Twins, 85, stick together in assisted living

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 From their childhood in the 1920’s to the present, Helen Nasdeo and Betty Crea have always been together– if not physically, then through that special connection that seems unique to twins.

“She could be far away and be sick,” says Mrs. Crea, “and I would know before she told me.”

Betty is the more vocal of the pair while Helen is more mobile, often pushing Betty in her wheelchair as they make their way from their shared apartment at The Worthington Assisted Living residence to the dining room, or from the TV room to the sunny parlor down the hall. Considering both have had broken hips in recent years– Helen broke her left hip, Betty her right– they seem to get along just fine.

“They are joined at the hip,” says Helen’s daughter, Sally Quaranta, with a grin, “their good hip.” Sally is a frequent visitor to The Worthington, in Brick, and made it her personal mission to make sure her mom had a soft landing in her new home in 2008 following some devastating events that altered the course of their lives.

In 2002, as a result of a gastro-intestinal bleed that went undiscovered for five days, Helen lost so much blood that she fell into a coma. She ended up in intensive care for four months and a nursing home for two.

“Betty was so upset,” remembers Sally. “It was a long time without her sister.”

Her recovery was slow but eventually she went home to her husband, Ed. Her failing memory proved to be a lot for him to handle, however, and the family began thinking about alternatives that would be best for everyone. Suddenly, in May of 2008, Ed Nasdeo died. Helen was now a widow. Sister Betty had lost her husband years earlier.

“Neither wanted to be alone,” recalls Sally. “Each was used to having a spouse, so being together was important.”

And so, one Sunday in May, 2008, Sally Quaranta visited The Worthington without an appointment, just to check it out.

“I explained the situation and immediately got a tour without even asking for one,” she says. “And I realized this was exactly what we needed.”

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