After David Marshak’s 92-year-old Aunt Edith fell and had to be rushed to the hospital, he and his family knew it wasn’t safe for her to return to her apartment. Not only did Edith live alone in a second-floor walk-up, but her home was nearly 400 miles away from her closest family — Marshak, his wife, and his sister — in Franklin, Massachusetts.
In late March 2020, Edith moved into The Enclave in Franklin, an assisted living community close enough that the Marshaks can stop by every other day with their dog — as long as their visits don’t interfere with Edith’s reinvigorated social life.
So, how did the Marshaks convince their fiercely independent aunt to lower her fall risk and go to senior living? What was it like to move during the coronavirus pandemic? And how’s Aunt Edith doing a few months later?
A Place for Mom spokesperson Joan Lunden finds out in this video interview with Marshak. Read excerpts from their conversation and get the whole scoop in the nine-minute video below.
Lunden: How did you get involved and decide [your aunt’s living situation] really needed to change?
Marshak: We’d been talking to her for a long time about it. But she is very independent. … She slowed down, she started falling, and she refused to leave the house.
She fell and they took her to the hospital. They found out she’d been falling because she needed a pacemaker. She got the pacemaker — it went very well. And that initiated our search because we didn’t want her going back home and living alone.
Was it tough to get her to agree to that?
Well, the deal was, she’d stay there for 30 days on a respite stay — a 30-day trial.
How is Edith doing?
She’s doing really well! As a little background … we had gone to A Place for Mom and found a great place. We found it mainly for the social activities and felt that she’d feel very much part of the community.
By the time she moved in, the virus hit and everybody was kind of locked down … but The Enclave has worked so hard to keep them social. They’re doing bingo in the halls. They’re having music outside — they open their windows and hear the music.
My aunt’s always surprised: “And I know all the songs!” Because, of course, they know who they’re playing for.
Did she take to making new friends and socializing?
She claims she can sit alone in her room and doesn’t need to talk to anybody. But more and more, she’s telling us, “Oh, I met this person … and the woman with the dog, she got the dog here.” She’s telling us stories about it. It’s really pretty neat because she’s really brightened up with it.
Her biggest complaint is that they give her too much food.
Too much food?
Having been raised in the Depression, it’s hard [for her] to throw things out. But she’s really liking it and we’re very pleased.