“ It’s My Life and My Decision… and I’m Living Here! ” The Community of Masonicare at Mystic
by RONA MANN
This is a story about a unique and wonderful enclave: a community within a community, if you will. And although you’re seeing it in print in this magazine or perhaps reading it online on our website, this is most definitely NOT a bunch of words. This is true community, defined by Webster as “a unified body of individuals, many of whom have common interests.” This is Masonicare at Mystic, a retirement community dedicated to, and all about, joy and growth and fun. Most of all, it’s about people who are true individuals and determined to remain that way.
People like Mary Katherine Porter, and is she ever an individual! Outspoken, intelligent, focused, and thoroughly immersed in a myriad of activities and interests, Porter tells the story of how she came to choose Masonicare for her home. “For starters, it was located here in Mystic, which was where I already lived; and I love this area. My kids wanted me to move to Baltimore where my son lives, but everything and everyone I wanted was here. I saw the 0model apartment; and the minute I came out the door I said, ‘Okay, what do I have to do?’ I gave them my deposit and signed on the spot. Right then and there. Then…I told my children, but not till after I moved in! I told them it’s my life and my decision, and I’m living here!” Mary Katherine sits back, chuckling at her pluck, thoroughly delighted with herself.
“For me the best part of Masonicare at Mystic is the residents,” says Jamie Cornell, Marketing & Sales Manager. “I don’t look at it as going to an office every day. We have the privilege of working in their home.”
And what a home this is! Completely dedicated to active seniors who are intelligent, inquiring, involved, and looking to broaden their vistas and enjoy life without worrying about yard care, snow plowing, and the general upkeep of owning a home, Masonicare at Mystic fills the bill. Resident Marilyn Sorenson, a former chemistry professor relates, “My daughter and son-in-law live in Waterford. I just couldn’t maintain my big condo any longer, but I didn’t want to move to Waterford either. This place is an answer to my prayers.” One of the first residents, having moved to Masonicare in January, Sorenson remarks, “I like everything here. Whomever was instrumental in hiring the people they have on staff here had very high standards, and it shows. They know what they’re doing, they love their jobs, we’re one big family here. You can’t spoon feed that to people. You either have it or you don’t…and they have it.”
Perry Phillips, Executive Director of Masonicare at Mystic is pleased to hear that because he adds, “The staff here…it’s in their hearts;” and Jamie finishes that thought with, “I don’t feel my job is taking prospective residents on tour. It’s something we do every day, and we want to show it off.”
Mary Katherine Porter is very specific about what she enjoys at Masonicare. “I go to exercise class, they have a very nice library right on the second floor, I also go to the journaling group, and the book-of-the-month club. And I especially like that they get my newspapers every day, both local and out of town ones.”
Perry Phillips also lists the cozy pub, Cafe/Bistro, indoor swimming pool, hair salon/spa, exercise room, walking trails, and 18 acres of private grounds. He points out that not only are they a community within a community, but they have great relationships and ongoing associations with the rest of Mystic. “Our residents frequently visit the Mystic Aquarium, the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, several area libraries, and are out and about the area on a regular basis.” There are always outings and opportunities to sign up for lectures, galleries, shopping trips, and “adventures” along the shoreline of which they are they privileged to be a part.
Although healthy, vibrant women, Mary Katherine and Marilyn both appreciate the fact that Masonicare provides complimentary transportation to any resident’s doctor or dentist within a 15 mile radius, from Westerly to New London to Norwich and everywhere in between.
A large part of the growing success of Masonicare at Mystic is the staff’s encouragement and willingness to listen to the residents at all times. “They come first,” says Jamie Cornell. “We want to hear the good and also be aware of the opportunities we have to be better at something.” Perry Phillips is quick to pick up the conversation by echoing, “Residents’ concerns are always addressed, quickly and completely. The lines of communication are always kept open here; that’s very important to us.”
When it came around to the subject of food as it inevitably does, there was no complaining, just vigorous praise and smiling faces. “One day during a meal the head chef came out and spoke to every one of us at every table, wanting us to know that it’s not just him in that kitchen… that it’s a team and a team effort for every meal. I liked that a lot,” Sorenson said.
Masonicare is not just located in Mystic, they insist on being a viable part of Mystic. “Our community relationships are important to us,” Cornell said. “We want to be a community resource as well, having the public join us for events, play bridge with our residents, enjoy our book club and lectures. We’re also proud to be part of the Mystic Art Festival, events in the Mistick Village, and more.”
In an effort to provide a continuum of senior care at every level, Masonicare at Mystic also offers options for Assisted Living and Memory Care and invites the public to call for a personal appointment to discuss their needs, all of which they strive to satisfy each day.
Striving to satisfy, creating community, attention to detail, and the pure joy and fun of living with like-minded, yet very individual people is what makes Masonicare at Mystic stand out from the crowd. You owe it to yourself and your family to come and see what makes the staff here so proud and the residents so happy and fulfilled. Perhaps then, like Mary Katherine, you’ll soon say, “It’s my life and my decision, and I’m living here!”
Masonicate at Mystic, 23 Clara Drive, Mystic
(860) 415-2503; (888) 502-8859