Assisted Living: Strong Ties

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Women in assistance living“Mom never looks back. She always looks forward,” said Larry Conley when referring to his mother, Mildred Joyce Conley, also known as ‘MJ.’ He continued, “She has said many times that life is enjoyed depending upon one’s attitude.” It is clear that her positive attitude, loving son and a network of friendships has enabled her to continue enjoying a purposeful life.

With a longtime legacy in Rockville, Md., MJ lived in the same home for nearly 55 years and is now happily residing less than five miles away at The Village at Rockville, A National Lutheran Community with its own reputable history of providing continuing care.

In 1948, she married John Conley who was in the OSS during the war and one of the “first 400″ when the CIA was formed. Meanwhile, MJ worked in the Pentagon and held status in the Main Navy for many years.A photo of her with other Navy Waves has actually appeared in a PBS program titled “Breaking the Code.”

After leaving military service, she received a call from Larry’s school asking if she would consider helping as a secretary. Since the school was walking distance to their house and would allow her school vacation days off, she decided to try it, and for the next 18 years, she enjoyed establishing a vast network of friends and connections.

Following her husband’s passing, MJ continued to live in the family home.Larry helped modify her home and arranged an account with a local cab company while long-time neighbor and friend Margaret Hoppman offered MJ rides and accompanied her to appointments.

When MJ had a fall that landed her in the hospital, it precipitated the need to look at other options.”In one day you go from being completely independent to needing more assistance,” said Larry.Since he lives in Alexandria, Va., Larry wanted to find a community close to him, but MJ wanted to remain close to her ties in Rockville.

Larry and Margaret began researching and visiting a handful of options in Montgomery County.”We looked at three or four different places, but The Village at Rockville was close to her home and it had a very friendly feeling,” said Margaret.

In addition to its welcoming environment, the fact that The Village at Rockville would offer his mother access to various amenities and activities greatly appealed to Larry, along with the range of healthcare services, from residential living to skilled nursing, that is provided by an attentive staff.

Once the decision was made, Larry and Margaret worked together to prepare MJ’s home for sale.”It’s not an easy task when you have been living in a home for 55 years,” said Margaret.Fortunately, they sold the house and sorted MJ’s possessions, using some items to decorate her new place to make her feel truly at home.According to Larry, who is an architect, the staff was especially accommodating as he collaborated with them to design and furnish MJ’s room to reflect her personal preferences.

Nowadays, he and his mother get together every weekend for dinner at her favorite restaurants.”They have a table for her at Clyde’s,” Margaret said with a laugh. In addition to visits and talking on the phone with friends, MJ also enjoys learning how to use her new iPad.Thanks to the physical and occupational therapy program at The Village at Rockville, MJ is continuing to increase her independence.

Since she has been highly involved in the National Association of Retired Federal Employees (NARFE), MJ was also thrilled to learn that the local chapter meetings were held right on The Village at Rockville’s campus.

MJ is a great example of how support from family and friends can create a valuable support system. With her loved ones, and the care and security she has found at The Village at Rockville, she continues ‘looking forward’ and views each day as an extra bonus.

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