The reason families consider assisted living for a loved one are as different as the unique needs, wants, and desires of each resident living at The Arbors. It’s a big decision — one that, unfortunately, many don’t plan for until they experience a crisis or an unplanned event that forces them to make last-minute care arrangements.
It’s never easy moving a parent (or both) out of the home that they’ve lived in for years regardless of if the family home has become too much to care for or is no longer safe. The value of seeing a parent grow and flourish in a senior living community is what most families consider to be invaluable.
If you’re considering assisted living, you’re probably wondering what it would be like to actually live in one. Here are three stories from Arbors residents and their families about what assisted living is really like.
It’s a Place to Come Home To
Marie Munger and her husband, Bob, spent 64 years together going on adventures, moving from Rhode Island to Texas for work — he a financial manager, she a med tech — and raising their daughter, Michelle.
When Bob passed in June 2018, Marie moved from Texas to The Reflections at The Ivy at Ellington to be closer to her daughter and son-in-law, Ken, who live nearby.
“I felt right at home right away,” Marie says. “I love my room. It’s a little apartment all my own.”
In Marie’s apartment, there are pictures of Bob on the walls and other keepsakes from the home they shared together, and Michelle and Ken helped hang curtains and decorate. “It’s a nice homey place,” Marie says.
A Friendly, Lovely Place
But she hardly spends any time in her room. In the month since Marie moved to The Ivy at Ellington, she’s become close with the other residents and staff members.
“The companionship is wonderful,” she says. “I made friends, and we do a lot of things together. Compared to some facilities I’ve been in, it’s more companionable. We have more to do with each other. At other places, there were cliques. Here, it’s been very friendly. It’s really a lovely place.”
It’s Where You Can Redefine Life After Loss
Moving to an assisted living community is an emotional time, from closing one chapter to moving on to a new part of life. Carole knows these feelings all too well. After taking care of her husband, Ray, the love of her life for 68 years, he passed away.
Quickly realizing that she wouldn’t be able to live on her own anymore, Carole moved into The Arbors at Dracut. Carole’s first couple of months living at the community were some of the hardest times of her life. “I was still grieving my husband’s death,” she says. “I spent a lot of time in my apartment.”
Slowly, she started opening up.
“I was here for about a month and a half and this man, Fred, was always sitting alone,” Carole recalls. “Fred always had a long face and sad eyes. And I went over to him one day with my cup of tea and asked him if he wanted some company. He said yes, so, I sat down, and we talked. I went back again the next morning and did this for three weeks. Finally, during the third week, he smiled. I told Fred: ‘You smiled! I want to see that smile all of the time.’”
Carole has become a social butterfly once again.
“I just love talking with everyone,” she says. “I am usually the last one eating or drinking my tea in the dining room. I’m involved now with everything. Living here has changed my life.”
It’s Where You Live Life Rather Than Wait Out Life
When both of Jane’s parents, Terry and Sharon, hit their 80s, their house in Buffalo, New York, became a lot to upkeep alone. As their health changed, Jane’s parents became more isolated in their upstate New York home.
Jane knew exactly what she wanted in an assisted living community for her parents. She was looking for a community that had strong values and a commitment to the residents. “Mission statements are a big deal for me,” she says.
The mission statement of The Arbors caught her attention:
“Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for our residents through genuine care and comfort. We are a locally owned family business that takes pride in welcoming our residents into the family.”
“The real deciding factor for me was when Marketing Director Bianca Syriac shared her philosophy on assisted living: ‘Moving to an assisted living is living life rather than waiting out life.’”
Healthy Meals, Friendships, and Independence
When Sharon was living at home, she had difficulty maintaining a healthy weight. Since she moved to The Arbors at Westfield, she now eats three healthy, balanced meals a day in the dining room.
“She’s not only getting the food she needs to nourish her body, but she also gets the social aspect, too, and has built many new friendships while enjoying meals,” Jane says.
“The Arbors has systems in place to help my parents maintain as much of their independence as possible rather than making them rely on staff,” she continues. “The staff see themselves as visitors in my parents’ home. They’re truly committed to the mission.”
Still have questions about what assisted living is really like? Download our eBook to learn about the ways assisted living has changed over the years, what a typical day in assisted living looks like today, the staff you’ll usually meet in assisted living facilities, and how assisted living actually feels like home.