Saturday, October 22, 2011

Filing Cabinet for Seniors

My mother now lives in Rhode Island at the Phyllis Saperstein Tamarisk Residence.  Tuesday we sent the movers on their way.  Wednesday my sister met them at noon and spent the next 12 hours unpacking.

On Thursday I drove her 3 hours north east from Southbury, CT to Warwick, RI.  We were met at the entrance where my mother was invited in. My sister then appeared and took her upstairs to her new space.  Lev who also met us at the door, helped me unload my SUV, load a luggage cart and took the haul upstairs with me being greeted by the concierge and being shown upstairs as well.

Entering my mother's new apartment is a feast of light.
All of the furniture is from her condo in CT but my sister put it together in a such a way that it looks spacious, bright and welcoming.  

Her bedroom is calming with pinks and blue and whites.
Everyone who has visited remarks on how inviting it all looks
especially with her crystal collection glittering on a windowsill overlooking a rose garden.
The physical structure is relatively easy to describe.  The exterior is typical New England clapboard, extremely well maintained, as are all the rooms we visited.  On the ground floor we saw at least 2 rooms for music and community events, plus a wonderful library and sitting room.  They also have a van for almost daily shopping trips and other outside events.

The dining hall has wooden tables that are cloth covered for dinner.  Across from the dining room is a Tavern where you can purchase wine by the glass and next to it is the Bistro which always has free hot coffee, hot water, snacks and a fridge full of little milks of all kinds.   Oh and the majority of the residents are using walkers so aisles are wider than usual and there are 3 elevators to keep walking to a minimum.

We had 2 lunches and a dinner at Tamarisk.  At each meal someone came to take our order, recited the choices, re-recited the choices and then offered alternatives.  Portions can be made smaller or larger while diet sodas, fresh brewed iced tea and coffees are graciously brought out.  My mother had an egg salad sandwich that was delicious, delicately spiced, not a lot of mayo yet full of flavor.
Side salads are always available too.  At the first lunch my sister asked for a fried egg on toast, as she had read that breakfast food was always available, and received hers nice and hot with lovely toast (actually that is what she ate for both lunches) while I had ravioli and my mother had hers without sauce and we all had grilled fresh baby asparagus.  Oh did I tell you this place is kosher?  Yup.  At dinner my mother and I had chicken with dumplings while my sister had an egg salad sandwich.  All was brought to us with smiles and thoughtfulness.  People stopped by our table to greet and meet our mother and invite her to different happenings and let her know how they liked their residence.

One of the main things that makes this place so different from others is the atmosphere of caring and love.  All the people we met are not only polite but really care about the elderly without being condescending.  On my mother's first morning, she opened her door to get her paper, was greeted by a CNA and asked if she wanted help getting dressed.  The night before a CNA assisted her with a shower and getting ready for bed.  Staff is everywhere, always agreeable and gracious.

As we left Thursday evening we heard a wonderful jazz pianist playing in one of the community rooms with almost a full house audience.  Activities abound as do mah jongg games, canasta and bridge.  There are small areas on each floor with upholstered or leather furniture.  On the 3rd floor is the Brain room with a closet full of games and several computers.  On the 2nd is a TV room and sunrooms.  A massage therapist is available 3 days a week as is a hair stylist and manicurist.  A podiatrist visits every Friday and a nurse is always available.

Lev the Program Director, who has been involved since Tamarisk's inception 12 years ago, stopped by yesterday to take our mother's picture and just to chat.  After he found out that she has done lots of community service he invited her to a happening tomorrow afternoon involving URI freshmen and assisting the local poor.

This place is like a hotel but one that is personally invested in their clients.  I could move in tomorrow and be very satisfied.  Our mother has only called twice in 48 hours instead of 15 as is her norm as she is being not only well cared for but already getting involved in her new life and making new friends.  We left her yesterday walking over to a mah jongg game in the sunroom.


Linda said...

Your mom's apartment looks gorgeous! I could be very comfortable there, too! It's wonderful that you found a residence with such caring people; if only all senior citizen housing could be like that. Wishing you all peace and comfort.

Susan (and SmokeyBlue in spirit) said...

Thank you. Where my mother lived in CT, in an adult community, she had several friends who moved to nearby Assisted Living residences so is familiar with them. She is so blown away by the difference at Tamarisk.

Jody said...

That looks and sounds almost exactly like where my inlaws moved to last year, and they adore it! Lots to keep her busy, active, and involved... And people right there to notice that she's missing should anything happen.