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Posted by Positive Aging Community on 05/16/2016

A Place Like Home

A Place Like Home

Loving care. A welcoming environment. Engaging activities. Adult Day Care offers all the comforts of home—including the companionship of familiar faces. For many participants, adult day care quickly becomes a place that is just like home.

This is certainly the case for the participants at The Gardens at Fair Oaks Adult Day Care Program. The program offers participants a variety of activities as well as ample opportunities for socialization—all in a safe environment. Participants can receive three nutritious meals each day. Nurses are always on staff to evaluate the medical needs of attendees, and medications are administered as needed. At The Gardens at Fair Oaks, day care attendees participate in the same activities and have access to the same amenities as full-time residents of the community.

Perhaps no day care participant better exemplifies the spirit of the program than Betty Harwick. Betty attends The Gardens at Fair Oaks Adult Day Care Program five days per week, and she has become such an essential part of the community that she was elected as resident ambassador. As part of her position, she attends resident council meetings, welcomes new residents and serves as a spokesperson for her peers.

A native of Maryland, Betty grew up in Landover. After high school, she held several secretarial positions before getting a job with the Government Accountability Office (GAO). When she met Bob Harwick, she had no interest in marriage. “I was a single girl, and I was having a great time— going out, going to the beach,” Betty recalled. “When Bob asked me to marry him on New Year’s Eve, I told him that I had to think about it.”

While Betty thought, Bob received her father’s blessing. A few days later, Betty finally decided that she was ready to get married. Bob and Betty were married in 1957 and went on to have two children, a boy and a girl. Betty now has four grandchildren.

After Bob passed away, Betty continued to live alone in their home in Falls Church. One evening, after returning home, she collapsed by her front door. After three days on the floor, Betty was found when a neighbor noticed that she was not retrieving her newspapers.

While Betty’s medical emergency was frightening, it ultimately led her to the help she needed. After a brief hospital stay, she was released to Fairfax Rehabilitation and Nursing Center to continue her recovery. The community is part of a continuum of care offered by three sister properties located in Fairfax, Va., and owned by the Bainum Family. The properties include The Woodlands Retirement Community, which offers independent living apartments; The Gardens at Fair Oaks, which provides assisted living; and Fairfax Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, which helps patients with rehabilitation needs or more acute long-term care needs.

When her rehabilitation was complete, Betty moved in with her son, Robert, and his family. She also began attending the Adult Day Care Program at The Gardens at Fair Oaks. The program has helped her stay healthy and socially active.

“I love coming to the Gardens. This is a wonderful program,” Betty said. “Everybody treats me so well, and I try to reciprocate. This is really like a family.” 

Betty explained that The Gardens has many activities to cater to the various interests of residents. One of the most popular programs includes an array of visiting musicians and impersonators. “The activities are all wonderful,” she said. “There’s never a dull moment around here.”

In addition to activities and socialization, Betty enjoys three delicious meals a day. “The food here is delicious. Some people go out to eat, but I would never want to eat that junk when I can eat good, nutritious food here at the Gardens,” she said.

Betty’s enthusiasm for The Gardens is just one of the reasons her peers elected her to represent them as Resident Ambassador. Beyond representing current residents and attendees at Council meetings, Betty also frequently meets with prospective residents. “I tell them that this is a nice place, but that they should look around before they make any decisions,” Betty noted.

“I want them to go to other places because then they will see how good this place is,” Betty continued. “The food is good. The activities are good. The camaraderie is good. There just are not enough adjectives to express how much I like it here.”

When she is not at The Gardens, Betty loves spending time with her family and friends. She is still a member of Westwood Country Club and looks forward to getting together with her friends there and sharing a virgin margarita. She also enjoys dinners out with her family and visiting with her grandchildren.

For Betty, the Adult Day Care Program at The Gardens combined with living with her son and his family allows her to experience the best of both worlds. An integral part of the community at The Gardens, Betty has become a voice for the other residents. She is also still very connected to her family and friends in the larger community.

While The Gardens may not be Betty’s home full time, the Adult Day Care Program provides her with the stimulating activities, delicious meals and camaraderie she needs to remain active and engaged. Betty has found a place like home. And there is no place she would rather be.

By Christy Brudin

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