Living our facilities were designed with memory care in mind. Every resident’s need and activity, every service Heartwood provides, and every action to be performed by Heartwood’s loving staff… is thoughtfully accommodated in our facility’s design.

Read more about Heartwood’s designs and other important differences.

How do I choose the right memory care setting for my loved one?

This question is so important we decided to write a blog post to explain the answers. See the article entitled “Memory Care Evaluation: What to Look For” for a more complete discussion.

Here’s the short answer:

  • Make sure the facility understands and specializes in memory care
  • Take a tour of the facility
  • Ask pointed questions
  • Find and read customer feedback
  • Understand the facility’s philosophy or mission
  • Do not feel pressured to act

At Heartwood Senior Living, memory care is all we do and we strive to be the best.

How do I apply to become a Heartwood resident?

If you are interested in memory care services and accommodations at Heartwood Senior Living, we have a simple procedure for you to follow.

Details can be found on our New Residents page.

How can I tell if an assisted living community provides person-directed care?

Generally speaking, you ask pointed questions that reveal each community’s understanding of, and commitment to, person-directed care. Here are a few important questions followed by hints as to what the answers should include:

  • Do you train your staff on how to provide person-directed care?

    The answer should include: “When we hire staff, our philosophy and practice of care are emphasized in their training. Staff members are evaluated on their ability to provide this level of care and attention.”

  • What types of recreational activities are offered?

    The answer should include: “In addition to scheduled activities, many of our activities are also spontaneous. Our staff members arrange activities with residents based on what the resident likes to do, not only during the day… but at night for those who are awake. We always have staff here in the evenings and on weekends to engage residents.”

  • What is the role of family members? Do you measure family satisfaction?

    The answer should include: “Family members are welcome to visit at any time, volunteer, and participate in our Family Council. Family members can speak to any member of our staff to discuss their loved one’s needs and preferences. Also, family opinions are important to us because we consider them part of the team. To ensure we’re on the same page, we measure family satisfaction.”

  • Do you have a rehabilitation team and access to therapists such as speech pathologists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists?

    The answer should include: “We have licensed therapists on staff and we facilitate working with outside therapists. We can provide one-to-one therapy and our therapists advise us on things such as how to change a room or bathroom to best meet individual needs and how to transfer a resident from chair to bed in the most comfortable way.”

What can our loved one expect during the first hours and days at Heartwood Senior Living?

Heartwood Senior Living is a person-directed memory care facility which means that new residents are introduced to:

  • Their new home surrounded by kind and loving people in comfortable surroundings
  • Heartwood’s staff members
  • An independent life where personal choice is honored
  • A fresh and flexible approach to dining
  • Bathing routines
  • Dressing routines
  • The choices available in activities
  • The gardens in springtime, summer and fall

Perhaps the most important thing of all is introducing staff members to the new resident and getting to know their personal preferences, likes and dislikes, and favorite things. These are the things that matter most.

Are we allowed to provide our own furnishings?

Yes, you are welcome to bring your own personal furnishings.

In fact, we encourage people to bring their own furnishings because this gives the individual a sense of ownership, to feel at home.

Do we have to provide our own furnishings?

No you don’t. Each room is furnished with a complete bedroom set, dresser and nightstand. The furniture was coordinated by interior decorators to match the decor of the building.

Each room has a spacious closet. And although these furnishings are included in the monthly rate, you are welcome to bring your own personal furnishings.

Does Heartwood have outdoor areas for residents to use?

The gardens at Heartwood Senior Living offer beautiful, peaceful spaces that include walking paths and safety gates for residents to enjoy. These outdoor spaces offer

  • Gated memory gardens
  • Pergolas
  • Winding paths
  • Perennial flowers, shrubs and trees that are native to Wisconsin
  • Native grasses
  • A selection of annual flowers in the spring and summer
  • A certified butterfly garden

Residents may enjoy time alone in the gardens but they are also welcome to share these private spaces with friends and family.

Can residents have a family get-together at Heartwood Senior Living?

Residents are welcome and encouraged to host family celebrations at Heartwood Senior Living.

In fact, your friends, card club or garden club may also hold their gatherings here. The staff will assist you in coordinating your plans and help to make your visit a successful one.

How does the dining program work? Are residents able to eat only at mealtimes?

Dining at Heartwood Senior Living provides fresh and nutritious foods, and flexible timelines to suit individual tastes and preferences. We know that people naturally choose eating times that work best for themselves and we accommodate this with our kitchen and staff.

Read more about our Fresh, Flexible and Nutritious Dining at Heartwood.

Will my loved one still be able to make independent choices about their daily activities?

Yes. In fact independence is a core part of our Guiding Principles at Heartwood:

“As a team, we believe in promoting a ‘person-centered’ model of care that guides our approach to treatment and support strategies… a world in which residents truly direct their own care and make their own choices about how they spend their time.”

We’ve found that dignity and independence go hand in hand to help our residents maintain high self-esteem and feel at home.

Are there restrictions on visiting hours?

No, there are no restrictions. Caregivers and family members are welcome to come at any time of the day or night to visit with their loved ones at Heartwood.

What approach does your facility have for treating challenging behaviors?

On occasion a resident may exhibit a challenging behavior such as:

  • Wandering off
  • Refusing to bathe
  • Becoming agitated

At Heartwood Senior Living, we start looking for causes and solutions by first asking a few questions of ourselves, such as:

  • What are the possible unmet needs of the resident that may be causing these behaviors?
  • How can staff members honor and respect the resident during these challenging situations?

All people – and therefore all challenges – are unique, however we look for patterns to try to determine if a new situation might be causing a resident to feel stress. What has changed in the resident’s life?

We take a kind and thoughtful approach with each resident in challenging times by acknowledging the situation and redirecting attention to more peaceful activities. This may not be the end of the challenge but it provides peace-of-mind to residents while we look for reasons for their behavior.

Will our loved one’s care be covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance?

Assisted living for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is primarily private pay or reimbursed by long-term care insurance. While Medicare or Medicaid alone does not cover assisted living care, Wisconsin does have a few innovative funding programs for financially qualified residents and these programs continue to expand across the state. Each county has a set of criteria and limited funds for these programs. Consult with the Heartwood Funding Liaison for specific information. Also see the Senior Care Services page in our Resources menu for additional information.

Although costs of assisted living and Alzheimer’s care are generally paid by residents or their families, there are also private long-term care insurance plans for assisted living that typically cover costs. Review your individual policy with your insurance provider. We are also happy to review the policy with you to see if our specialized services may be covered by your policy.

What utilities are included in the monthly service fee?

General utilities like water, heat, electricity and cable are included in the monthly rate.

And telephone lines are available to purchase for you and your loved one’s private use.

Are there any security systems?

At Heartwood Senior Living all exterior doors have alarms for your loved one’s safety and security. And, rather than using personal alarms, we use a delayed egress system at Heartwood and this is much more effective than alarmed doors.

Why don’t we use personal alarms? With personal alarms, staff members can become reliant on those signals to tell them when individuals have, for example, moved from one location to another. At Heartwood our culture is such that the staff get to know each individual. Not only does this provide a personal touch, it feels like the right thing to do.

Does Heartwood offer respite care (short term care)?

Heartwood Senior Living does indeed offer respite care and for a variety of reasons.

Caregivers need down time – even if only occasionally – in order to recharge their batteries, keep in touch with others and to take care of themselves. This results in a healthier perspective and more positive interactions with the caregiver’s loved one. The only way to rest and recharge with peace of mind is by enabling the loved one to stay in a safe and loving environment during this time.

For the loved one with dementia, respite care provides a chance to spend time with others who are going through some of their same challenges, enjoy the comfort and security of Heartwood’s loving environment and take part in activities that are well suited for them and inclusive of others.

Read more about Heartwood’s respite care program.

Does Heartwood offer hospice care?

Yes we do. Heartwood Senior Living offers end-of-life services and we also work with a number of hospice care organizations.

We offer on-site hospice care for those who suffer with one of the many types of dementia and who are near end-of-life. As with all of Heartwood’s services, residents live in a safe, compassionate environment where they can enjoy friends and family.

Caregivers also benefit from our hospice care. Heartwood offers grief counseling for caregivers and family members, and our respite care services are available to provide short-term relief for caregivers.

Does Heartwood offer palliative care?

Yes we do. See our Services and Accommodations page for a more complete list of Heartwood’s services.

What if a resident requires additional services that are not available at Heartwood Senior Living?

Additional services can be facilitated for our residents. For example, our staff members can arrange for…

  • Visiting physicians
  • Physical therapy
  • Podiatry
  • Hospice and palliative services
  • X-ray and lab work
  • …and dental visits.

See our section on services and accommodations. When other needs arise, staff members help with the arrangements to accommodate you.

Are pets allowed to visit and/or live in the facility?

Although none of our visiting pets and animals actually live at Heartwood, residents love to be around them. For this reason Heartwood brings in a variety of pets to be with our residents on a regular basis.

See our Services and Accommodations page for a more complete list of the services we offer at Heartwood Senior Living.

Do you have different spiritual/religious groups that come in for my loved one to worship with?

We do. Heartwood ensures that residents have regular church and prayer services at their disposal. Learn more about Heartwood’s complete list of Services and Accommodations.

Does Heartwood have any planned activities?

Yes we do. Activities and socialization are key to the happiness and well being of our residents. Our goal is to offer a comfortable amount of both of these things for each resident – based entirely on each individual’s needs.

There are planned trips weekly to locations of interest in the community. Activity staff members offer residents opportunities to participate in scheduled recreational, education, and wellness programs. See a sample of the activities we offer.

What types of training do staff members receive?

All staff members at Heartwood Senior Living are required to…

  • Start with a very good service record
  • Go through 24 hours of initial training before taking on any staff duties
  • Actively pursue double the normal number of continuing education hours each year

Our staff members’ credentials are impressive. Learn more about our staff training and selection processes at Heartwood.

How does Heartwood meet the special needs of people who have some type of memory loss? We educate our staff on how to best communicate with people with memory loss. Because we have consistent assignments, staff members know the residents well and can anticipate and meet their needs in flexible, creative ways. We also support and teach staff members how to problem-solve difficult situations and how to notice subtle changes in residents’ responses.

How does Heartwood choose and develop its caregiving staff?

Every staff member at Heartwood Senior Living is a highly qualified, compassionate caregiver with advanced training and a good service record before they even begin their service with Heartwood. Once hired, they are trained according to Heartwood’s Guiding Principles. Their hallmark is that of hardworking individuals who care deeply about the wellbeing of others.

Heartwood provides both individual and group training to help its caregiving staff stay up-to-date with advancements in memory care in particular, and in healthcare as a general rule. New hires at Heartwood receive 24 hours of training before their work even starts.

CBRF staff members are mandated to receive 12 hours of continuing education annually. In contrast, Heartwood Senior Living mandates 30 hours of continuing education annually.

All staff members are carefully screened, requiring a minimum of…

  • Employment reference checks
  • State background checks
  • Medicaid fraud check
What is your staff-to-resident ratio?

Heartwood Senior Living consistently provides the highest caregiver staff-to-resident ratios in the Fox Valley. The national average is 1 staff member for every 6 to 8 residents. At Heartwood that ratio is 1 staff member for every 5 residents and sometimes 1 staff member for every 4 residents. Why?

Because it is the quality of time we spend with our residents that makes the real difference. We train our staff members according to our Guiding Principles and use them to direct a higher level of care to our residents.