From the moment we moved mom to The Vicarage by the Sea, it felt right. She had been living at a seventy person, residential, assisted living facility where she spent much of her day in bed resting. From our first meeting, Johanna assured me of any concerns and comments, and added, that “no one stays in bed all day at the Vicarage”.
Mom’s transition went smoothly as the staff were spending time getting to know mom, and she them. Because of its unique size, the residents and their families, as well as the staff enjoy the company of everyone. It wasn’t long until mom, and all of us, felt like family. Each time I came to visit, I knew I’d made the best decision possible and very grateful to have found the Vicarage. It’s a place like no other.
In the two and a half years mom lived here, I know her health and well being was enhanced by the support and nurturing love. I have memories of mom and me chatting on the porch, cups of tea, picnic lunches on the deck by the cove, and many various musicians entertaining. I am reminded now of how full mom’s life had become.
In her final months I was able to lean on the staff for knowledge and advice, and Johanna was always available to keep me aware of changes and updates of mom’s health. In her last few days, that I now hold near and dear, I remember a feeling of absolute comfort, respect and peace.
I wouldn’t change a thing.
Hugs, Susie D.
Johanna, I think what you’re doing is just wonderful! I remember many years ago seeing a piece on the Eden Alternative (I think that’s what it was called) & it truly moved me. My mother was working as a receptionist at a Nursing Home at the time & they were “trying” to implement some of the practices but it fell short but at least they were trying. It makes me crazy how our elderly are treated & housed in huge Nursing Homes basically waiting to die!
I’ve recently had first hand experience with my very elderly grandfather who came to live with my son & I & without going into a long winded story, he lived with us for 6 months & it was very, very difficult & I was able to (for the first time in my life) understand why Nursing Homes exist, but still don’t agree with them for the most part. He is now in Mississippi where he went for a visit in Sept. & my Aunt who lives there & is the director of nurses in a small private nursing home, decided to place him instead of letting him come back with us.
Initially I was relieved to not have the responsibility & a break, but soon after I knew it was the wrong choice, but I’ve been the single voice who wants him back. It breaks my heart to have him so far away from me especially since he’s been in my life for my entire life. He’s now 99 years old & has many struggles but I still believe the best place for him is with his family. My Aunt is technically his daughter but she’s very detached from him since she’s lived away for over 50 years & she really doesn’t know him very well. She also has a son who’s married & they have two children 12 & 10 (my grandfather’s great grandchildren) but they don’t bother with him much either, it’s just so sad. This year was the first year that I didn’t spend Thanksgiving with him but took comfort with the fact that he would be with his family only to find out that they didn’t include him in their Thanksgiving plans nor did they change their plans & spend it with him, SO SAD!
Sorry, I didn’t mean to unload on you, that’s not what this email was supposed to be about. Again, what you’re doing is wonderful & I would love for my grandfather to be part of this experience but his health is so compromised that I don’t think he’ll ever be able to come back & be with us, again, so sad! Thanks for treating your residents like human beings because they deserve it! I keep telling everyone that will listen to me about my grandfather, all he did WRONG was get old, he didn’t do anything to deserve the way he’s being treated, he just got OLD & we’ll all be old one day, it’s not something you have control over!
Maybe I’ll visit your wonderful sanctuary someday, keep up the great work!
Right now it is hard for me to write this letter because I never thought there would be such a wonderful place for Alzheimer’s patients as The Vicarage by the Sea. I just happen to come across your program on mid Maine . My brother is only 60 and he has had this terrible disease for six years now. He is only a year older then I am and this has been a hard acceptence for me. But the worst is to see where he is… There is no personal touch to it, its so cold and the people there do not even know that much about my brother. When I was there at Thanksgiving to see him when I got ready to leave I let a young aide know I was leaving because they didn’t want to leave him alone in his room. He was all smiles when she came in and I told her he reacts well to you because you are the age of the high school students he taught and he loved his students. And she said oh I didn’t know that. This really upset me they should know this about him. He was a fantastic teacher at a high school, and a coach, advisor, school photographer and friend to his students and fellow teachers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking care of these people with such love and dignity. Could you please send me some brochures on your center so I could put them up in my hair salon for families to know about such a wonderful place for their love ones who need your type of care. I would love to know about the cost and if you are private pay only.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer this letter. Bless you for what you do.
Good Morning, I want to congratulate you on the care you are providing at The Vicarage by the Sea to help those that need it the most. I have to say that it would have made the transition easier for my mom if she were able to be in your care. She loved her home but when it became unsafe to live there alone due to the progression of Alzheimers I had to choose the best place possible within driving distance so I could see Mom regularly, after work and on weekends. It was my time to do what I could for her and show her the love she gave me for 51 years of my life.
My husband and I live just outside of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada and are planning a sight seeing trip to Maine in September, while looking up Cooks Lobster House on Bailey Island I ended up looking at the walking trails in Harpswell and from there ended up at your site. You have touched my heart to know that there is such a home as yours for those who need a warm caring helping hand. Never have I heard or read of any type of home for those with memory loss, where all the residents have the same debilitating health problem. The children and animals must add a tremendous amount of normalacy to those in your care. My mom would have felt very much at home because she never saw either a child or a dog that did not need to have her loving hand on their head and a sweet word spoken to them. It is out of character for me to e-mail like this but having the sweetest mom on earth who required the type of care you provide just made me want to
reach out and say “Bravo”. Not only are you helping the residents but you are also removing a tremendous stress from the families, what a wonderful gift. I am in admiration of you and what you do. Have a great day!
Finding The Vicarage By The Sea was to me, a gift from heaven..
Before this time I was tense, nervous and honestly running out of gas. I am sure Madeleine must have sensed this though she never mentioned it.
Now she is in a situation where her needs for assistance in getting up from a chair or moving from one place to another are being met by a professional staff.
I was favorably impressed by my first visit to the Vicarage and I continue to find nothing but good things to say about this home and the high quality of the people who operate and maintain this facility.
We knew the day would come when I could no longer care for my husband at home, but finding The Vicarage took a lot of the sting out of seperating. It was all that I wanted for Henry: a home-like setting with a high staff to resident ratio, pets, woodlands with an ocean view and, most important to me, no locked doors. It is Henry’s home away from home and the best possible solution in a difficult situation.
Thank you for the wonderful care of Priscilla, our mom. Your gentle care of her made her long good-bye much easier for all of us. Mom was happy with you folks which made our loosing of her in our midst, easier to bare.
We will miss her warm and gentle spirit. She was truly a great lady! Wishing you long careers at what you all do so well!
Words will never quite express what you have all done for Mom in the last year of her life – your sweetness and respect for her each day gave her the space to be angry, a little sad, impulsive (she was always that) and funny, and finally allowed her to feel comfortable. In caring for her so well, you also made all of my family’s lives better, too, by allowing us to feel secure that Ma was getting the best care we could ever imagine. You all are amazing. Thank you.
My mother has been at The Vicarage by the Sea for more than a year. After only a short time, I noticed an improvement in her attitude and mood. She was more cheerful and was much more aware of her surroundings. The stimulation of children, animals and other people, helps her to stay awake for longer periods of time. The atmosphere is warm, caring and happy. The staff are professional, patient, kind, loving and knowledgeable about the elderly and dementia. We checked out many nursing homes in the area and could not find any that compared to the environment found at the Vicarage. Irene is regarded as part of a large family and is treated like a very special grandmother. I am very happy with all aspects of her care.
We want to thank you for the loving care that you gave Irene for the last 3 years of her life at The Vicarage by the Sea. We feel like she was treated like a part of your family. She was a very special lady who we’ll miss very much. We wish you could have known her in better times. Keep up the wonderful work you are doing. This world needs more people like you and places like you have, for our loved ones. Please tell your staff we appreciate all they did, too.
Thank you so much for the many years of loving care you provided my mother. We were truly blessed to have her spend the last years of her life in your wonderful facility. Please extend our sincere thanks to your entire staff for the love and dedication they provided in caring for my mother over her many years at The Vicarage. We will be forever thankful for the care she received there.