When Owen Owens and his wife Irene were looking for a place to retire, they considered options as diverse as moving to Florida, or living in a community somewhere along the Main Line. After considering all their options, they decided Kendal-Crosslands Communities had everything they wanted.
After attending a seminar featuring Ed Plasha, the Kendal-Crosslands Communities CFO, discussing the financial health of the communities, Owen was convinced. Owen had sat on the Board of another senior community organization, and he knew how important long-term planning was for the financial health of the community. As a non-profit, Kendal-Crosslands did not have the same profit motive as other communities, and clearly disclosed its assets, giving the Owens confidence that they would be making a wise long-term investment.
Owen is an avid fisherman and conservationist. He currently is working on the Big Woods restoration project here on campus, but has been involved in everything from the meadows to a rare fern garden that preserves rare plants collected by a resident who recently moved into skilled nursing. When we spoke with Owen, it’s clear that he looks at life as a large ecosystem, one in which we are all interdependent. And that translates from nature into the care he and Irene receive at Kendal at Longwood.
What Happens When Something Changes
Owen’s wife Irene, began to feel the early stages of dementia a few years ago. Over time, as her condition progressed, Owen and Irene gradually started to rely more and more on the support services here at Kendal-Crosslands. As is true of many people who start to develop dementia, Irene started to get anxious and even paranoid, becoming confused when she could not remember things, and the frustration would boil over from time to time. The Owens worked with the social workers and Director of Resident Care to work through issues as they arose. But the community itself has been so important during this process.
“We have a group here on campus that talks about end-of-life issues- there was a great 6 session course, and it helped to talk about what was happening and to make plans with others who were in the same situation and need to make similar choices. Our friends and neighbors have been really supportive as well. And working through these issues, and spending time together has led to some of the best times in our marriage.”
Making a Move “early” to enjoy and build Community
“We decided to move to Kendal-Crosslands after we got advice that it’s important to move here when you are able to get the most out of the community. I have made some of the best and most meaningful friendships of my life here. That’s been important to me, and Irene as things are changing over time. Irene is now in the health center full time, but I go and see her all the time. We are all part of the care team, and discuss changes in care together. There are some days when she is having a bad day, the nurses will advise me it’s not the best time to visit, and we work together to make sure Irene gets what she needs.”
“In other communities, we looked at, people who need more care are often separated into other buildings or places, but here, we can spend time together, take walks outside, eat together, and maintain our close relationship. Even though she is in a higher level of care now, she is safe and it’s been a good transition.”
Person-Centered Care Matters
Owen spoke about person-centered care at Kendal and said, “The care here is also so important. People with dementia are still adults- they are still a person and deserve respect and caring- and this is true here in every respect. When you come to live in this community, you’re not just buying a home- you are becoming part of a larger, regenerative community -personally, socially, and environmentally as well.”
Owen continues his work on different committees and his commitment to bettering our environment throughout the community and beyond. He also goes fly-fishing with others in the community on trips throughout the area, enjoying the friendships he’s built, and knowing that Irene is well-cared for and safe while he is away. The support and care allow both Irene and Owen to live their best lives in a community that understands and supports them through every stage of life and the changes it brings.
If you’re looking for the perfect retirement option, start here.
We’ve put together a Guide to Finding The Perfect Retirement Living Option, to help you understand the different options available for retirement living and when might be the best time to make a decision. If you fail to plan ahead, some options may no longer be available, so it’s important to know what’s available and what might work best for you. Just click the button below to download our free guide and learn more!