I moved to Fern Cottage, a Goodwill residence, on January 8, 2009, from a nursing home in Massachusetts where I hardly ever got to go out anywhere for twenty years. I shared a room with an older man who was not real friendly. We were not allowed to come and go as we wanted. Occasionally we could play bingo. Meals were difficult for me, because the time was too short to finish a meal and the food had no flavor at all. The staff was unfriendly and did not really care.
I was so excited to move back to Maine. I now have my very own room with all my things in it and no one is allowed to enter without my permission. I can stay in my room, go outside or visit with my four other housemate and staff and feel welcome. I even do my own laundry.
The food is excellent! We have many great cooks, I’m not sure I can pick a favorite. I sometimes cook myself and have lots of fun with that. There are even pictures of me to prove it! I take all the time I need to finish my meal, but it does not take me as long to eat anymore and the mess is less, too.
I really, really love it here! I’ve made lots of new friends. The staff is friendly and helpful. I feel like this is my own home. Neil takes me to church on almost every Sunday. Judi and I go for a pedicure and manicure every month and I have even made friends there. Many of the staff will pray with me at night and when Gary works he plays the guitar and we sing a few songs before I go to sleep. Tom takes me skiing in the winter and we have a lot of fun and enjoy the fresh air.
I go to Goodwill NeuroRehab Services at their Westside location in Lewiston, Maine, Monday through Friday. I do many things there, like learning new ways to communicate, participating in OT (occupational therapy), PT (physical therapy), speech and learning about computers. We go on field trips and to dances; we also go swimming, bowling, fishing, attend barbecues and play games. I have met many different people and made a lot of friends. Each summer I have gone to Pine Tree Camp for a week.
Living at Fern Cottage makes it so much easier to see and visit my family. I have even been able to go to their homes for 2 or 3 days at a time over the holidays.
I’ve learned lots of things that are new to me without feeling people are on my case day in and day out like I did for twenty years. I’ve experienced so much in less than two years and I’m thankful that I have a place to call my home.