Elizabeth Noon reached out to the Independent on Sunday to share her thoughts after the passing of her husband. Jim Noon died Sept. 16, four days after being rescued by emergency personnel a short distance from The Communities at Golden Pond assisted living facility. He had left the facility on Sept. 10 and was missing for two days.
Following is the email from Elizabeth Noon.
Thank you to all who expressed condolences for my husband and our family. Thank you to the first responders who continued a dedicated, well organized search until Jim was found and taken to hospital.
I was going to write a general letter to the editor, but I need to directly address the comment from Karen, about Golden Pond. She wrote, “That’s a disgrace. Place should be closed down. Not caring for the wonderful people who live there and causing multiple deaths. God help the families involved.”
Karen is obviously concerned for our grieving family. Thank you, Karen, for your thoughts. It was a traumatic week, when my husband disappeared after his first week at Golden Pond. But, the dedicated first responders did find him. The talented staff at UMass Memorial worked to heal him. Jim was 84, with dementia, and his immune system was compromised. He had been a very active, accomplished man. On the morning before moving to Golden Pond, he gave our daughter an 8-mile walking tour of Newton. He walked 3-5 miles most days of the week. Jim still read books, mostly science, and wrote well in letters to family and friends. He had atypical dementia and was not a good candidate for memory care. But, Jim clearly had short-term memory loss, personality issues, and did not always use good judgement.
Jim and I wanted to live together, as we had for 50 years, but his changing personality indicated that it would not be a safe situation for me. Our family did not want Jim to be in a lockdown. We checked out most of the senior care facilities in the Greater Boston area. We were fortunate to move Jim to Golden Pond after they assessed him and felt that they could help Jim to live the life he needed and deserved.
Golden Pond should not be closed down. They should be congratulated and honored for taking people like Jim Noon and others who may be having a very difficult end-of-life situation. The staff is very competent, attentive and caring. They are so committed to being there for the residents, and they give them their very best effort in a very difficult job. Actually, Golden Pond experienced few deaths due to COVID, especially since they are a senior care facility, and should be commended for their good care of their residents.
As a society, we are seeing more people with dementia. We will better understand that dementia manifests itself in many different ways and often lasts a very, very long time. Golden Pond was not new to me. A few years ago, I frequently visited a young friend in the memory care unit. We sang, danced, walked and smiled. I might suggest that in order for us all to better understand the care required in an assisted living facility, we spend time as a visitor or volunteer. Remember, senior care residences are for end-of-life care. None of us will live forever, and we hope to not live too many years without a healthy mind or body.
Jim Noon was blessed with a great life, until his last couple of years. He died quietly, peacefully, and his family is at peace. We are so grateful to the people at Golden Pond who took Jim in, and to all the first responders who found Jim and returned him to us. Thank you.