It is clear that your staff and administration strive hard to create a safe, homelike and comfortable environment for residents. The home, its furnishings and program offerings are exemplary, as is the emphasis on gardening and eating fresh local foods. I was particularly impressed with Ethan Allen’s participation in the Helping and Nurturing Diverse Seniors and Vermont Community Garden Network joint program. Equally beneficial for residents are the diverse program offerings: walking, yard games, drumming, creating, classical music, poetry and spiritual offerings. The program is clearly designed to nurture the whole person and as such I believe it is a model for residential care.
My mother has lived at Ethan Allen for almost one year. She moved there after living at two other facilities, following an incident that required a facility and staff that can offer total care. Anyone reading this is aware that the long term care system in our state has challenges. The acceptance process at Ethan Allen was detailed, thorough and professional. The Wellness staff promised the ability to care for my mother and provide her with a better quality of life. They have delivered on that promise, and then some. The philosophies and care direction at Ethan Allen have been important in making us feel like mom is not at a hospital-like institution, but rather being cared for in a more intimate home environment. They have taken the time to learn about her as a person; her likes and dislikes; and they strive to make the years that she has left as happy as possible. The ratio of care providers to residents is great and assistance is provided swiftly when necessary. The food at Ethan Allen is simple, nutritious and organic. The activities and events have made my mother feel included and are modified as needed due to her physical and mental challenges. They include music therapy, art and exercise classes, as well as daily second cup conversations over coffee. If you are exploring potential options for a parent or loved one in an assisted living facility or long-term care facility, do yourself the benefit of contacting EAR. I know my mother’s story is not unique, and I would be happy to share the factors involved in making our decision for my mother.
Every day I breathe a sigh of relief that my mother can call the Ethan Allen Residence her home. It has a true sense of community, both among the residents, and for families and friends coming and going. From the leadership to the kitchen, to the creative programming, to the attitude of every member of the staff, this is a senior residence where a positive, empowering, philosophy of wellness, love, and meeting the needs of each individual pervades the atmosphere. You know it as soon as you step in the front door. We are so grateful for what this center has meant to our family!
My mom has lived at Ethan Allen for two years. She moved in during a family crisis. The day she moved in, the Wellness Director found she didn’t need oxygen. She had been on oxygen for 13 years. This gave her back a freedom she’d longed for. She used to say she felt like a dog on a chain. My mom lived alone, and while she had lots of help from family, she had few visitors. Now she considers Ethan Allen her home. She’s happy and would not go back to living alone. She has friends, and caring staff who give her lots of hugs and kisses. She is surrounded by love. She has independence, yet gets the help she needs to greet each day with a fresh start. She is encouraged to participate in life. She loves the meals, music, games, and art. She stayed overnight with a friend last summer, and when she returned to Ethan Allen, she hurried to hug her roommate. Her roommate asked,“Was it fun?” Mom said,”Yes, but it’s good to be home.” I visit my mom a lot. I’m getting to connect with her, to know her in new ways. These are truly golden years for the two of us. Thank you, Ethan Allen, from the bottom of my heart.
I write to recommend Ethan Allen Residence to any who are seeking compassionate, comprehensive care for a loved one. My mother is completing her first year as a resident, and it has been a great experience. Despite her long-standing fears about leaving her home, she is happy there, and so are we, her children. Ethan Allen’s small number of residents and thoughtful quality of care promote a peaceful atmosphere. Opportunities to garden, to socialize, and to participate in activities and outings are provided regularly to all. The food is not only healthy but good. Each staff member I have communicated with has impressed me with their professionalism and their devotion to making sure the residents are properly cared for. Also noteworthy is the ability of the staff to handle and diffuse difficult situations among people of varying abilities, showing respect and kindness to all. At all times, resident care, delivered with a smile, is the hallmark of Ethan Allen Residence.
Virginia, Tally and I found Halloween memorable. The doorbell rang continually as scores of children were greeted by residents manning the doors. We all cheered the Living Well Drumming Circle as they passed by in the Fourth of July parade. We enjoyed the artwork at their openings at the Bristol Library and the Bakery, where they also read their poetry aloud. We were surprised and delighted by the ukulele group that comes to practice in the dining room. It’s all lively testimony to Living Well’s vibrant place in the community.
What impressed me about Living Well was the comfortable home like environment and the holistic approach to aging and care Living Well supports. Living Well’s activities are designed to effect their innovative holistic approach to caring for vulnerable elders like: an organic vegetable garden where they grow many of their foods, elders choosing to “pitch in” to help with chores like help prep a meal, day excursions to go fish, the drumming circle. Such life at Living Well. Such care to the details in keeping the environment clean, green and joyful.
After about a year of staying at Living Well I began to notice profound changes. First of all as a result of doctors determining her medication levels were incorrect, she began to become more coherent. This was a result of Living Well making sure she was being cared for properly. Mom on a long term basis tends to be antisocial, however I have seen significant friendships develop with both staff and residents of Living Well.
I have worked with Living Well Care Home of Bristol, Vermont, and its residents in the capacity of Activities Director for over five years. During this time I have witnessed and supported Living Well’s core mission of bringing integrative approaches to the health and well being of elders in its care. Art activities for Living Well’s residents range from planting, tending and harvesting its organic gardens, to the wellness practices of meditation, Tai Chi and chair yoga. The visual arts of photography, painting and collage and a high quality music program also benefit the residents in deepening their social connection and emotional well being. Finally, both as a staff member and as residents’ council facilitator, I have observed and participated in the process of Dynamic Governance, Living Well’s unique approach to ongoing responsive improvement of its many programs. Time and again I have seen residents’ ideas, interests and concerns met with proactive interest. It is a privilege to live and grow in community with Living Well’s staff and residents. I wholeheartedly endorse Living Well’s mission of providing sustainable, integrative approaches to health and well being and any funding efforts which would further this mission.