When researching a senior living community for yourself or a loved one, it’s all about finding the right place at the right time. Understanding the difference between options like independent and assisted living will help you determine what’s right for you and help you decide where you will live your best life.
Here are three ways independent and assisted living differ.
Independent senior living communities focus first and foremost on serving the social needs of senior residents, with central communal areas, recreational programming and adjunct support services to address minor needs.
You’ve been with Hebrew SeniorLife for several years. Can you share a little about your background and your career at HSL?
I came to Boston from Spain on a Fulbright scholarship to do a masters-level viola performance degree at New England Conservatory. In Boston, I discovered the incredible world of music therapy and the field fascinated me. I found that the combination of science and art was a calling and a home for me in a way I never experienced as a performer or teacher. I then earned a second master’s degree in expressive art therapy at Lesley University and became a licensed mental health counselor.
Matthew Hollingshead recently joined Hebrew SeniorLife as the executive director of Assisted Living and Memory Care at NewBridge on the Charles. His energetic, resident-centric approach and skill in leading large teams is already making a difference in the lives of our residents. I recently spoke to Matt about the rewards and challenges of his work.
Whether it’s a fall, a wandering episode, death of spouse, or loss of a dependable caregiver, too many families find themselves making decisions about assisted living in “crisis mode.” Up until turning points like these, there is often some level of denial about the possibility that a more supportive living environment could someday be needed. Yet beginning a search for assisted living at such a moment is far from ideal. Any preparation you can do in advance is a gift you provide for your family, whether planning for yourself or for a loved one’s potential future needs.
I recently sat down with Bill Taube whose mother, Esther, blossomed as a patient 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.
As we blogged about in July, the NewBridge on the Charles culinary team operates its own garden on campus dedicated to supplementing our kitchens’ “farm to fork” offerings with fresh vegetables, lettuces and herbs. Executive Chef Eileen O'Donoghue recently spent a few moments with a member of the HSL blog team to review the season’s successes and highlight the bounty of our fall harvest.