Over 30 years ago, the Kunst brothers bought 10 acres of land on West Main Street, in the area known to locals as Ice House Pond. In 1993, the property was transformed into a trailblazing assisted living residence, The Communities at Golden Pond.
“Their mission was, and still is, to serve — service to residents, families, staff and the community,” says Lisa Jacobs, Golden Pond’s chief operating officer. “They wanted to be the premier restorative assisted living community.
“ ‘Restorative’ is a very intentional word,” Jacobs continues, “because assisted living is truly a needs-driven industry.”
A move to assisted living often is precipitated by loss, she explains, such as the loss of one’s health, partner or home. “To be able to give the family and resident a sense of hope and confidence that we’re going to help them along the journey can be lifesaving in so many ways to people in crisis,” says Jacobs, who has been a nurse since 1987.
Jacobs joined Golden Pond’s original team shortly after its opening and notes that the company has been at the forefront of several assisted living initiatives. For example, it was one of Massachusetts’s first assisted living communities to offer memory care.
Golden Pond also was the first in the state to provide a behavioral health special care residence. Residents with behavioral health diagnoses can see significant improvement with proper medication and a supportive environment, Jacobs says, and can transition into traditional assisted living.
The residence also stands out for offering subsidized care. “Because we’re not owned by a large corporation, we can work with individual residents on their goals,” Jacobs explains. “We ask about their dreams and how they envision their senior years. Then we look at their ability to pay and what we can do to help them have Golden Pond as an option for senior living.”
Golden Pond prides itself on meeting residents’ unique needs. “It has always been about creating individual and specific offerings to residents and families,” Jacobs says.
She shares an example in which, after a year-long process, she helped a man struggling with hoarding and paranoia move into Golden Pond.
“Within the first month, he was a new man — bathing, dressing, laughing, getting out of his room. His son said to me, ‘You have given my father a second chance at life, and now he is allowing me to be the son that I always wanted to be and not be his caretaker.’ ”
Continues Jacobs, “We’re known for welcoming residents that need special attention. We’ll look at how to align what the resident family wants with providing a high quality of life and then determine how to do that in a safe environment. And that’s not always easy.”
During the pandemic, “It was all about survival mode,” Jacobs says. “As we approach 2024, Golden Pond is focused on reinforcing our mission of providing hope, dignity and independence in a time of transition or crisis.”
For more information, visit goldenpondal.com or call 508-435-1250, ext. 116.
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