We all dread the time when our parents can’t take care of themselves anymore. The stories from others before us have invaded our sleep and distracted our wakeful minds. Stories of nursing homes with smelly dark hallways riddled with pleading moans for help. Staff running ragged to keep up with the needs of too many. Getting billed again
and again, while dreading hospital stays or rehab that cost even more. All the while, your loved one wastes away, waiting for someone to connect with them.
All of these nightmares were put to rest when my husband’s family brought my in-laws, Dotty and Gene, to the Doolittle Home in Foxboro. This facility was perfect for them because Gene was very close to needing nursing care but Dotty was still physically fit enough for residential care. A short time after moving in, Gene needed to move to nursing care, but Dotty was never more than a short walk away from her husband because of the joined facilities. When I would bring their dog Lucy for visits, I almost always found them together. Lucy is a very friendly toy poodle who loves to meet and greet. We were encouraged to visit the other residents while we were there and it brought a lot of joy to everyone who wished to participate.
Gene had Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease which steadily stole his memory and strength. He hated that he needed to be cared for, but the patience of the staff made it easier for him to accept their help. Gene was a bit of a grumpy old man who could sometimes be difficult to deal with, but the nurses managed to figure out his humor and took the time to get chuckles out of him on a regular basis. The staff made every effort to keep Gene connected to the world around him, telling him stories, and asking questions to keep him engaged, even when he couldn’t answer. All the while keeping an air of honest to goodness TLC.
Dotty loved music, really loved it. The oldies but goodies were always ready and waiting for her. More times than not she would be singing along to something when I popped in and sometimes dancing too. On occasion the staff would be dancing with her as she swayed down memory lane! When Gene passed away it was very tough on her. Dotty had memory loss issues and would forget her husband was gone, but the staff would take the time to console her when we couldn’t be there when she remembered. It was a time of heartbreak for all of us, and the staff were unbelievably helpful and understanding. I don’t know how they manage to find so many sweet caring people!
End of life care is expensive no matter where you go. Doolittle is no different in that respect, but that is where the similarities end. When we witnessed the level of care, and how happy the residents were, the family decided Doolittle made it worth the cost. It was the best decision we ever made. I cannot say enough good things about the staff, the facility, the food, and the feeling of home instead of the feeling of … a home. In a nursing home, fond memories of loved ones are hard to come by, but not at Doolittle.
I sincerely thank everyone at the Doolittle Home for everything they have done for us.