Is Independent Senior Living Right for You?
Tenants at Catholic Charities NH’s senior living communities explain why it works for them
Doris Boutin-Cyr is like many people who decide to downsize and move to a senior living center. She was experiencing some of the physical limitations that come with age and no longer wanted to keep up the single-family house she lived in for nearly 20 years.
In looking for a new home, two things mattered most: being able to attend daily Mass and keeping up her volunteer work. That’s what made Bishop Gendron Senior Living Community in Dover a perfect match.
‘I wanted to find a place where I could still be useful … This is my community now and I am very blessed to be here.’ – Doris Boutin-Cyr
Like Catholic Charities New Hampshire’s two other senior living communities, Bishop Gendron has an on-site chapel.
“That’s very important to me,” Doris says.
Another tenant, John Flick, agrees. “That was No. 1 to me,” adds John, who moved to Bishop Gendron with his wife, Eileen, in 2015.
Located on the grounds of St. Ann Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Bishop Gendron is one of three senior living communities owned and operated by Catholic Charities NH. The others are: Bishop Primeau Senior Living Community, located at St. Teresa Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Manchester; and Bishop Bradley Senior Living Community, which is on the grounds of St. Francis Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Laconia. Tenants come from all faiths and walks of life.
Catholic Charities NH’s senior living communities enable tenants to maintain their independence and enjoy life on their terms in comfortable, secure and supportive settings. Tenants get weekly light housekeeping service, participate in social, cultural and recreational activities, and can buy nutritious, home-style meals without having to purchase a meal plan.
John and Eileen Flick were living in a townhouse-style condo in Dover when John had back surgery. He found it difficult to manage the stairs, but didn’t want to install a chair lift. The Flicks knew it was time to move. They found Bishop Gendron suited them well.
Each Catholic Charities NH’s senior living community has a service coordinator, who manages the apartments and helps arrange services, including shopping trips and outings in the community van.
Doris Boutin-Cyr, for instance, was told by her ophthalmologist that she should no longer drive. She now goes on the weekly shopping trips that are organized by Bishop Gendron apartment manager, Renee Mattson.
Doris, who is 78, likes helping Renee organize community events, such as weekly coffee socials, and volunteering at the adjacent St. Ann Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
“I wanted to find a place where I could still be useful,” Doris says. “I like the Catholic identity, but not everyone here is Catholic. That’s OK. This is my community now and I am very blessed to be here.”
Eileen admits she wasn’t quite ready to leave her condo, “but, now that I am here, I feel like I have a niche.”
‘My physician told me this was a wise thing to do. He said you are at a good age to truly appreciate independent living. He was right.’ – John Flick
The Flicks were nearing their 70s when they decided to move into Bishop Gendron, making them two of the youngest tenants. John’s back injury required that they live in a single-level apartment. They found a two-bedroom apartment on the first floor at Bishop Gendron.
While the Flicks both still drive and typically cook their own meals, they adjusted nicely to senior living. Eileen says she likes the network of friends she has built at Bishop Gendron, including a group of women she meets for breakfast every Saturday.
Catholic Charities NH’s senior living communities offer one-year leases with no entry fees and provide other benefits that make them a much more affordable alternative to the independent living offered as part of a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) with similar support services.
Unlike assisted living or nursing home care, there are no health care or personal care services provided directly by the independent living community. However, a licensed local home care provider does offer regular on-site health clinics, while home support services are readily available and can be arranged through the licensed home care provider.
“My physician told me this was a wise thing to do,” John explains. “He said you are at a good age to truly appreciate independent living. He was right.”
Lead photo: Constance Dube enters the on-site chapel at St. Teresa Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Manchester for a Rosary service that precedes the Mass. Mass is celebrated at the chapel every day but Tuesday and Saturday.