A Family Overcomes the Odds, Resides in Assisted Living

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elder couple in assisted living after overcoming the oddsMaking the transition to a community can often separate a family, especially if there are differences in age and ability. The Pardees are the exception and a gleaming example of how a family can make transitions amongst what most would call insurmountable odds to create a home at Brighton Gardens of Tuckerman Lane in Bethesda, Md. that meets everyone’s needs.

A war veteran, Arthur Pardee met his wife Mary when they were attending Georgetown University. He went on to work for the Department of State and National Science Foundation while they raised their four children.

Their daughter, Katherine “Kit” Pardee, graduated from University of Maryland and went to work for Merrill Lynch. In 1981, Kit was involved in a head-on collision with a drunk driver causing her to be paralyzed from the neck down and hospitalized for a year.

Able to return to work, she opted for law school and graduated with honors to begin her current career with the American Academy of Actuaries. In 2002, history was nearly repeated when a bus broadsided a cab she was in, causing her to be out of work for over six months.

Knowing that the necessary support for Kit would come from them or in a nursing home, Arthur and Mary bought rambler on Cape Cod with elements of Universal Design, but Kit surprised them by returning to school and work.

“A problem that gnawed at me for 28 years was who was going to step up and take care of Kit when we were no longer able to,” said Arthur. The family home was never optimal for Kit and while remodeling would be difficult, Arthur and Mary’s own health issues presented a challenge. Keeping the family together looked bleak as Kit contacted over 30 communities and was repeatedly told that only her parents could live there.

Brighton Gardens at Tuckerman offered relief as the only place that would accommodate all of them and has turned out to be a great setting for the Pardees. “By reducing our stress and burdens, this community has added years to my life,” said Arthur. The community has offered them tremendous opportunities for social interaction with others while keeping them together. Additionally, Kit’s sister now works part time at Brighton Gardens utilizing her theatre background and connections to contribute to a “purpose-based” activities program at the community.

Both Kit and Arthur urge others to plan and make a move as early as possible. According to Kit, “My family stepped up to help me achieve every goal I set for myself and I knew that there was nothing we couldn’t do working as a team.”

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