By far the most difficult journey I have ever traveled was deciding where to place my amazing, kind, and wonderful mother who at the age of 90 was still functioning relatively well.
Unlike many 90 year olds, my mother was doing relatively well. She balanced her checkbook to the penny, did her own meds, went on Facebook every day, and was facile on the computer. She could take care of her own needs for the most part. In spite of all of the above, I started to see subtle changes that began after a fall. Mom had developed a serious balance problem in addition to having a heart condition.
The Hard Decision to Move to Assisted Living
Like so many, my brother and I tried to care for her for almost eight years and did so rather well. More and more I felt that I could not leave her alone for any period of time. Very wisely, I decided to go see Neville Place Assisted Living Community on the recommendation of former staff people, as well as friends who had placed their own family members there.
Although at the time neither Mom nor me were ready for this transition, I very smartly put her name on their list and eventually brought Mom for a tour. Less than a year later, Mom became a resident at Neville Place and it was there that she spent the last two years of her life.
Mom’s “Next Chapter”
At Neville, Mom found a peer group that she could relate to and enjoy both at meals and during social events. It gave her a whole new arena and was in some ways a restart to her life since she had been a widow for almost eight years and I realized was probably quite lonely for her age level peers. I remember her telling me less than six months after she got there, how wonderful Neville was and that she was really quite happy there.
For the first time in her life, Mom experienced the gift of massage and even took Japanese calligraphy lessons. Only months before her death, Mom told me that the Neville community was like her life growing up in the Bronx where everyone cared about each other and checked in with one another to see how they were doing. In every way, it had become her home away from home.
Are these easy decisions and easy transitions? Not at all, but they are necessary. I cried the first night I left my Mom at Neville. She, on the other hand, was totally ready for the “Next Chapter” of her life.
Discovering Neville Place Assisted Living
Neville Place is a small assisted living and memory support community in Cambridge, MA. There is also a separate rehab and nursing home component on the same campus. The people who work there are caring, wonderful people, and because it is comparatively small in size, the residents get to know all the staff and there is a great deal of interaction between staff and residents. The rooms are nicely sized and are updated as each new resident moves in. The caregiving staff really and truly care about the residents and work hard to please what can be a very difficult population due to various changes that can occur in anyone as they age.
A Great Environment for Mom
The residents themselves are also wonderful and have had interesting experiences in their own lives that are shared at meals, social gatherings, or perhaps by simply catching some fresh air on one of the benches.
Although it is located on a busy street, the main building is set back off the road and abuts the bucolic Fresh Pond where families can have a stroll. Meals are well-prepared and meet the variety of dietary needs that each resident brings along with them. One has to keep in mind that they are trying to please a very large number of residents, all of whom have different culinary preferences.
Those who serve these residents are extremely patient and very kind and take a personal interest in each individual; something I find quite remarkable. I no longer have the gift of my amazing mother but I do have the gift of knowing that I found a wonderful place for her to spend her remaining years with interesting and caring residents and an amazing staff.
Neville Place was the only place I looked at due to the high recommendation it received and I am certainly glad I chose it. They truly care about everyone there; most especially my amazing mom.
This post was contributed by Mary Mahony, daughter of a resident at Neville Place at Fresh Pond, an Assisted Living community managed by Senior Living Residences, sponsors of the AgeRight.org Blog.