Wigg founded The Vicarage by the Sea in 1998 with co-founder Cheryl Golek of Brunswick, who develops an individualized care plan for each resident and is in charge of meal preparation. The two women live on site, along with Wigg’s 2-year-old daughter, Estella, and interact daily with the other residents and their families. On average, the ratio of staff to residents is 1 to 4, providing a level of individual attention Wigg says is unusual in any facility. Depending on the level of care a resident needs, the cost of living here ranges from $5,000 to $8,000 per month, compared to an average private-pay charge of about $8,200 per month in a nursing home. The Vicarage does not accept Medicaid, but long-term care insurance, veterans’ benefits and other assets can be applied.

During a recent mid-afternoon visit to the Vicarage by the Sea by the Bangor Daily News, residents had returned from lunch at the Fat Boy Drive-In in nearby Brunswick. The mood was relaxed. One man was dozing in the sun on the porch while two women chatted about a missing dog. Inside, some people were watching a movie on the television set in the living room. In a nearby bedroom, someone was just waking up from a nap. Staff activity in the small kitchen promised a simple supper of leftovers after the heavy noontime meal uptown.

A tall, lean man stood at the kitchen table folding a pile of clean dishtowels. It was Pam Siewer’s husband, Dr. Ralph Siewers of Sedgewick. He snapped the towels and matched their corners neatly, stacking them in a tidy pile. When he was through, a staff member offered a jigsaw puzzle, and he sat down to it with interest.

Later, Ralph Siewers sat by the door listening to classical choral music on a tabletop radio. “Handel?” a visitor asked. “Oh, no,” he responded with a friendly smile. “I don’t think so. Not Handel.”

Pam Siewers said her upbeat husband is “finding new ways of being who he is” at the Vicarage. “It’s a great relief to know he’s safe and happy,” she said, leaving her time to tend to her own health and well-being. “It’s also a little lonely,” she added. “But it’s been lonely for the last eight years. He really hasn’t been here for a long time.