Since her mother moved to Harvest Hill’s independent living apartments in May, the improvements in her health and happiness have been a breath of fresh air, said Pam Franklin. Meanwhile, Harvest Hill’s thoughtful and caring staff have helped ease the transition process on her end as well.
“Harvest Hill has been wonderful for my mother so far, and I’ve really enjoyed working with the staff,” said Pam. “They’ve been very, very nice and supportive — [Sales and Marketing Manager Peggy Cooper] is wonderful and there are helpers who pop in all the time. They are always upbeat, trying to involve her in new activities and getting people together.”
While her mother, Joan Goodridge, is 92 years old, she is still very independent, said Pam, so she has really enjoyed having her own private apartment with a kitchen to cook in and small garden to tend.
“The sun comes into her apartment every morning, which looks out onto the center green,” she said. “She has her own little garden space outside of her patio that she gets to take care of, so she enjoys doing the planting and weeding and watering.”
Having lived in the Upper Valley for years, Pam was already aware of Harvest Hill’s stellar reputation, but the transition really began after Joan had a fall while living in her condo in Northampton, Massachusetts. Pam’s brother, who lived nearby, moved Joan to a local independent living community; then, once Pam retired as a high school science teacher, she brought her to Harvest Hill, 10 minutes from her home in Etna.
Joan had also recently been having a difficult time eating and was losing weight rapidly, so for Pam, another selling point was the dining hall’s reputation for healthy, delicious food.
“Since coming here, she has already gained a couple of pounds!” said Pam. “The dining team has been working with her to get more foods she likes and is able to eat.”
These days, Pam said her mother has been enjoying Harvest Hill’s exercise and yoga classes, and most recently, book club meetings. “She is especially loving those because she is a retired librarian, so reading is her thing,” she said.
Most of all, though, Joan enjoys socializing with the other residents.
“She really enjoys the social activities and chatting with people in the dining room,” said Pam. “The atmosphere here almost reminds me of going to school. She loves to get up in the morning and see her friends. That’s the feeling you get here — there are so many great people.”
While Pam still visits her mother every other day and keeps in touch by phone, she does feel relief knowing her mother has support nearby.
“I’m glad she can be in a community that meets her needs, where there are people around and lots of social activities and things she enjoys,” said Pam.
Having Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital, Harvest Hill’s affiliate hospital, right around the corner has also been very comforting to them both.
“One of my mother’s challenges is anxiety,” said Pam, “so to have a hospital within walking or wheelchair distance makes it more comfortable for her, so she knows that if there’s a problem, help is right next door.”