In this episode of Senior Living LIVE, we’re checking in with the residents of Arbor Terrace Morris Plains. Melissa talks to two residents as they look back on the year in review and forward to the year ahead and what’s to come. Join us as Paul and Greta share what life is like at the community!


Video Transcript

- Hello everyone and welcome in to Senior Living Live. My name is Melissa. It is so good to see you, and I hope you are having a fantastic day today. Well, as we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic, we are taking the time to check in with our communities to see how residents are doing and to hear what they're most looking forward to in the near future, as more and more people become vaccinated. Today, we are checking in at Arbor Terrace Morris Plains in New Jersey. We have two fantastic residents who will take a look back at our past year in review and ahead at what's to come. Paul joins me now. Paul you have lived in this community, not once, but twice now. Can you tell us your story and why this community is so special to you?

- Sure. I came to Arbor Terrace after my daughters, both my daughters went out and they inspected various assisted living facilities. And they decided that from what they had seen that this is the best place that they had seen. So then my wife and I came to look at it also. And we agreed with them. We thought that it was very nice. We came here and we were here for about a year. It's a beautiful facility, both inside and the outside. And the reason we left actually is because my wife needed really more attention than what I was able to provide for her. So we had to leave. Didn't leave because we really wanted to, but she just needed more help than was possible at that time. They needed a Hoyer lift, really in the morning, and they don't have a Hoyer lift here. Or they had to use more people. And then you do more people, of course, that was out of the question. So that's why we left. I came back because I liked the facility and I saw that a lot of activities were going on. Then I wasn't able to go, because my wife couldn't do them, or didn't want to do them. So therefore I was pretty much restricted in what I did initially, the first year we were here. But I liked everything about it. Like the staff was very, very, very helpful, very friendly, and the place couldn't be any cleaner, really what it is. It's a beautiful... Everybody who comes here thinks we're living in the Marriott hotel or something but They have a very good reputation.

- I like to hear that. Now you moved back to the community this past winter, I think in February. In what ways do you see the community getting back to normal after a year of change, due to COVID?

- I left the other other facility because my wife and I both came down with the COVID and I didn't have it that bad. I was able to stay in the facility that I was in at that time. I don't know if you want the name of the facility or not. But my wife had it pretty bad. She went to the hospital for three weeks and then she had to go come to a nursing home. She couldn't go back to assisted living. So at that point, after there for several months my daughter decided to take me out and I lived with her for almost a year. And then I said well, I decided that it's too much on on her family curtail what they could do. So therefore I decided to move back in here.

- How different were things from the last time you lived there?

- Well, of course the last time I was here, you know as far as the COVID concern, I didn't live that much here during that basic time when it was really bad. So I don't know how they're any different than where I was but since I've come back here now I think we're doing about as much as we possibly can according to what CDC recommends and what, you know, Arbor tells us we can do. So I think we're doing well. I go, physical activities I go every day, I walk around the complex, a mile each day. And the grounds are beautiful. They walk me around and I was able to observe an awful lot when I walked around 11 times around the lot. So I enjoy being here and enjoy the facility.

- Yeah, that's great. And I like to hear that you're staying active, Paul. That is very, very good news. Now, what are you and your fellow residents looking forward to as more and more people continue to get vaccinated?

- Well, I think, I think most of them our age are vaccinated so as soon as the, and restrictions from the governor is not as critical, but they were before. So we're able to do more as soon as we're able to do more and we don't have to mind math and a lot more people will become involved then in the activities right now, I think we only have about 10 people in the morning taking the physical activities. So I think a lot more would come out and participate if they didn't have to wear the mask all the time.

- Sure. Yeah, that's understandable. And do you have, do you have anything in particular that you're looking forward to in terms of trips or, or going somewhere that you haven't been able to to visit in a while?

- Absolutely. When I was here before we enjoyed taking the trips with Lou on the bus and we went to restaurants, we also went to the movies several times so we, just sightseeing sometimes. So we really look forward to that.

- Yeah. And I, I can't wait for you to do those things again too. Now, what are some memorable moments that you've had in your time at Morris Plains? Both the first time and maybe through the second time too?

- Well, the first time is, as I just mentioned, first time was going out on these trips periodically with, with, with Lou on the bus, they were, they were highlights. Those were the one thing that my wife really enjoyed doing, also. And as they say, yes and as the rules can be uh, changed somewhat so that we can, people can do more and more people will participate and enjoy being with the people and doing more things.

- Excellent. Now tell me one last thing. How has technology that, that has been provided by Arbor within the community, how has that made things a little bit easier for you or convenient for you?

- Well, it's nice. We haven't been able to have the television for one thing. And then I, I'm able to visit with my wife with my wife's Facebook, uh FaceTime twice a week every Monday and Friday at 11 o'clock. I go to see her in the nursing home, which, which is nice. I like the, with the new setup with the key getting into the room. I like that, I think that's, that's a, that's a nice thing. That's a nice feature. And then of course we also have the other, we have this on us all the time so I keep it right here. So that, I need any help, I'm out there walking on my trip, if I need help or fall, that's great to have too.

- That's excellent. And is there anything that you want anybody to know about the community you currently live in that you feel they should know?

- Uh... You mean people who might be interested in coming? Well I've lived here and in other assisted living facilities and so I know what they do here compared to a competitor and what they do here the staff is much, much nicer, much better. In the other facility, I don't know if you know this or not. The other facility, the aids also were the service from the kitchen. So at mealtime all those aids had to help with meals. So if you needed an assistant for any other reason you didn't have it. Well this time you have your own kitchen people here and they take care of it so that you still have the aids and you get quicker service from them than what we have now. I think it's a well-run facility. The quality of the aids and the quality of the management I think is very good. And as I said before, I walk around the building 11 times every day and the ground is kept absolutely beautiful, they've just put new flowers in and I think they do everything that they possibly can. I think they do. There's good times and bad times of everything. And some people have to learn to live with what they have and be appreciative, appreciative of what we do have then. I think it's a lot, It's just like those are critical people that service the army what have you, until you've been in it and you experience it and you know what a war is, they wouldn't be so critical about some of the service men as they are. But as I said, I like it here. The housekeeping is immaculate. The grounds are immaculate and people have are very, very and when they would come to visit me before they can't believe the facilities that are here with the library, that the movie theater, the art room and a hair salon, it's everything. What else do you need?

- Yeah, it sounds great. And I'm so glad that you came back to enjoy it once again Paul, thank you so much for sharing your time. And we look forward to checking in with you again and we will also hear from your, your fellow resident Greta, who will also share her story with us too. Thank you so much.

- Nice meeting you. Thank you.

- The lovely Greta joins me now. Greta, you look so beautiful today. How are you doing?

- Thank you, Melissa. I'm doing very well. The facility and the people here have kept us from the heartache that they, all the relatives had there. I know my kids are very appreciative of the fact that I'm some place that's safe and welcoming.

- Yeah. And we, we listened to Paul earlier and you know, he he moved back to the community after most of, of the the tough part of the last year of COVID happened. So I would really like to get your take on how the last past year in 2020 how that was for everyone at the community.

- Well, I think that it's been difficult for everybody because we had before, before COVID we got to go on the bus trips. We got to, we had wonderful entertainment upstairs. We could get up and dance and just enjoy ourselves. But now you more or less have to either go outside or go back, go to an activity which Leah's done a great job providing all of these activities. I had been the director of the Jewish senior center in Irvington and many other, many other groups that I that I had for the JCC. So I can appreciate the hard work that everybody puts into this facility.

- Yeah. And, and you hit it on the head. I mean, this has been really, it's been a tough time for everyone, but for you and our seniors, especially. You move to a senior living community to do all of these great activities and then all of a sudden it feels like the world shuts down. Yeah. And you're, you're no longer able to do that but everyone is vaccinated there. More and more people are becoming vaccinated outside of the community. What are you and your residents most looking forward to over the next, maybe perhaps six months or a year?

- I think getting back to the activities that we had. Everyone was happy. There were little drinks served and we got to know each other you know, this is, this way everybody is kind of separate in their own rooms except when we go to an activity. So that's, I'm looking forward to getting back to it.

- Yeah. It's going to be great one day when we never have to see a mask again. I know you're looking forward to that.

- You could say that again. That's for sure, that's for sure.

- So let me ask you this. What have been some memorable moments that stick out in your mind over the time that you have lived at the community?

- The wonderful parties that we had. Everybody together, the staff putting their all into, into every activity, and I must say the staff is incredible. I mean, from the girls who just wheel the wheelchairs to Leah who does a phenomenal job and I can appreciate her job because I really did the same the same thing with my groups. And I used to be able to take them on trips. I wanted as far as Cape Cod and Washington, and it was wonderful, I could really unite people so that they would become friends.

- Yeah. That sounds so magical. And I know you're looking forward to getting back to that full swing. And you've talked about Leah a couple of times Leah is the engagement director there at Morris Plains. And I know she, she tries to really think outside the box especially during COVID to continue to bring some sort of activities to the residents there. But let me ask you this Greta, how has technology or what types of technology there at Morris Plains make your life a little easier?

- Well, I have my iPad, which the girls set up for me because I'm not very technologically inclined. I can talk to my family in Florida, Las Vegas, Atlanta all at the same, all at the same time. And I do miss them very much. I think that's, that's basically are the movies are always going in the movie theater. That's another thing. So I think that pretty much sums that up.

- Yeah. And, and one way I would like you to sum up our interview is to tell me what you feel people should know about this community. If they had an interest in Morris Plains, what would you tell them?

- That people are friendly. That the staff is terrific. I mean, I really, some of the girls come in and sit down with me at night, at 10:30 before they go home. They come in and they sit down and we chat and I hear about boyfriends, in fact I have on my telephone, I have pictures of some of them with their boyfriends because they want me to see. Denise just showed me her most, she's getting married in a few months, her most gorgeous wedding gown. I mean, you really feel close to everyone.

- Yeah, it feels like a family. It sounds like a big, big family there. And I know once the restrictions are lifted and we can put COVID in the rear view mirror it's going to be one big happy family all over again. Do you agree?

- I certainly do. I've had with my iPad, I've had the rabbi come in and do a little service on, on my iPad. I thought that was, that was a terrific idea.

- Yeah. Again, just ways we're using technology to to continue to connect with the outside world when it's a little bit more difficult to do it, physically we're finding options and ways to do it remotely. And, and just like us having this conversation today and uh Greta, I just want to say thank you so much for taking the time to share your, your memories and your, your, your last year and a half with us. Thank you.

- You're more than, more than welcome. Then it's wonderful meeting you. And hopefully other people will get to understand how terrific, you know, people get very sad. And in the job that I had over the years I worked not only with teenagers, but with seniors, but I learned how to bring them out and make them feel happy.

- Well, you made me happy today in our conversation. So you did your job Greta. Thank you so much.

- You're so welcome. It was a pleasure meeting you.

- And we thank you for watching Senior Living Live. You can head on over to our website to check out the rest of our video content 24 hours a day, seven days a week all related to senior living. Have a great day, everybody.

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