Help is always reassuringly, just a moment or two away at Monarch Landing. This is not lost on the residents and is cited as being a deciding factor for some moving into the community. Monarch Landing is in the unique and highly enviable position of having a round-the-clock security team, the members of which are also trained as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). What this means, is that there are always at least two professionals on-site, able to intervene immediately on a medical level in case of illness or injury.
Jim DiRienzo, a security officer/EMT for Monarch Landing, said that the team undergoes an intensive training program which requires ride along time on an ambulance and time in an emergency room. "We need to pass a state test," he said. "Additionally, we have continuing education each month on different medical topics."
DiRienzo said that serious incidents such as heart attacks or strokes can be quickly attended to and consequently, more likely to be reversed because of the EMTs' presence on the campus. "We can get vitals, assess medications, etc. before the fire department gets here which helps move things along," he said. "And since we're on staff here, we can encourage residents to get emergency help, even if they're a little hesitant to do so. If someone has chest pains, we can check on them right away and if there's a problem, can get them to the hospital whereas the average person living in his own home, is likely to delay for a while."
Furthermore, DiRienzo said, "We can sometimes even eliminate the need for someone to go to the hospital. For instance, if there's a diabetic emergency and the resident needs a little extra sugar, we can help with that."
"Sometimes, a resident will just want someone to talk to, even if they don't need medical assistance. They may call and say, 'I'm just not feeling like myself.' There may not be anything medically wrong, and we'll just spend a half an hour or so, visiting with them, smiling and laughing and joking. It's not uncommon, and sometimes it's all they need to feel better," DiRienzo said.
The team is also responsible for overseeing each apartment's security latch. "Every night, we set latches outside each apartment door at about midnight, and then check them mid-to-late morning the next day. When an apartment door opens, the latch falls, so when we check, we know the resident is awake and okay. If a latch hasn't fallen, we'll knock on the door to make sure the resident is okay. If someone is sick or has fallen, we're alerted to that fact right away, and can step in and help right away," DiRienzo said. "It's a really good security measure and residents appreciate it."
DiRienzo, who works part time with a fire department and has previously worked with a private ambulance service, said that he likes the ability to form relationships with the residents at Monarch Landing. "It's like I have 50 different grandmas that I can sit and talk with", he said. "And because I get to know them, I can tell right away if someone is not acting like him or herself or if there's something special they need. I know how they're supposed to be and I can get help if they need it."
Although highly trained as EMT's the security team members are also jacks of all trades. When the rest of the staff goes home at 5 p.m., the team finds itself helping with minor maintenance issues. "We're here 24 hours a day and no one else is, so during the off hours, we're the go-to team for things like changing light bulbs, cleaning things up, whatever a resident needs," said DiRienzo. "It all comes with the territory and we're happy to be able to help."
Monarch Landing is a Life Plan Community located on a scenic campus in Naperville, Illinois-named "one of America's best places to live and retire" by Modern Maturity, and "the best city for early retirement" by Kiplinger. Monarch Landing offers independent living, promoting a vibrant life style for active seniors. The Springs at Monarch Landing offers assisted living memory support, enriched living, respite, rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, thus providing complete continuing care for seniors. Monarch Landing is owned by Senior Care Development and managed by Life Care Services. For additional information visit www.WelcomeToMonarchLanding.com or www.TheSpringsatMonarchLanding.com.