A little over five years ago, Kathy and her husband, Bill Iacono, moved into a Piper Shores independent living apartment where they knew that they would have access to the full continuum of care in the years to come. The couple was seeking a community that would support their health and wellbeing needs, while also catering to their lifestyle and interests. Piper Shores met all of their criteria.
Let’s meet Kathy Irving to better understand why this decision was right for them.
Get to Know Kathy Irving
Born and raised in South Berwick, Maine, Kathy always knew she would return to her home state one day – but she had no idea the amazing journey that would unfold before she did. After high school Kathy started her undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont where she decided to spend a summer in Japan. This decision changed her life forever. She went on to pursue a Masters’ degree in English as a Second Language at Columbia University and eventually moved to Tokyo, Japan to teach preschool-aged Japanese children.
“It was a wonderful experience,” said Kathy. “I knew I wanted to do something amazing with my life and I truly have.”
Eventually, Kathy returned to the US and continued to work in foreign languages at Boston University. Being the adventurous woman that she is, after some time at BU, Kathy felt it was time to try something new. After a not so gentle nudge from a friend, she became a Real Estate agent.
“I thought about it, I took the test, and I got a job. And for the next 30 years, I was selling real estate in Cambridge, Massachusetts.”
During her time as a Cambridge real estate agent, Kathy met her husband, Bill. Together they eventually purchased a second home in Spruce Head, Maine, and Kathy finally returned to her roots. When Bill began to develop memory issues, it became clear to her that at some point in the near future, they were going to need help, and she wanted to be in a retirement community where they would both be supported.
Choosing Piper Shores for Care and Support
“At the time, a friend of mine said she knew about a place called Piper Shores, a retirement community in Maine. When we walked in during the initial tour, I saw how beautiful the buildings were, how friendly the people were, and the beautiful ocean view. I realized this is the perfect place for us.”
Kathy learned about the benefits of Piper Shores’ lifecare contract, which provides a full continuum of care designed to meet residents’ long-term care needs as they change over time. In essence, the lifecare contract is a type of long-term care insurance that provides independent living residents with priority access to onsite assisted living and nursing home care for a predictable monthly fee. Kathy knew that with Bill’s memory condition lifecare was something they would need.
“About two years ago, Bill transitioned first into assisted living from independent living, and that was a very difficult transition for both him and me, for many reasons,” Kathy recalled. “And less than a month ago, he transitioned to Holbrook Memory Care on the Piper Shores campus.”
Holbrook’s Wayland House is part of the Piper Shores care continuum, which allowed for Bill to transition seamlessly into the memory care residence. Piper Shores’ memory care program offers a secure environment and compassionate care that allows family members to be together, with the purpose of ensuring the resident’s safety while respecting and promoting their dignity. Piper Shores’ PersonFirst® approach to care allows for their team to focus attention on each individual resident’s needs, personality, and desires.
A Change of Pace for Kathy and Bill:
Once Bill made the transition to Wayland House, Kathy experienced a great sense of relief.
“I wanted him to be someplace where he would be very close by so I could see him every day, but also a place where he could be well taken care of. I’m very grateful that this is where we ended up.”
As for Kathy, being at Piper Shores affords her the time to enjoy herself and do her favorite activities with the peace of mind knowing that Bill is cared for and that she can visit anytime. Kathy takes part in the caregiver’s group on campus, as well as the Health and Quality of Life Committee at Piper Shores. This allows her to learn from other residents about their transitions to different programs as spouses, and how they can better improve that transition process for all. Kathy also enjoys art, and spending time in her “playroom” as she calls it, to get completely lost in her creations. She also loves working in the Bigelow Art Center where she has both taught and taken classes, which she loves. Kathy is also lifelong swimmer and goes the pool almost every day to do a water workout.
“We are so fortunate to have found such a great place to share together. We always know there is a place we can go and not be separated from our loved ones. I’ve made incredible friends and I have great opportunities here.”
As for Kathy’s advice to any future resident or someone who is considering Piper Shores?
“It’s the right move to make – we’ve never looked back.”