The Arbors At Dracut Provides Residents With Care, Comfort, Compassion
Sep 14, 2017 01:19AM ● Published by Bill Gilman
Gallery: Dracut Selectmen and town officials tour The Arbors at Dracut [24 Images] Click any image to expand.
"Home" and "family" are more than just marketing buzzwords for the management team of The Arbors at Dracut, they are a cornerstone of the town's new assisted living residential community, Located on 20 Broadway, at the corner of Loon Hill Road, the Arbors at Dracut opened its doors June 6. It's one of nine such facilities owned and operated by a family-owned company based in East Longmeadow.
Ernie and Rose Marie Gralia started E.A. Gralia Construction in 1966. In 1988, that company grew into Westwood Management and, under the guidance of Ernie Gralia, III and his sister Carole, the company got into the business of building and managing assisted living facilities.The Arbors first location was in Amherst.
Amie Hanrahan,grew up in the family business, which she now runs with her cousin, Sarah Robertson. Hanrahan is in charge of marketing for the company and has overseen the opening of The Arbors at Dracut. According to Hanrahan, the Arbors is more than just housing for the elderly or traditional assisted living.
"We promote The Arbors as residential living with some assistance," she said. "We have some residents who are very independent. Some still drive. We have one lady who is still working, she said she wanted to be prepared for the future."
At the other end of the care spectrum, The Arbors also has one floor dedicated to a memory care unit, called "Reflections," for residents in need of significantly more care due to symptoms of Alzheimers or other memory impairments.
In between, The Arbors offers a wide array of care and services, including a nursing staff, housekeeping, assistance with self-administered medicines, personal care and 24/7 assistance.
Hanrahan said the key is for the staff to listen to the residents and develop strong, positive relationships.
"We encourage the staff to get to know each resident and to learn what their individual needs are," she said. "That way we can tailor a care and service plan specifically for them. We can offer as much or as little service as they need."
The dining room, overseen by a professional chef, serves three meals a day in a restaurant-style setting. Residents are able to make choices off a menu for each meal.
The Arbors at Dracut features 79 apartments (21 of which are occupied) of varied design, including studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and companion suites (two bedrooms with shared living space). Each apartment features a kitchenette with a stove top, if residents want to cook, a spacious bathroom with a walk-in shower, a living room, wall-to-wall carpeting and individually controlled heating and air conditioning.
Common areas at The Arbors include a courtyard, game room, movie theater, barber shop/salon and even a "pub" with free snacks and non-alcoholic beverages 24/7.
There are daily programs such as games, arts and crafts and exercise classes.
"Home care is great in the home for those who want it. But if you want a little more socialization, it's got to be lonely, living alone in your own house, just staring at the walls, not talking to anybody," said Hanrahan. "I can speak for my uncle, who will call me four times a day, while I'm at work, just to talk. He's bored stiff at home with nothing to do. But if he was here, he would be bound to run into someone he could talk to or he could do some activities."
While The Arbors at Dracut does not provide medical care, the staff does work closely with each resident's medical team to make sure his/her personal care plan is best suited to help them be healthy and thrive.
In addition, should a resident become terminally ill, The Arbors will work with Hospice Care to allow the resident to remain in their apartment and not have to relocate to a hospice facility.
The monthly rent at The Arbors includes meals, utilities (except for cable and phone), and all services, care and programs. Rates start at $3,750 a month for the traditional apartments and $4,750 a month for apartments on the "Reflections" floor.
"The rent includes everything in a bundle package. The services are there if you need them and if you start to need more services, we can do that, but you don't have to pay more for them," said Hanrahan.
On Thursday, Sept. 14, the public is invited to an official Grand Opening and Open House, hosted by The Arbors at Dracut, from 4 to 7 p.m. The event will feature cocktails, appetizers and a Frank Sinatra tribute performance from Michael Dutra.
The Arbors at Dracut is the first of three major developments to be built along Loon Hill Road. Right next door will be a new medical building, to be occupied by LGH Circle Health and will feature, among other things, an urgent care facility.
On the other side of Circle Health will be a rehabilitation facility being built by Genesis HealthCare.
Both of those medical facilities, as well as two pharmacies just a short walk away, will help make life that much more convenient for residents.