As a resident of The Evergreens, I was surprised to read a negative review on this site from someone who apparently was the very angry adult child of a deceased elderly parent. Perhaps our story will help to put matters into a different perspective.
My wife and I made the decision to come to The Evergreens when her Alzheimer’s disease had progressed to the point where it was no longer practical for us to remain in our home of 48 years. It was not a decision entered into lightly. We discussed it with our three adult children, and they were uniformly supportive. In fact, having watched us struggle with the care issues connected with their grandparents, each of them endorsed our decision and expressed some sense of relief.
We have been here for just about a year and a half, and during that time we have become part of a community of caring people, both residents and staff. I have been very pleased by the quality of life and the responsiveness of the management, not just to our needs, but to the needs of every resident. Eight months ago, when it became apparent that my wife needed more support than could be achieved in our apartment, the staff organized a smooth transition for her into assisted living. I remain in the apartment, but I am able to be with her as often as both of us want, and I have the peace of mind of knowing that she is receiving the support and assistance she needs when I am not with her. There are a range and variety of activities for her, and her life fuller than it has been in several years.
There is a range of activities here for me as well, and I feel free to participate or not depending on my interest. There is no pressure to conform (although I am still hesitant to wear jeans to dinner in the dining room). Speaking of the dining room, the food here is really good. There is a significant variety – five regular entrees and three special entrees at dinner each evening. If I don’t feel like eating in the dining room, I can get a full take out meal, or I can get an a la carte dinner at the less formal Atrium Café, either eat-in or take out. My only food problem has been ice cream. I have little will power in this department, so we did not regularly keep it around the house. Here it is available every night for dessert, and it is really good.
Back to activities. There are trips, special events, concerts, and all manner of programs, going on here all the time. I happen to like to garden and was enthusiastically welcomed into the community’s garden group. I never had access to a greenhouse until coming here, and this spring was an adventure in growing things from seed, like tomatoes – I went a little nuts with seven different varieties – jalapeño peppers, and lots of different flowers. We had a great season and as I post this, my fellow gardeners and are getting the garden ready for winter. We are already talking about what we are going to plant next year.
I could go on, but I think the point has been made. I am very happy to be here. I know the decision was the right one for the whole family, and we have peace of mind. At the same time, now that my wife is being well cared for, I have been able to resume outside activities that I was forced to curtail when she became ill. I see old friends regularly, attend meetings of clubs and organizations that I have been part of for many years, and am pretty much free to come and go as I please.
I have not experienced any of the money issues that the other reviewer has complained about, and I have not spoken with any resident here who has. All the terms and conditions governing life here are spelled out in the very specific agreement that each resident signs before coming here. The marketing staff was very clear in explaining the terms of the contract as we were making our decision. I had our attorney review the document before signing and understand that if we have to be hospitalized or are away from the facility, charges will continue, just like rent or mortgage payments on your home continue when you have to be away. On the few occasions when we had to get something fixed, maintenance has been prompt, accommodating, and very friendly. We have never been billed unreasonably.
Very important to us is that we have the security of knowing that when we need it, there is a superb medical staff on the premises – a full-time board certified geriatric physician, a staff of round-the-clock RNs, and lots of health care workers. Fortunately, we have only had a couple of colds, but when either of us has felt unwell, our physician has seen us promptly. And, probably most important, we are guaranteed whatever assisted living or skilled nursing care support we may need when we need it right here at The Evergreens at no extra charge.
Finally, a number of my friends who are still in their own homes have expressed concern about the cost of coming here. My family has never lived extravagantly. Our house was paid off, so we did not have super high costs when we were in our own home. I did have some concerns about finances myself, but I have been pleasantly surprised to find that when I look at the expenses for the two of us living here and compare them with the expenses of being in our own home (taxes, insurance, utilities, food, maintenance, grass cutting, snow removal, etc., etc.) the cost differential is only a little over $1,000 a month.
That $1,000 is buying us security, comfort, and a sense of well being which is unlike anything I have experienced in my adult life. To my wife, myself, and our entire family, it is worth every penny.
For people like us who are in their 70s and starting to feel it, The Evergreens is a great place to be.