Mildred’s Story: Keep Dancing
When Mildred and Melvin decided it was time to sell their home, they moved in with their daughter and her family. That arrangement went smoothly until it became apparent that they would need more physical help than their children could provide.
“I could barely walk,” Mildred recalled. “It was tough for me to get out of the car when we first got here. My daughter wasn’t trying to push us out of their house. She just wanted us to have a happy home on our own again – where we could both get all the help we needed.”
Millie and Melvin settled right into their apartment at Cambridge House of Maryville.
“It was fun to be able to put our pictures up and decorate, and make it real homey for the both of us. My daughter helped us make it beautiful. And the space was just the right amount. It was big enough for us and our things. We felt right at home – right away.”
Under the care of an excellent nursing staff, Millie began to get stronger.
“I started walking and exercising. My daughter started taking me to the YMCA to go walking, too. And I danced every day. Melvin and I used to love going dancing. He liked watching me dance even when he couldn’t take me anymore. So that was exercise I wanted to do.”
Mildred’s health thrived. Her husband had cancer, and unfortunately, Melvin passed away just two years after they moved to Cambridge House.
“Oh, everyone here was just so wonderful to us, helping us when Melvin was sick,” Millie remembers. “It was a very sad, sad time. And sometimes, when I think about it, I still get to feeling blue.”
But Millie is convinced that staying active is the key to staying positive.
“I circle all of the things I want to do on my activity calendar every month. There’s something fun to do just about every day. I go out on trips any time I can. I like to visit with friends. I go to exercise class, and I like playing bingo. I love it when we have singers and music here. And I take ceramics class…” Millie trailed off, smiling. “I do so much. It’s hard to remember it all! But it’s better than sitting up here, feeling sorry for myself!”
At the end of the day, Millie is happy that she still lives in the apartment she shared with her husband.
“I love my pictures on the walls, and the things here that give me happy memories. And every night, I go into the kitchen and turn on my radio, so I can dance. Melvin told me to keep on dancin’, so that’s what I’m gonna do.”
Finding Freedom and Independence at Cambridge House
Stephen was “too young for a nursing home” when he moved out of his house and into a rehabilitation center.
Uncontrolled diabetes had caused horrible problems with both of his feet.
“When I was in the ER, the doctor told me he thought he was going to have to take both of my feet,” Stephen said. “He wanted to amputate them both. But man, I didn’t want that to happen!”
The doctor didn’t take his feet. But Stephen lost something else: the freedom to live in his own home, moving around with ease.
A series of set backs left Stephen in that rehab unit for almost two and a half years. Finally, he was ready to make a move back into his own place. He was looking forward to having his own space again.
Initially, Stephen was worried about leaving the supervision of the staff who worked around the clock at the nursing home that housed his rehab unit.
“They were excellent. Excellent,” Stephen recalls. “A guy across the hall from me? He had two heart attacks – pretty close together, too. I saw the staff, and how fast they helped him. That guy lived. And that made me feel very safe. Because I knew that if something happened to me, the staff would be able to take care of me like that.”
Moving into Cambridge House gave him peace of mind.
“This was an easy move,” Stephen says. “All the people who live here are real nice and friendly. And I thought that there was no way the nursing staff could be as good as what they were at my last place… but I was wrong. The CNAs and the nurses here are wonderful, and they make me feel just as safe as I’ve ever felt. That was my biggest worry. And it turns out, I didn’t have to worry about that at all.”
Stephen enjoys having his own apartment and appreciates the privacy he has now.
“The next step for me,” Stephen says, “is to keep getting some exercise. I’m going to try to walk more, holding on to this chair instead of sitting in it.”
Seems a little bit of freedom is all he needed!
“It feels good to know I can do this stuff on my own. I can get all the help I need, and I’m able to take care of myself, too,” he said. “I like having my own apartment. And I like spending time, doing the things I like doing. It’s making me feel like things are getting somewhat back to normal. It’s good; really good.”