Dear Mr. Grossberg,

I am writing to thank you for running a top-notch facility in Chesterfield Villas.  I know you must be a special person to have assembled a staff who treats their jobs more like a vocation than work.  I’d like to tell you about my experience.

I reached out to Chesterfield Villas over a year ago when my mom broke her arm. Following her time in the hospital and a skilled nursing facility, she decided it was time to sell her house and move into an independent living facility. Fiercely independent and with full mental faculties at age 96, she was somewhat reluctant at first.  We were both nervous about making such a big decision and one that had to be made quickly due to her imminent release at the skilled nursing facility.

I remember my first conversation with MaryAnn like it was yesterday.  She was so kind and accommodating and like an answered prayer to me during a difficult journey with my mom (who went from independent to helpless in such a short time).  I was tired and desperate and MaryAnn seemed to solve all of my problems and allow me to breathe again.  I kept thinking ‘this is too good to be true’ but it wasn’t. Throughout my mother’s entire stay, MaryAnn was warm, honest, kind and supportive.  She laid the groundwork for what evolved into a wonderful experience for my mom (and my family).

Next came Tom.  Has there ever been a more hard-working, patient man?  The day my mom moved in, he was there like family doing this and that to meet her every need.  My mom can be demanding but there seemed no task Tom couldn’t conquer (and with a smile) and I went home that night in disbelief at my luck at finding her a place where people truly cared.  To an onlooker, it would be as if it was his own mother.  Tom’s sense of humor and pragmatism was like a breath of fresh air to me and my entire family!

My mother was so happy at the Villas.  She loved the organized activities like bingo, Rummy Cube and the various parties and events such as movies during the Oscar’s season, Christmas parties, the fall party and the newspaper that published her poems.  When her first dinner table experience was not a great match for her, MaryAnn found a tactful way to move her to a different table of women and dinner became a joy for her.

The last formal event was your Christmas party that my sister and I were able to attend.  What a lovely event that was.  Watching the workers was like watching a family.  I could tell they really liked their jobs and each other and it was such a comfort to know my mother was in such good, loving hands.

Then on Dec 28th, my mom passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.  Just the day before, my son and I had lunch with her there and she showed him around the facility as if she owned the place with such pride and happiness.  But the morning of the 28th she had chest pain and I came out to assess the situation.  She died quickly and peacefully of a heart attack as I stood over her bed talking to her.

I called 911 and then pushed the button she wore around her neck.  Mabel was the first to arrive and what a comfort she was to me in a difficult time of disbelief and shock. She hugged me and comforted me and gave me strength to face the heavy task of calling my five sisters to share the news.  She brought me water and reminded me to breathe.

Shortly after, Stephanie arrived and stayed with me for what seemed like hours during the period when my family arrived and the funeral home came to pick up my mother.  She knew just what to say and cried with me as if it was a loss for her too.  At all times, she was professional with an answer to every question and a calm assurance that she knew exactly what to do.  I will never forget her kindness that day.

Finally, the day of the visitation a bus arrived with my mom’s friends from the Villas.  It was so kind to offer that ride to them and it was so comforting to the family to get to talk to the people closest to our mother the last year of her life.  Your staff also took the time to make a collage of photos which was at the visitation when we arrived and it was incredibly heartwarming.

Finally, your staff made the difficult job of clearing out my mom’s apartment bearable with offers to help carry away trash and agreeing to waive charges for the two weeks we had to wait for Salvation Army to pick up her remaining items (a big thank you to Kim). I want you to know you have a staff made up of angels.  Every single person I came into contact with at Chesterfield Villas including the cook, waiters, driver & cleaning ladies were like family.  Do you know how rare that is?  I hope you give each and every one of them a big bonus!  You must be doing something right to have assembled a staff of folks who have stayed for so many years and seem to truly love their jobs.

My mom’s last year on this earth was a happy, content, year and her experience with the people at Chesterfield Villas was part of the reason.  Thank you for running a facility that encourages people to be human and empowers them to treat elderly people with dignity and grace.  I will tell anyone who asks that Chesterfield Villas is the best independent/assisted living facility in town!

Sincerely, Carol T.

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