I recently sat down with Bill Taube whose mother, Esther, blossomed as a resident at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Dedham (HRC Dedham). Bill’s mother moved to HRC Dedham three years earlier and was at the time, “Angry at the world and depressed.”
Before moving to HRC Dedham, she was so depressed that she would not even visit the hairdresser, a long held Saturday morning ritual. Bill was concerned that perhaps his mother would not adjust well to a move and grow only more despondent. Carol Westheimer, Esther’s geriatric care manager, pushed for the change and recommended HRC Dedham as a good match. “Carol was right,” says Bill.
Bill started to notice big changes after his mother’s move. Esther was spending more time in the community. She was getting involved in programs, participating in exercise classes. “The last time she did any kind of exercise was when she was in the Navy, during WWII,” says Bill. Over time Esther made lots of friends, including both residents and staff. She often sat with her peers and enjoyed meal times. She was happy and had established a daily routine that she looked forward to.
Since Bill lived in the area he would visit his Mom on a regular basis. “Her new saying to everyone who would listen was, ‘If you have to live in a place like this, this is the best place to live.’”
“When friends asked how Mom was doing, I would say, ‘The top is down on the car, we are on cruise control headed west and I do not know where it is going.’ This was my way of saying mom was enjoying the ride.”
It wasn’t just Esther’s burgeoning social life that put Bill at ease with his mother’s new living situation. One of the benefits of long-term care is the level of attention given when it comes to meeting health care needs of residents—both mental and physical. Bill remains grateful to the staff at HRC Dedham for the way they brought his mother out of her shell and forged a lasting relationship with her. It was one of the reasons he wished to speak with me for this blog post.
“Staff were always there for Mom. From the very beginning they gently encouraged her to try new things. On one visit I had to wait for her to finish an activity. She wouldn’t leave her group till the end. That told me how involved she actually became in the community.”
Even in times of poor health, Esther’s spirits remained high, in part because staff were able to meet her medical needs swiftly and comprehensively.
“During a brief hospital stay I met wonderful staff at Beth Israel Hospital in Needham and on the post-acute unit at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center,” Bill mentions. “Everyone was superb. Her aides spoke fondly of her. I think they really loved my mother.”
Esther Taube passed away in September 2015. In her last week of life, Bill and his brother had the opportunity to meet with Rabbi Karen Landy, a chaplain at HRC Dedham and the HRC Dedham hospice care team. Bill describes this time as, “a time of healing for all of us.”
Bill has wonderful memories of the compassionate and caring staff and the times he shared meals with his mother, friends in her community and other residents. “It was a great place for Mom and it was a wonderful place as a family member,” recalls Bill. “The staff truly cared for my Mom. My question to this day is, ‘Why didn’t she move to Hebrew Rehab sooner?’”
Bill continues his relationship with Hebrew Rehabilitation Center as an active member of the Family Advisory Council, where he shares his experiences with other family members in similar situations.