WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2014

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/359840

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Page 123 of 219

ket units. They go fast, so keep in regular touch with your local council on aging or other social service agencies. For skilled nursing care, MassHealth, the state's Medicaid program, will cover the costs, but only if you meet an income test and have exhausted most of your assets. Be forewarned: The application process includes a five year "lookback" at your financial records for suspiciously large transfers. * * * Wellesley is home to the headquarters of Benchmark Senior Living, which bills itself as the largest provider of senior housing in New England. Since its founding 17 years ago, Benchmark has built or acquired more than 50 properties. "We have three in Newton, one in Waltham," says Chairman and CEO Tom Grape, a former Weston resident. "We'd love to have a place in Wellesley." Currently, it is expanding an independent living community in Lincoln, formerly known as the Groves, into continuing care by adding assisted living and skilled nursing. The new name is The Commons in Lincoln. Grape says that Benchmark residents tend to be middle class and up, depending, in part, on the location. "We have a lot of communi- ties which are retired teachers and firemen. We have others that are predominantly retired professionals, doctors, lawyers, and business people." He says Benchmark is continuing to look for new ways to meet the high expectations of the baby boom generation, adding wellness centers, spas, bistros, and, in some cases, onsite medical clinics. "We want people to come in and feel it's current and not an old- folks home," Grape says. "We have dedicated Internet teachers in each of our communities. They help residents send emails, photos … That's been a tremendous hit." Over the last 15 years, Grape has seen a rise in the average age of people moving into independent living. "We frequently hear, 'I'm not ready,'" he says. "We hear people say things like, 'I don't want to live with the old folks,' when the person saying it is over 90." But once some of those very same people make the move, they sound a very different tune within just a few months. "There's a fresh bounce in their step, because all of a sudden they've gone from poor nutrition to now having good nutrition; they've gone from lonely … to a vibrant social life with new friends." For many people, it's liberating, Grape says. "What they find in most cases is that the inde- pendence is more than they had before." Retirement Living 122 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 4

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