Oksana Bohoslawec, 72, loves the New Jersey home she and her husband, Bohdan or “Bo”, 78, have shared for almost 40 years. Over the years the couple has made many renovations to their raised ranch-style home to create a private, tranquil setting with views of the outdoors from every room.
But recently Bo’s increasing needs required Oksana to find a place where he would receive additional support and care beyond what she could provide. The former copy machine repair and salesman was diagnosed with dementia in 2013, and also has macular degeneration and a failing knee. He uses a walker and a cane to move around safely, but Oksana knows the constant daily care Bo requires will continue to increase, and is already beyond what she is able to provide.
Looking for a residence that could meet all of her husband’s care needs, Oksana began her search online. While she loves her home, she didn’t want to stay in New Jersey because taxes are extremely high for retirees. The couple’s daughter, Natalia, lives in New Jersey close to Bethlehem, Pa., with her husband, so that’s where Oksana centered her search. After she developed a list, Natalia checked the locations in person and narrowed it to just a few places for Oksana and Bohdan to visit.
A number of factors pushed Country Meadows of Forks in Easton to the top of their list, especially the tax benefits to living in Pennsylvania as well as including the caring team of co-workers.
“We met with the staff and immediately got a sense that Bohdan would be very well cared for and that there would be a lot of activities for him,” says Oksana.
She and her daughter also liked the fresh, new campus with apartments providing beautiful views of its rural surroundings. Oksana is pleased that Bo, who loves the outdoors, can safely enjoy the courtyard in the secure Connections Neighborhood where he receives memory support services. And he has a nice view from his apartment window.
Because Bo is one of the first residents in the brand new Connections Neighborhood for memory support, Oksana says he is getting special attention to help him get acclimated. Natalia framed some of his original artwork to hang in his room to add to his comfort.
“He seems happy and likes the people,” says Oksana, noting that he also likes the food—especially the hot dogs. “The staff keeps me updated about what he’s doing which helps me talk to him and remind him who has visited or about the game he played and other activities earlier in the day.”
Those prompts are part of the Connections Memory Support program at Country Meadows which provides specific assistance and emotional support for residents who have memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. With experience providing care for more than 10,000 people with memory loss, Country Meadows has developed and honed a unique approach to memory care that focuses on building bonds and caring for the whole person through personalized activities and support.
Knowing that Bo has a safe, secure and friendly place to live, Oksana is preparing to sell their beloved home and relocate to Pennsylvania to be closer to her husband. The former scientist at Hoffman La Roche, who became a caregiver upon retirement almost 4 years ago, is looking forward to greater balance in her life with freedom she didn’t have as a fulltime caregiver, to pursue interests like playing bridge, taking walks and even singing in a choir.
Since she doesn’t have to worry about caregiving duties, Oksana enjoys more quality time with her husband.