Assisted Living: Two of a Kind
With a world full of possibilities, people never know who they might meet and just how many others are experiencing similar situations in life. This is the case for Dorothy Weinstein and Patricia Enid Rose Low. While Dorothy lives in Woodholme Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care Community in the heart of Pikesville, Patricia resides at Symphony Manor, an Assisted Living and Memory Care Community located in the historic downtown neighborhood of Roland Park.
Since both communities are managed by Peregrine Health Management, these two women are able to enjoy the benefits of the organization’s visionary programs and mission to revolutionize expectations for the aging process. Dorothy and Patricia met for the first time at this interview, and after only a few minutes of chatting it was clear they were “two of a kind,” as Patricia stated. “There are a lot of things that we have in common.” Most notably it is their warm demeanor and the fact that both women had cared for their family members as they needed assistance themselves.
A great-grandmother to seven, Dorothy Weinstein is a lifelong resident of Baltimore. She enjoyed over 64 years of marriage to her husband. After he passed away, Dorothy decided to leave the family home of 29 years and downsize to an apartment with the help of her children.
When to Make the Move to Assisted Living
When Dorothy’s son became sick, she naturally rallied to care for him, but as his condition worsened, he needed the skilled care of an assisted living facility. Dorothy decided to move in with him. “Everyone thought I was out of my mind,”she said.
Having learned about Woodholme Gardens as it was being built, Dorothy and her son were able to move in to the community a few months later. She said, “It was brand new, so we were among the first residents to move in.”
Built in 2010, the community offers state-of-the-art accommodations for 80 residents addressing the needs of all assisted living residents including those with memory impairment and senior behavioral concerns. The community has embraced the philosophy of encouraging each resident to identify new goals or renew old interests so that they continue to grow physically, intellectually and spiritually. Woodholme Gardens provides support for each resident’s religious expression, whether it is through sacred ritual, meditation, scriptural reflection or prayer.
These and other features have been extra perks for Dorothy, who was impressed from the start with the community’s appearance. “It’s a lovely place, just beautiful,” she said. “I don’t ever intend to move.”
Patricia Enid Rose Low was born and raised in Bermuda. She credited the small, beautiful community in which she grew up for her outgoing personality, friendliness and warmth. “Some people have cats that they love, others have dogs that they love, I enjoy people,” she said with a smile. “So I am a people person.”
Patricia left Bermuda to attend college in Baltimore at Morgan State University and proceeded to teach chemistry, math and physics there for several years. She shared that she particularly enjoyed teaching young women who thought that they could not learn math and physics or excel in those disciplines. “My great joy was the students, not the meetings,” she said.
Like Dorothy, Patricia was called upon to help care for her relatives. In 1993 she returned to Bermuda to care for her father and aunt who were in their eighties. After the passing of both her father and sister, she spent some brief time back in Baltimore and then decided to live in Asheville, NC for a few years. Her many connections in Baltimore, however, led her to the decision to eventually move back.
What to Look for in Senior Housing
With their mother in good health, Patricia’s son and daughter did some research on potential new living options that would enable her to have a future with security. “There were very specific things that I wanted,” she said. “I wanted activities, I wanted to be in a beautiful place, and I wanted very delightful food because I was not going to be doing any cooking. I just wanted to enjoy life.”
Her children discovered these features and much more at Symphony Manor, where Patricia also became one of the first residents and has certainly been enjoying life. “I am very happy here,” she said.
Both women cite the array of activities and the amenities that have allowed them a maintenance-free lifestyle as the most important elements in their new homes. Peregrine Communities are committed to establishing programs that are separate from the status quo. “We have a wonderful activities director at Symphony Manor who has us doing different things all the time,” said Patricia.
Enjoying an Active Lifestyle in Assisted Living Facilities
According to Dorothy, Woodholme has regular entertainment, from a talented musician playing on the community’s grand piano to different theme parties. As both women have enjoyed establishing friendships and taking advantage of the numerous activities their communities offer onsite, they appreciate the transportation each place provides to various restaurants, shopping and other local cultural offerings.
“The environment at Symphony Manor is very nice and I like the proximity that this area of Baltimore has to so many places of interest,” said Patricia.
Meanwhile, Dorothy has loved the surprises she experiences regularly when venturing offsite. “Every Wednesday, the young man who drives us will take us out for a surprise ride on the bus and will stop for different things, such as ice cream,” she said.
Both communities have also adapted cutting edge programs for stimulating long-term memory. These include memory arts for dementia residents, Community Connections, and, complementary therapies such as massages, drum circles, Reiki and music therapy.
Although Patricia and Dorothy have family and friends nearby, their communities have embraced technology to keep residents connected by utilizing web cameras to facilitate communications between residents and their families and friends.
Specialized Programs in Senior Housing
Woodholme Gardens also features Peregrine Health Management’s innovative programming in Geri-Psych. This geriatric behavioral health program was successfully developed in 2004 based on findings that mental health professionals and family members alike prefer a residential setting to meet the needs of seniors with behavioral health disorders.
Stephen Bowman, the president of Peregrine Health Management, believes that residents who live in their facilities are individuals who are full of life, with unique pasts and particular interests. “Our goal is to enhance their lives by stimulating those interests and encouraging them to continue to grow both mentally and spiritually…. celebrating life!” he said.
And Dorothy and Patricia feel fortunate in having so many reasons to celebrate life having found homes that provide them with the support and security they desired.
“The hardest part of getting older is that you no longer have anyone older or wiser than yourself to whom you can ask questions — no mother to ask, no father,” said Dorothy.
For both these women, as Patricia has always believed in life, things truly fell into place. As individuals who in the past made the commitment to care for others, they have come full circle now living in places that have made the same commitment to them.