Aging is a fact of life. Like taxes, it’s not a desirable fact, but it’s a fact nonetheless.
Some prefer to age in solitude, in the home in which they raised their family. Others prefer company, the day-to-day fellowship that only comes with being among one’s peers.
The Arbors at Dracut offers companionship in a setting that includes all the comforts of home.
“It’s a vibrant atmosphere -- like the olden days of going to a social club,” says Anne-Marie Sousa, director of marketing and sales for The Arbors at Dracut.
The Arbors at Dracut, located at 21 Broadway Road, offers three levels of care – assisted living, independent living and memory care.
By far, the most in-demand is memory care, the demand for which is “off the charts,” according to Anne-Marie, adding that Dracut is no different from any other area and that it’s “pretty much across the board in the industry.”
The Arbors at Dracut includes 26 apartments on the memory-care floor, and they are full. The assisted-living and independent-living floors contain a total of 53 apartments – all private – and they include a living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.
Anne-Marie knows that moving a loved one into The Arbors or any such facility is one of the most important decisions a family can make.
“The biggest part of the job is educating consumers about the difference between the options they have,” she says. “I work with families who are thinking about the many options for their loved ones. Some have been planning it for years, and there are some who need it next week.
“A lot of people don’t think about assisted living until they need it,” Anne-Marie adds. “It’s like college. Most people will look at colleges and see what their options are. It’s the same with assisted living. You want to go and check out the place. It’s a really important decision.”
Assisted living is for seniors who need some help with everyday tasks, such as getting dressed, bathing, preparing meals and managing medications, while independent living is for those who are more independent but have the peace of mind of knowing that around-the-clock care is available if needed.
Memory care, on the other hand, provides an individualized plan for seniors with advanced memory issues that are tailored to their own needs.
One of the misconceptions many people have is that an assisted-living facility is akin to a nursing home. There are several differences, perhaps the main one being that assisted-living facilities, like The Arbors of Dracut, do not have nurses who can provide around-the-clock assistance, as a nursing home does.
The Arbors has a nurse on duty seven days a week, as well as orderlies that are on duty around-the-clock to provide non-vital services. Anything more advanced requires a stay in a nursing home.
“Anything that’s considered a skilled nursing task, assisted-living facilities in Massachusetts can’t provide it,” Anne-Marie says. “If someone needs around-the-clock assistance and medicines in the middle of the night, that’s a nursing home.
“In assisted living, we provide personal care, assistance with bathing and dressing, three meals a day, housekeeping, medicine management,” she adds. “It’s for someone who needs assistance with daily living.”
The Arbors of Dracut opened in June 2017, and in its five-plus years of operation has become a vital health partner to the town. Dracut is one of 10 New England facilities owned by the same family that began when E.A. Gralia Construction in 1966 started building nursing homes and elderly housing developments in western Massachusetts. The second generation of the family then founded The Arbors Assisted Living Communities and its sister company, Integra Home Health Agency.
The third generation of the family still owns and runs the companies, having grown up in the family business and learning on the job in the company’s various facilities.
“They were brought up in the industry,” Anne-Marie says. “This is in their blood. They care about people.”
The Arbors at Dracut strives to make residents’ stay as pleasurable as possible. The facility includes a game room, a library, a pub – even a movie theater.
“We takes trips to the casino, we recently had a trip to Michael’s Harborside and took a cruise,” Anne-Marie says. “We do every activity under the sun.”
The Arbors at Dracut held a trick-or-treat event for kids at Halloween, and there is a craft fair planned for November, with more activities planned as the holiday season approaches.
Anne-Marie says one of the best parts of working for The Arbors at Dracut is seeing the reactions of people when they come in to tour the facility, either for themselves or a loved one.
“People come in and they’re like kids in Disneyland – ‘Oh, my God, this is like a hotel!’ It allows them to see that it’s not a scary place,” Anne-Marie says.
For more information on The Arbors at Dracut, visit arborsassistedliving.com or call 978-315-6107.