The last time I wrote; it was about my impressions after my first two weeks in residence. That was four months ago. I am now fully on board for the long haul here. I have indeed found a new home in every respect. To be perfectly candid, in my first writing, I was giving myself a ‘test run’. My house in Staten Island was not yet up for sale, my car was in the parking lot and I was not fully unpacked. I mentioned that my wife was a resident-patient here in the Skilled Nursing Department. Well, if I decided to cut and run, I was still within a fifteen- minute drive from the Staten Island house to be with her as often as I wanted. But that’s not going to happen and my house is now for sale. Like many of the residents here, I too fully expect to make this my ‘last stand’. Mass every day. Eucharist every day. Community prayers every day. Could a Catholic be better off? (Answer is a resounding “No”).

Birthdays: A special Day Right? Certainly, it is here at SJSH. Because of the number of birthdays that are possible in a particular month, the idea of celebrating one’s birthday is done on a monthly basis. For example; every resident born in, let say June, will be celebrated on a Sunday in June. There will be a huge cake with all the June honorees’ names on it and there will be music,light beverages, and fun. A real party. Of course, if a resident’s family or visitor wishes to be involved in the party, they will be welcome.

Picnics: On a special National Holiday there is a huge picnic. Long tables filled with all the goodies associated with a grand picnic, grilled hotdogs, hamburgers & chicken, corn, coleslaw, potato salad, onion rings, tomato slices, popcorn, potato chips, chocolates and candy and more. Too bad, no beer but plenty of soft drinks.

The matters I wrote about in my last Blog are absolutely correct and I’ve even expanded some above. Further, there are two private gardens within the structure that are hidden from the general public, they abound with a wonder of flowers in all colors and shapes, bird feeders, and many religious statues Above one garden there’s an out-jutting upper porch where nursing home residents can sit and listen to music or just relax and nap. In the lower garden’s & visitors can bask in the sun or shade, chat with other residents or with visiting relatives and friends. Or, just relax and read, nap or sway in an adult chair-swing. There are other gardens in front of the buildings as well with beautiful flowers. Each and every day, I’ve noted how well visitors are treated by the Sisters and staff. They are invited to join in meals, parties, religious services, comfortable garden settings, private chat spots and more. It’s also noted that the treatment afforded visitors is as outstanding as it is for residents.

**(PLEASE NOTE: Feel free to come to see all this for yourself. Call and arrange a tour, speak to the residents, speak to any Sister or staff. Believe me, you will be quite pleased and even surprised. This in my opinion and not to denigrate other similar places, however, I have seen several and personally inspected several other places, there are none that can compete.

The following is not intended to be morbid, however, it’s a known fact that each and every one of us will pass on from this world at some point. Most would not like to be alone when that happens. The promise here is that no one, repeat, no one, will be alone if they pass-on here. Importantly there is a resident Priest readily available to administer the Sacrament of anointing the sick as needed. This Sacrament is probably the most beautiful and calming and effective Sacrament available in the Catholic Church. The Sacrament is also administered to a very sick or aged person on a regular basis.

Now down to some financial facts: There are hundreds of Senior homes and they are operated by large corporations. The top three are Brookdale Senior Living Solutions, Inc. with 1066 facilities and over 100,000 residents: Holiday Retirement Inc., 275 facilities, 38,000 residents: Sunrise Senior Living, Inc., 255 facilities, 26,000 residents. These corporation operated senior homes do not accept Medicaid reimbursements. This means, once you run out of your own money, you will be asked to leave that facility. No matter how long you’ve been there or how much money you’ve spent. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Well, it’s a fact. This could present a huge dilemma for you and your family. This fact is so important it should be the first question you ask when you decide to use any assisted living or skilled nursing home. This will not happen here. As a “NOT-FOR-PROFIT” religious organization this home is guaranteed to accept Medicaid funding if the party involved successfully applies under the rules of N.J. Medicaid. There is a Social Services Office here that can provide assistance in this matter.