A Wonderful Place to Live: Independent Living Communities

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As a Washington, D.C. native, Caroline Boston was the youngest, and is now the remaining survivor, of the 10 children in her family.
“I came from a very hardworking family; my mother sacrificed everything for her children,” she said.

Recounting the changes in D.C. over the years, she said, “I grew up with a school right down the block, but I had to walk seven blocks to school because we were segregated. The city was definitely divided by race and class.”

Over the years, Caroline worked as a secretary at the University of the District of Columbia and has enjoyed sewing, art and music.

Now a resident of Friendship Terrace, an independent living community in Northwest D.C., she said, “I never dreamed I would live in a place like this, I grew up in the slums of Southwest D.C.”

She was already familiar with the community, having shopped at its local supermarket many times. “We used to come here because at the time it was a white neighborhood, and we figured we would get better groceries here. I remember passing by this very building and saying to myself, ‘Gee, I would like to live in that building,'” she said.

One day, Caroline noticed an Open House sign in front of the building and decided to take a look. She was invited to fill out an application, but thought she would never hear back. Within a month, however, her application was accepted. “It is one of the best things to ever happen to me,” she said.

It was especially important for Caroline, having taken care of her mother and siblings, that her two daughters did not assume the caregiver role sooner than necessary. Aside from being within walking distance of her basic needs and the Metro, the community is also near her daughters.

Having lived in Friendship Terrace for nine years now, she said everyone feels like family, including the caring staff. She has made many friendships and takes advantage of as many activities as she can, such as exercise classes, discussion groups and other social gatherings.

“It’s so interesting to sit at dinner and just listen to people’s stories,” she said. “They have done so many things that I never been privileged to do. Living here has really contributed to my growth, my confidence level is higher, and I understand the differences in people.”

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