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Resident Stories: A Day in the Life Assisted Living

Doctor Richard Hart is a well-respected Professor Emeritus at Northwest Missouri State University. He holds a PhD and an MS in Entomology, an MS in Biochemistry, and a BS in Chemistry. In addition to his academic accomplishments, Dr. Hart is also a Korean War veteran whose military career took him around the world, to places including Saudi Arabia.

A Missouri native, Dr. Hart and his wife Margaret made their home and raised their family in the Columbia, Missouri, area. Always fascinated by his field of study, Dr. Hart had his own butterfly garden, where he would raise caterpillars and then release them when they were ready. (He now shares his passion for butterflies with his fellow Cedarhurst residents, but more about that in a moment.)

Dr. Hart admits he never expected to be in an assisted living community or that his wife would need memory care services. “Nobody thinks about senior living until something happens,” he said with a smile. “And once you move in, you realize you moved in about two years too late.”

Cedarhurst of Columbia - Resident Story - Dr. Hart

 

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Resident Stories A Day in the Life: Assisted Living
Cedarhurst Assisted Living Resident Story Dr. Hart The Challenge

The Challenge:
The Undeniable Turning Point

The Undeniable Turning Point

A few years ago, Dr. Hart and his wife Margaret reached a turning point. Margaret’s dementia had progressed to the point where Dr. Hart was her primary caregiver—and he was happy to do so in their home, adjusting to changes and challenges as they came up. The couple also had secured daily in-home memory care services for Margaret.

Things were going along as smoothly as possible for a person with dementia living at home, and Dr. Hart had never given any thought about assisted living or memory care outside of the home. However, when Dr. Hart had a leg injury and was immobilized, he had to open his mind to other solutions.

The leg injury would require extensive therapy. Suddenly, Dr. Hart went from being a caregiver to needing his own caregiver. He realized that the injury meant he was no longer going to be able to provide Margaret with the care she needed. Although Margaret had at-home memory care specialists helping her, they were only there during the day, and now Dr. Hart was unable to be Margaret’s caregiver at night.

Because in-home care for Margaret was no longer an option, Dr. Hart contacted a senior care advisor and began the search for a community. They were looking for the right place where they could both live together in the same apartment, where he could get assisted living services, and where Margaret could get the memory care services she needed. They expected to give it a three-month try.

"They were looking for the right place where they could both live together in the same apartment, where he could get assisted living services, and where Margaret could get the memory care services she needed."

Cedarhurst Assisted Living Resident Story Dr. Hart The Solution

The Solution:
The Right Care for Each Hart

The Right Care For Each Hart

Not long after arriving at Cedarhurst, Dr. Hart realized the three-month stay was going to be extended. Although he and Margaret were both getting the care they each needed, they also hit a few significant medical bumps in the road during their early days at Cedarhurst. While Dr. Hart was dealing with the full extent of his leg injury and recovery, Margaret had a heart attack, throwing their “early days excitement” out the window. It was a stressful way to make the transition to a senior community.

However, those early trials and tribulations were part of what convinced Dr. Hart they were in the right place. He knew that if they were still at home, the outcome of Margaret’s heart attack may have been much worse. The staff at Cedarhurst ensured that Margaret’s emergency needs were met. Additionally, physical therapists continued to work with Dr. Hart on his long road to getting back on his feet.

Although this was enough to help Dr. Hart realize they needed to make a permanent move to Cedarhurst, the real motivation was watching his wife flourish in memory care. Knowing his wife was in great hands, and that he didn’t have to worry about her when he wasn’t around, was a giant relief. Dr. Hart knew then, “We can’t do this in any other setting.”

Margaret’s sister lived nearby, and one day she came to visit and to take a tour. After experiencing their life at Cedarhurst, Dr. Hart’s sister-in-law was thrilled with their choice and also relieved to know Margaret would be in great hands.

Margaret’s sister has since passed, and most of the Harts’ family is out of state— but Dr. Hart said that Cedarhurst keeps them connected with technology. Using phones and tablets, Dr. Hart and Margaret get to visit with their kids and loved ones all around the country whenever they want.

Dr. Hart was confident he and Margaret had found their new home for this next stage of their life ... and that’s when the butterflies came.

"Knowing his wife was in great hands, and that he didn’t have to worry about her when he wasn’t around, was a giant relief. "

Cedarhurst Assisted Living Resident Story Dr. Hart The Outcome

The Outcome:
Delighting in the Beauty of Butterflies

Delighting in the Beauty of Butterflies

It’s been three years since the Harts moved into Cedarhurst’s Columbia, Missouri, community. They’ve been through a lot, and they’ve adjusted to a lot—but they’ve also had a lot of fun. Much of that fun comes courtesy of butterflies.

Given that Dr. Hart is an expert entomologist who loves butterflies, Cedarhurst supported the idea of a butterfly garden. It was Cedarhurst of Columbia’s Director of Sales who started conversations with the University of Missouri to ensure that Dr. Hart could continue his passion while living in the community. Together with the University, Cedarhurst staff, and plenty of residents, Dr. Hart created an enchanting butterfly garden for all residents to enjoy.

Dr. Hart and other residents raise caterpillars, and as the weather warms throughout spring into summer, you can find residents gathered around the garden at 4 p.m. to watch the release of the new butterflies. While Dr. Hart loves the butterflies, and he loves that the residents love them too, the best part for him is that the garden is great therapy for his beloved Margaret.

A Day in the Life: Assisted Living Dr. Hart The Future

The Future:
A Future with Beautiful Wings

A Future with Beautiful Wings

Dr. Hart admits he’s like almost “everyone else” when it comes to making senior living decisions: “I don’t need services until I absolutely do.”

Although he had never envisioned himself in assisted living, he’s now truly enjoying his life at Cedarhurst. It’s crucial to Dr. Hart that he and Margaret are both comfortable and safe, but Cedarhurst is about more than comfort and safety for him.

Being such an educated and accomplished man, Dr. Hart’s always looking to learn new things. At Cedarhurst, he has access to lectures and presentations on all kinds of subjects from the people who’ve been there. “I’ve learned things that they don’t teach you in textbooks, from the real people who lived it,” he noted. “I’ve learned stuff that I never dreamed I could learn in high school or college. It’s really remarkable.”

When he’s not learning, you can find Dr. Hart tending his butterflies for his dear Margaret and all of his newfound friends at Cedarhurst of Columbia.

"I’ve learned stuff that I never dreamed I could learn in high school or college. It’s really remarkable."

We hope you enjoyed this little look into our senior living world. Our residents (and their families) help make Cedarhurst communities vibrant and warm, and we love sharing their loving, inspiring, and fascinating stories. There’s no such thing as a “typical” Cedarhurst resident. Each resident gets care that’s unique as they are.

See what Cedarhurst has to offer, and contact us with any questions or to schedule a tour.

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Resident Stories A Day in the Life: Assisted Living