John and Christine Farrell knew that they would one day be caregivers for their moms, but they weren’t expecting to provide care for John’s Aunt Margaret. However, deaths in the family left Margaret with no one to care for her, and John was her closest next of kin. So the husband and wife took her into their home.
For a few months, Margaret lived with the Farrells, but they felt like they weren’t able to provide her with what she really needed.
“She needed interaction with people during the day,” John says. “We both work, so we couldn’t provide that for her. To be left alone all day was just making things worse for her.”
A health crisis brought Margaret to the hospital, and that’s when the Farrells knew something had to change. “We could have modified our house if she was in a different place, but she really needed the interaction of other people,” John says.
Like many families, the Farrells hadn’t done any research into assisted living communities before Margaret’s hospital stay.
“It was an emergency situation,” Christine says. “We didn't have time to go looking. She was being discharged from the hospital, and she couldn't come back to our home.”
Fortunately, the Farrells had heard through some friends about The Arbors at Westfield. “They had nothing but good things to say,” John says. “Plus, I work three buildings away from where the community is.”
The glowing reviews were all the Farrells needed to call The Arbors. When they reached Marketing Director Alicia Dessereau, they knew they were in good hands.
“Alicia walked us through everything,” Christine says. “We hadn’t done any research, so we didn’t know anything about anything. She walked us through step by step. She kept saying she’d tell us everything we need to know. It was a great relief.”
Another reason The Arbors felt like the right fit to the Farrells is that the community offers assisted living and memory care. Although Margaret has dementia, she doesn’t need memory care quite yet. But when the time comes, The Arbors can accommodate her changing needs.
Margaret moved into a short-term stay apartment at The Arbors at Westfield while the Farrells were getting the financial paperwork in place. Once everything was in order, she moved into an assisted living apartment.
“The community is awesome,” John says. “All the staff, from the director on down, know our names. Margaret’s only been there a few weeks, but when she walks in, the residents and staff call her by name. She says, ‘Oh, I’m home.’ It’s a welcoming environment.”
Through caring for Aunt Margaret, John and Christine learned a lot about assisted living, which will come in handy as their own moms continue to age.
“I learned that assisted living is a really nice place,” Christine says. “I mean, the idea you have in the back of your mind of putting your parent in a home ... it wasn’t what I had envisioned. The Arbors is like a home. I said jokingly to John, ‘If Margaret doesn’t like it here, I’ll stay.’”
John adds: “Three square meals a day and entertainment! It’s really nice.”
If you’re looking for more guidance on which community is the best choice for your elderly loved one, download How to Choose the Right Assisted Living Community.