Witnessing Changes in her Home

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In 1992, when Nell Johnson served on the Board of Directors for Friends House Retirement Community, walkers and wheelchairs were not allowed in the independent living areas. Today, Nell is thankful that she is able to use her walker to help her when she walks from her independent apartment to the dining room and to other areas of the campus, located in Sandy Spring, Md.

As a Board member, Nell thought it was inevitable that she would someday live at the community. Having grown up in the Sandy Spring area and being a Quaker, it was her obvious choice for where to spend her future years. “I knew there was a great group of people here and that I would learn a lot more about them,” she said.

Another convenient factor was having three of her five children and their families living in the immediate area.

After making her transition to Friends House in 2002, she did not hesitate to get involved and enjoy the activities her new home had to offer. From performing skits to taking advantage of learning opportunities and celebrating group birthdays, Nell was active as ever.

Two years later, Nell had a hip replacement and the procedure required a rehabilitative stay in the community’s Health Care unit. After she was able to return to her independent living unit, the therapist came directly to her apartment for physical therapy treatments.

Nell recalls the convenience of this therapy program. “The therapist could just walk across the courtyard to my apartment, which made it so much easier for me,” she said. Nell believes that the attitude of the therapists was what helped her achieve her good results.

Two years after the hip replacement, Nell suffered a broken hip. She again went through the rehabilitation process and returned to her independent apartment. When asked about her incentive to heal and return home, Nell said “I had to get home to my cat!”

Though Nell is not as active as she used to be, she still enjoys those birthday pizza parties and listening to the choral group at the community. As she is quite content in her apartment with Pumpkin, her constant companion, Nell remains grateful that policies have changed since she was a Board member. These policies have now allowed residents like her to stay in independent living even when they become a little frailer and need the assistance of a walker.

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