From Island to Assisted Living

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Making the move to assisted living can be an emotional time for your senior parent. They may fear the unknown of living in an unfamiliar place, leaving behind a place they called home for many years. It may take quite a bit of convincing from you and your siblings, and after several conversation and acknowledgement they know it’s best for them, your mom or dad may still be hesitant to pack their belongings and move. Helen, a resident at The Arbors at Dracut, knows these feelings all too well.

Helen lived in an independent living community on an island near Portland, Maine.  “You had to take a 15-minute ferry ride  to get there. But, it was only three miles.”

At the age of 91, Helen enjoyed living on the island. “We had our own little town complete with a school, supermarket, a couple of churches, a library, police department. We had it all.”

But her health started to decline and being far away from family members was making it difficult for her to live on her own any longer. Helen suffered from sciatica, a condition that causes tingling, numbness and weakness in the lower back and travels down the sciatic nerve in the back of the legs. “I was getting to a point where I couldn’t really do a lot of the tings I had been doing. I was restricted because of the pain. And I couldn’t really get to the store too well.”

Helen’s two daughters lived in close proximity to The Arbors at Dracut. “My daughter visited the place and just fell in love with it. She called me and said, ‘mom, you have to move here, you’ll love it,’” says Helen.

A Family Decision

While Helen’s daughter was enthusiastic about finding The Arbors at Dracut, it wasn’t just her decision to make.

“After talking with my daughter about moving, the rest of my family came on the tour, too. My other daughter who lives in Wakefield, her husband – even my grandson and his wife. They all agreed that this was the right place for me,” says Helen.

Even though the whole family, including Helen, decided moving to The Arbors at Dracut was the right decision, she told them she would move in June 2018. Helen’s family didn’t want her stranded out on the island over the long winter months, so she agreed to move in November 2017.

“Living here is very pleasant. I didn’t have high expectations, and this has turned into a wonderful experience. When I talk with my friends on the phone, they still ask me if I am happy. I tell them, I am happier. Every day gets better,” says Helen.

She previously lived in an independent living community where she would try and gather other residents together, but they just didn’t want to. “I was used to being alone, so that’s why I wasn’t expecting much when I moved in,” says Helen.

Helen is no longer alone, spending her time participating in a variety of activities during the day. From daily cribbage matches, exercise class every morning and bingo, her days fill up quickly.

“If you want to do things, they’re here for you to do. Today we did arts and crafts (mine isn’t any good, so I won’t show you). If you want to stay active, you can. On the days I want some quiet time, I listen to audio books in my room. And I could do that all of the time if I wanted to, but I don’t. I enjoy being around others,” says Helen.

Living in a new environment, especially for senior adults, can be a difficult transition. But when you have an open mind and there are programs and activities to help meet others, it’s a chance to start a new chapter of life.

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    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

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