Keeping the Team Together in Hospice Care

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elder couple in hospice careNobody can accuse Thomas Knott of having a lack of passion or enthusiasm, especially when the discussion centers on his wife, their jobs or his dogs! When it comes to accusations, however, this couple was on the other end of them most of the time, as they both had long and interesting careers in law enforcement.

When Mr. Knott, who is known by the staff at Morningside House in Ellicott City as “Mr. Tom,” starts talking about life with his beloved wife, Mary Jean, and their adventures, people soon realize that they are in the presence of a couple whose life could easily be the subject of a Hollywood movie!

Mary Jean operated undercover and was a known and respected administrator of polygraph, lie detection and interrogation. Tom was a renowned police dog trainer and administrator. His expertise was even called on from programs around the world.

Training dogs was part of Tom’s job, but it also became the couple’s passion in their leisure time. Over the years, they trained and raised many dogs and won countless awards at dog shows throughout the country.

The couple met while roller skating in New York in their early 20s. They both taught roller skating lessons and participated in competitions. This was the beginning of a long successful marriage and partnership as the couple enthusiastically shared a variety of interests, hobbies and vocations. The Knotts moved to Baltimore early in their marriage and eventually settled in a beautiful home on eight acres near Morningside House.

Down the road, Mary Jean’s health took a turn and, to complicate matters, Tom was facing some health challenges as well. As opposed to leaving their beloved home, the couple hired home care assistance, but their experience was not a good one. They fell prey to poor care, unreliable help and worst of all, fraud and crime.

“It was frustrating and frightening, and I was really concerned about Mary Jean,” said Tom.

Fortunately, the couple’s physician took a keen interest in their well-being. With the assistance of his wife, he began to investigate better available options and helped the Knotts select Morningside House, an assisted living and dementia care provider.

“This type of situation is what makes my job so rewarding. Mr. Tom and Miss Mary Jean were in a very unsafe environment and to have assisted their physician’s wife in the move to Morningside was as fulfilling as it gets,” says Alan LeMay, Director of Marketing. “Knowing they are in a secure environment where people care about them makes every day better. This is the perfect example of how essential it is for seniors to be aware of all the options available to them in the community and how it affects their quality of life.”

Since their move, the couple has been free of any home maintenance with the community’s range of amenities including housekeeping, linen and laundry services. Morningside House also offers scheduled transportation, three daily restaurant-style meals and a 24-hour emergency call system that provides peace of mind for the Knotts and their fellow residents.

Individuals also have several opportunities for socializing with elegant common areas, weekly trips and private dining areas for family gatherings.

For the Knotts in particular, it was also an ideal location since the community’s close proximity to their large estate still enables Tom to return frequently to get his photos, books and memorabilia. Having so many apartment style choices made it easy for the Knotts to choose a spacious one-bedroom apartment overlooking the courtyard that would accommodate all of their favorite memorabilia and comforts of their home.

With the goal of creating a win-win situation for all residents, Morningside’s fundamental philosophy of keeping couples together despite their different care level needs made the transition and experience for the Knotts a very good one.

Although this convenience along with the location and services of Morningside House have been a perk for Tom, it is the care of the community that has had a true impact for him and his wife.

“The difference is dramatic; Mary Jean is eating and talking more,” said Tom.

For Tom, the advantage is obvious, as he gets to spend all of his time enjoying Mary Jean, whom he refers to as “the other half of the team,” instead of worrying if she is receiving the appropriate care or taking on the caregiving role himself.

Like the Knotts, residents of the community have a great sense of security knowing a range of levels of care are available. This also includes independent living, respite care, coordinated hospice care and on-site rehabilitation.

Now, after finding a home that could provide the optimum care and a range of amenities, it is impossible to accuse this couple of not making the best decision for a relaxing and secure future.

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